Many of us have been self-isolating for over a month now, and despite our relentless efforts to flatten the curve (through social distancing and wearing protective gear in public), the pandemic is still in full force. With staggeringly high death tolls and a vaccine still a long way off, it looks like confinement may last longer than expected. That being said, building a routine around this new and indefinite lifestyle is important to living a happy and healthy life. This includes creating an at-home work space for better productivity, finding better ways to cope with isolation, and figuring out a no-frills fitness routine you can maintain easily at home.
In fact, moving your body and building up a sweat daily will help release endorphins, which could boost your mood and reduce stress. (Let’s be honest — seeing how chaotic the world has recently been, we’d argue that any mood-lifting activity is welcomed.) Fitness will help you achieve some peace of mind while keeping you feeling fulfilled, healthy, and sane during these stressful times.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the easiest and most effective fitness exercises you can complete right at home. Apartment dwellers, you’re in luck! These exercises do not require equipment or jumping — we don’t want you bothering your downstairs’ neighbors while working out! These low impact exercises, which apply minimum pressure on your joints, are ideal to build muscle evenly, increase endurance, and blast fat around your stomach. Practice them four times a week, and by the time quarantine is over, you’ll find yourself feeling stronger and looking healthier than ever before. Now that you know what you’re in for, let’s get started!
For the abs
- Dead Bug: Start off by laying flat on your back, then lift your arms above your torso and suspend your legs in the air with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Once in place, lower your opposite leg and arm towards the ground in a slow and controlled motion. Recenter and repeat on the other side. Complete exercise 20 times.
- Plank: Keep your core tight and your back flat. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then relax. If you need to, you can place a towel underneath your elbows for added comfort. Repeat the move a few times, or push your limits by trying to hold the plank for a few extra seconds each day.
- Sit Ups: Lay flat on the ground and bend your knees. Lift your core to a sitting position and then lay flat again. Repeat these motions while keeping your knees about hip-width apart to isolate the abdominal muscles. Remember to engage your core at all times and keep your elbows back in order to avoid tugging on your neck when lifting your core. Repeat exercise 20 times.
For the legs and glutes
- Squats: Start off in a straight standing position with your feet placed shoulder-width apart and your arms stretched out in front of you and parallel to the ground. Bend your knees until you reach a squat position, as if you’re sitting in a chair. Remember to engage your core, straighten your back, and keep your knees above your feet (be careful not to let them go past your toes). Repeat 20 times.
- Lunges: Stand tall with your hands on your waist. Throw one leg backward and bend bend both knees as you squat down into the move while keeping your core straight and controlled. Once your back knee is hovering just over the ground, push off the back foot and return to a standing position. Repeat 20 times on each side.
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL): Stand with your feet side by side (they should almost be touching), and place your hands on your hips. Extend your right leg back and your right arm forward, and slowly make your way back to a standing position. Alternate legs until you feel the burn.
For the shoulders and arms
- Tricep Dip: Face away from the ground and form a table-like position using your arms and legs as support. Once in position, dip your body and bend your elbows until they reach a 45- to 90-degree angle. Then press onto your palms to lift yourself back to the original “table” position. Repeat 10 to 25 times.
- Arm Circles: Stand up, engage your core, straighten your back, and extend both arms to the sides. Rotate your arms in small circular motions to work both triceps and biceps. Make 20 circles and repeat in the reversed direction.
- Pike Push Up: Get down on your hands and feet (facing the ground) and form a pyramid with your body. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, your legs straight, and your hips high up in the air. Then slowly bend your elbows until they form a 90-degree angle, and immediately push back up to a piked position. Repeat 15 to 20 times.