Healthy Tips for Staying Active when the Gyms are Closed

It may be tempting to spend more time relaxing at home while we wait for businesses to reopen, but now is a great time to incorporate more physical activity into your routine. Physical fitness is at the top of many adult’s to-do lists. Adding regular exercise into your daily routine can help you lose weight, build strength and ward off disease. Improving your sleep and reducing stress are an added bonus! 

The World Health Organization suggests adults should take part in 2.5 to 5 hours of physical exercise per week, including aerobic exercise & muscle-strengthening activities. That works out to about 30-60 minutes per day if you exercise 5 times per week.  With a new daily schedule on the horizon, now is the time to implement a fitness strategy.    

Engaging in a small amount of activity throughout the day adds up. Although you may be missing the routine of going to the gym you can easily workout at home without the use of equipment and save time. Here are some ways you can enjoy some physical activity while the gyms are closed: 

Clear Your Mind with a Walk In Nature

Scheduling in a few short walks each day out in nature can be revitalizing. The change of scenery and fresh air can help you clear your mind and relax. Walking is sometimes an underrated physical activity. But the simple act of walking can help you improve your muscle tone, posture and help strengthen bones. Walking has several emotional benefits like boosting your self-esteem, reducing stress and improving your sleeping habits.  

If walking for 30 minutes a day seems too much, break it up into smaller, 10–15-minute walks for a similar result. If the weather isn’t cooperating with your walking plans, you can walk around your house to get your steps in. Walking around while watching TV, brushing your teeth and talking on the phone add up. Not to mention you are replacing time you would have spent idle.  

Starting your day 'on the right foot' begins with an outdoor walk in nature.
From one of my morning walks

Strength Training at Home

Clear a space in your home where you can complete your own fitness routine.  Creating a comfortable space where you can exercise or meditate can be motivating. If it’s possible, leave the space set up so that you aren’t moving furniture every time you want to workout. Your motivation to exercise will be higher if the space you’ve created is accessible without much effort.  To our clients we recommend a home workout area that’s 5’x5′ or greater, and if that’s a challenge there is always the great outdoors.

Tips for Strength Training Exercises at Home:

You can workout at home without the use of equipment. You can achieve a full body workout with the use of your own body weight. Crunches, squats, and planks are great exercises to improve your posture, balance and build strength. Start with a few reps of each exercise and check in with yourself. Here are a few exercises you can do to start building up your strength: 

Crunches

Crunches are a great exercise to build your core muscles and support your back. Use these tips to help you perform a crunch without straining your neck.  

While lying on the floor with your knees raised, and feet shoulder length apart, place your arms across your chest and inhale. When exhaling, lift your upper body while keeping your lower back pressed against the floor and your head and neck relaxed.  You will know you are using the proper form when you are able to keep your neck relaxed while lifting your upper body, engaging your core to complete the crunch.  

Try doing 10-12 reps to start and slowly increase the number of crunches you do as you feel comfortable. 

abdominal crunch personal training Canada
1- Bring your knees up so they are pointing to the sky - or ceiling
2- Tuck in your chin a subtle 'crunch' for your chin muscles
3- In a smooth and controlled fashion 'crunch' your rib-cage towards your pelvis, feel the contraction
4- Gently bring your body down, but without completely relaxing - keep your core engaged
NF Tips 1- Breathe out as you go up, breathe in as you go down
NF Tip 2- Keep it slow and simple, as your abdominal fibres are primarily slow twitch - so take your time.

Squats

Squats are a natural exercise you’ve been doing since you were a baby. Adding them to your strength building routine will help you build strength in your knees and hips. Focusing and mastering the squat will reduce the chance of injury by improving your balance and strength.  

Improve your range of motion with squats. While standing tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Use your arms to help you maintain your balance as you lower yourself using your hips (as if you are going to sit in a chair). Face forward with a relaxed neck and raise yourself back to a standing position while your feet remain firmly planted on the floor. Try doing 10-12 squats during your workout. Press down in your heels while squatting as far as you feel comfortable. The goal is to squat far enough down that your thighs are parallel to the floor, but don’t worry if you can’t squat that far. You will build strength in time.  Remember to keep your knees behind your toes when squatting to maintain the proper position.  

  

how to do a bodyweight squat
1- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart - or lightly jump in the air - the width you land is your starting position
2- Descend slow and controlled until your knees are 90 degrees - or higher if that's more comfortable
3- Stand back up, do not lock your knees
NF Tip 1 - If you lean forward it is likely you are short/tight in your hip flexors and/or weaker in your glutes
NF Tip 2 - Contact us to learn safe and correct form

SIDEPlank

The side plank is an often neglected exercise. On your side, lift your hips up in a straight line and hold it. Keep forearms steady and your shoulders pressed down – to avoid pinching your neck. As a progression, try raising your leg up while. Though it targets your obliques,  when performed correctly, the side-plank also engages your whole body, including postural muscles. When first trying this exercise, attempt to hold the form for 10 seconds. You can do this exercise everyday, or a minimum of twice per week. Work your way to holding for 40 seconds, and completing three sets. We guarantee you’ll feel stronger! 

side bridge core exercise in an outdoor workout Canada

Music to Inspire You

Don’t forget the music! Listening to music you love will add a little pep to your step and make working out fun, especially when you’re in charge of the tunes. Music can make exercise routines more enjoyable and increase the intensity of walks and strength building exercises, not to mention cooking, cleaning and other household chores.  

We can help you develop a personalized at home strength building exercise program. Whether you are looking to lose weight, build better balance or tone up, a personal trainer at Nielsen Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals safely and effectively.  Book yourself into our calendar for a free virtual training session and let’s get started!