If you’re wondering how to navigate this new normal induced by the COVID-19 outbreak, you’re not alone. The Long Island Health Collaborative is here to offer helpful tips on how to exercise at home or prevent the loneliness that can come from self-isolation.
Part 1: How to Stay Active at Home & Incorporate Physical Activity
While self-isolating and spending more time at home, it can be easy to become a couch potato or spend less time moving around than you normally would. Don’t forget to keep your body moving, even if it is just standing up and walking around for a bit. This will help your muscles remain active and can help with your mental fitness as well.
Top Tips For How To Exercise at Home & Stick With It
1. Schedule Your Home Workout Into Your Daily Routine. Just like you would go to a fitness class at the same time each day, make it a priority when you’re exercising at home to remain consistent. If you used to wake up early to go to the gym, continue the routine while working out and staying active at home. If you didn’t have a consistent workout ritual before, now is your perfect opportunity to put one in place. Whether you like getting your physical activity in before or after work, scheduling a designated time will motivate you to consistently exercise at home.
2. Set Up Your At-Home Workout Space. Creating a workout space that’s designated as your place to exercise at home will help you focus while you’re being active at home. Make sure you have plenty of room to move around, and set up your home workout essentials, like water, a speaker, yoga mat or hand-held weights.
3. Switch Up Your Old Routine. If you were used to lifting weights at a gym, you may need to be a little more creative with your equipment during self-isolation. Good Housekeeping recommends creating heavier weights by using canned goods, bags of rice or gallons of water. If these methods seem a little strange, try incorporating more body-weight routines while exercising at home, like push ups, planks, tricep dips, lunges, squats and more.
4. Try a Fun, New Type of Workout. Have you ever wanted to try yoga but were afraid you might not be as good as the others in the class? Now is your time to try pilates, zumba, barre or other fun aerobics in the comfort of your own home! You can strengthen your skills on these new types of workouts while keeping your exercise at home routines different and more exciting. Try finding different options for these aerobics activities on YouTube to continue your exercise at home.
5. Find an Exercise Video Series You Like. If you’re wondering how to exercise at home or maybe you need some extra motivation, start looking for at-home workout plans. Many fitness apps and online programs are offering discounts during this time where everyone is trying to stay active at home, so browse your options. A few worth mentioning are:
- Orangetheory: Known for their high-intensity workouts, they’re now offering daily at-home sessions that last about 30 minutes. These focus on interval workout that get creative by utilizing things around the house as weights.
- Planet Fitness: They’re promoting their new “work-ins” - a series of free online fitness classes that can be streamed live on their Facebook page daily. If you can’t tune in live, the workout sessions will be available after the live release on their Facebook and YouTube channels.
- Peloton: While this brand is known for their at-home exercise bikes and intense pedaling and treadmill workouts, they’re offering other streaming services, too. For a limited time, Peloton is giving away free 90-day trials of their fitness classes like yoga, meditation, strength, cycling, running and more - even to users that don’t own their bike.
- p.volve: This program of video exercises uses simple movements to strengthen and sculpt the body. They have a variety of workouts to choose from, with and without equipment. Right now, during quarantine time, p.volve is also releasing workout on their Instagram & YouTube channels.
- DanceBody: If you’re looking for a fun way to get a good workout in, try streaming a few dance routines. Right now they’re offering deals for new users, like 50% off your first month and a free 7-day trial.
Sneak More Physical Activity Into Your Daily Routines
Outside of a regular exercise routine, there are many ways to stay active at home during this time. Along with a few of these suggestions of how to stay active at home, we encourage you to think outside the box and find ways to keep moving.
- Cooking - While you can help local businesses by ordering take out, also spend a little extra time preparing food to get some more standing, lifting and chopping. Even though this might not seem like exercise, it’s good to get your body up and moving.
- Watching TV - Next time you find yourself binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, sneak in some physical activity during your favorite TV show. Challenge yourself to complete a few bodyweight exercises during each episode.
- Taking a Lap - A couple times a day make a point to get up and take a quick walk around the neighborhood or just around the house. Getting a few extra steps in over your lunch break or after work will help you refocus and boost energy.
- Talking to Loved Ones - When you’re FaceTiming or chatting on the phone, walk around the house a bit. This will help you get your steps in while catching up with your friends or family.
- Stretching - Keep your muscles active by taking time each day to stretch out. This could be part of your morning routine or a quick break during the workday to help maintain your focus.
- Timing Your Breaks - If you need a reminder to pause during the day and get some movement in, set a timer for yourself! Every couple hours you could perform a quick physical activity, like jumping jacks, high knees or anything else that gets your body moving.
