By Dr. Chris Cheek PT, DPT
This past year has been a challenge to say the least, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues take a toll on our mental and physical well-being. The constant stressors of uncertainty at work, not being able to visit family for the holidays, and the barrage of negativity on the news networks can be a lot to handle without physical and creative outlets. With the recent announcement of Governor Inslee’s new COVID-19 restrictions that has gyms and indoor recreational facilities closing, will once again leave very few options for physical activity. On a lighter note, this article will be covering a variety of physical activity options that you can utilize in your own home to continue improving flexibility, strength, cardiovascular health, and mental health.
I hope you find these suggestions useful, and are able to implement some of these into your fitness routines!
Option 1: Bodyweight Circuit Training
Many of you may be familiar with the term “circuit training” or “HIIT”, and may have even taken a class at your local gym. Circuit training is essentially a fast-paced whole-body conditioning workout that can combine resistance training and aerobic exercises, with the goal of building strength and endurance. The great part about circuit training is that you absolutely do not need weights, resistance bands, or expensive equipment to make it work in your own home! Instead try grabbing a piece of paper or dry erase board, and start by writing down as many possible exercises that you can think of in no particular order. For your first “circuit”, start by choosing any 3 of these exercises for your first circuit. An example could be if you chose jumping jacks, plank hold, and air squats. A great challenge now would be to perform each movement for 30 seconds straight, and transitioning to the next exercise without a rest break. Once you have completed all 3, then you can time a short (less than 60 seconds) rest break before completing the routine a few more times. The goal is to keep you heart rate high and resting time low! This is your opportunity to have some fun with it, mixing and matching as many interesting and diverse movements as you create new circuits.
Option 2: Yoga
Here are Rehab United we are all big proponents of yoga, and often incorporate a lot of similar poses with our own patients to achieve gains in flexibility. Especially for all you working from home (with maybe not the best ergonomic set ups), yoga could be a great addition to your wellness routine during this pandemic. Many local yoga studios are currently offering live classes through Zoom, which would be a great option to support small business during these times. If you are new to yoga and aren’t looking to start a new membership, YouTube can be an amazing place to start. Even searching something as simple as “beginner yoga” or “10-minute morning yoga” can lead to a lot of amazing videos that are easy to follow, with a lot of basic stretches and poses that virtually everyone can benefit from. Stretching can definitely be boring at times, and sometimes following a pre-set routine can help freshen up a basic flexibility routine.
Option 3: Resistance Training
Now that gyms are closing again, it will be virtually impossible to gain access to free weights, machines, and other resistance training equipment. Dumbbells can be very expensive to purchase, and are often sold out same day at big box stores around the Seattle area. Strength training is incredibly important to incorporate into a fitness routine, and has now been touted by many research journals as the new “fountain of youth.” Much like with circuit training, there are many easy ways to incorporate strength work simply by utilizing your own bodyweight. Exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, and dips are all common movements that can be tailored to each individual to be made less challenging or more difficult based on fitness level. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) currently recommends at a minimum, resistance training shoulder be performed at least 2x/week, with at least one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise performed to fatigue.
Option 4: Telehealth Therapy
As the pandemic continues, we continue to offer Telehealth Physical Therapy here at Rehab United Seattle. If you are dealing with a current bodily ailment or nagging aches/pains from a past injury and are unsure of where to start with a home fitness routine, our therapy experts can start you down the right path! We pride ourselves in being able to utilize whatever equipment is available in your home, everything from a sofa or a doorframe can be used to your advantage to create a home exercise routine. Utilizing fast and free video sharing software, we can help to rehab your injuries and learn to enjoy pain free movement again.