Part 2: Creating a Healthy Mindset During Self-Isolation
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to get caught up in the stress and tragedy shown on the news. It can also be difficult to be alone during these uncertain times when social distancing is a priority. Make sure you are taking steps to protect your mental health and finding ways to prevent loneliness from setting in, and keep in mind your mental health can also play a role in your physical health!
Ways to Prevent Loneliness & Feelings of Isolation
It’s important to stay mentally fit during times like this - social distancing should not make us feel isolated. Psychology Today emphasizes that we cannot let one crisis lead to another, which is what would happen if all this self-isolation causes depression or mental health problems. If you’re starting to notice self-isolation is taking a toll on your mental health, we have a few ways to prevent loneliness and enjoy your time at home:
1. Stay Connected With Loved Ones. There are plenty of ways to chat through text, phone or even video during a time like this. Try reaching out to friends and family more frequently while you’re all waiting out this coronavirus outbreak at home.
2. Plan Activities Together. One example would be watching a new TV show at the same time as your friends. Similar to how you would discuss the weekly drama of The Bachelor, you could do the same with another series. Each week after you’ve both watched an episode or two, you can discuss how you felt about what happened and which characters you like best.
3. Be Virtual Workout Buddies. Keep your friends accountable by agreeing to go for a walk and talk on the phone at the same time every day. Or compare your step counts for the week and challenge each other to keep pushing forward.
4. Find Ways to Enjoy Yourself at Home. If you’re the type of person that’s used to having plans with friends almost every night, self-isolation could be an extremely difficult time. One way to prevent loneliness is learning to have fun by yourself. There are many solo activities you can try at home:
- Read a book
- Go for a walk
- Pick out a new recipe
- Start a new hobby
- Journal your feelings
- Try a new crafting project
- Get your spring cleaning done
Do Something Everyday that Brings You Joy
Make room in each day for things that make you smile and promote positivity. What you do could depend on how you like to spend your free time, but according to psychologists there are some activities that are proven to make us happier. Whether you choose to set goals for yourself, donate to those in need during this time or one of the many other items on the list, we’re sure it could brighten your mood.
Another thing you could try to brighten your mood is turn to social media. When taking a break from the news, seek out positive social accounts to follow that will make you smile during this time. Here’s a few Instagram accounts we’ve been enjoying:
Additional Healthy Tips for Working From Home
1. Keep Your Morning Routine. Whether your morning usually involves a quick workout to get your energy going or making yourself a hearty breakfast, it’s essential to stick to them. You’ll notice keeping your schedule is a tip for working from home throughout this piece.
2. Dress For Success. Despite the fact that sweatpants sales are on the rise right now, it can be important to continue dressing the way you would for the office. This creates a normalcy for you and mentally differentiates working at home hours from regular at home hours.
3. Designate a Home Workspace. Identifying where you’ll be getting your job done while working remotely will physically and mentally prepare you to get things done more efficiently. As much as we might like to spend more hours in bed with our laptop, it is not ideal in this situation.
4. Transition In & Out of Work Each Day. Many people are overlooking the power a morning or afternoon commute can have on your mental wellbeing, according to The Muse. It is time spent to prepare your mind for important tasks of the day, and then unwinding and detaching on your way home. If your morning used to involve a daily commute to the office, find a way to spend time in the morning to prepare, maybe by enjoying a cup of coffee before getting started with the work day.
5. Get Up Every Hour. Just like you’d take small breaks in the office, either to chat with a coworker or get a cup of coffee, you should try to do this while working alone at home too. Standing up and getting a few steps in could help you recharge and fend off the feeling of getting burnt out.
6. Create Healthy Habits. Besides getting up to move, one of our tips to working from home is following healthy behaviors. We encourage you to keep a water bottle at your desk or work station, keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks instead of chips and make sure to take mental breaks.
7. Plan to Move Over Your Lunch Break. Take a walk if it’s a nice day out, cook something new for lunch or even get a quick aerobics exercise in. Staying active at home and moving will help you recharge for your afternoon.
8. Stay Connected to Your Coworkers. Use a call or video call a few times a day, when possible and appropriate, to continue to foster your working relationships. Overcommunicating and checking in with your coworkers is extremely necessary at this time, not just to make sure everyone is on the same page for a project, but to double check on everyone’s mental wellbeing and relieve stress.
Maintain Healthy Habits After Crisis
Eventually all things pass, including the self-isolation and remote working environments we’re all dealing with right now. As you work to build these habits to stay active and healthy at home, make a goal for yourself to continue these healthy practices when we return to our new normal.