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5 Active Ways to Stay Fit at Home
Whether you're self-employed and work from home, have limited access to a gym, are self-isolating, or you need more flexibility in your routine, it's essential to take care of ourselves, our bodies, and each other.
Physical activity is paramount to maintaining a healthy immune system, now more than ever. Exercise not only makes you stronger, but it is one of the strongest pillars of your program for the prevention of disease. For those who want to live long enough, and well enough, to live forever, this is non-negotiable.
We highly recommend you speak to your health professional before beginning a new fitness routine. Science has shown that regular exercise lessens the risk of Alzheimer's disease, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, depression, stress, and anxiety, and even death. It also improves brain function, memory and thinking skills, mental health, sleep, energy, sexual satisfaction, and overall wellness. Yet, few people seem able to make the time or generate the energy needed to remain on a consistent exercise program.
To help get you motivated and stay on track, here are five easy ways to stay fit at home that you can start right now.
1. Stretch it out
Whether you want to have a quick stretch as you wake up or set aside half an hour every day to do a guided yoga routine, stretching—aka flexibility training—lengthens muscles, increases blood circulation, and dramatically improves mental and physical relaxation. We know that the effects of stress are toxic; the act of stretching can immediately relieve those unhealthy feelings and promote relaxation.
If you're just getting started, approach flexibility training as a time to slow down and relax. Always stretch warm muscles—never cold—and remember to breathe deeply with the movement. You want to extend to the point of tension, but not feel any pain. If it hurts, you're pushing yourself too hard and are at risk for torn ligaments or muscles. Instead, start gently and ease your body out of any discomfort over time.
If you aren't sure where to begin, the YouTube series Yoga with Adriene has a wide array of fitness levels and intensities from faster, vinyasa style yoga, to guided meditations with gentle stretching. Explore and pick the one that best suits your needs.
2. Walk with your friends. At home.
If you're someone who enjoys quality time with friends and family, why not invite them for a walk at home? It can be tough to meet up with people, given circumstances and schedules. Still, if you're willing to get a little creative, you can easily keep up with social connections and nurture relationships by having remote fitness sessions with your loved ones.
To begin, arrange a "walk date" with a friend or family member and use Facebook, Facetime, or Google Hangouts to video chat with each other. Be sure to pop up off the couch and march on the spot as slowly or quickly as you like.
It may feel odd at first, but your body and mind will reap the benefits, and you'll both probably have a good laugh, too.
3. Bust a move
Dancing is a fun (and fast!) way to get your heart-rate up and stay active at home, zapping more than 200 calories for every half-hour on the floor. All you need is your favorite playlist and a bit of floor space.
If you'd like something guided, there are plenty of options available online. Some routines are tutorials for specific music video choreography, while others are a little more spontaneous. Either way, they're enjoyable—you may even forget you're exercising! Don't worry, though: your body doesn't know the difference between hard work or fun dancing, so you'll gain the benefits of movement no matter what.
If dancing isn't your thing, you can still elevate your heart rate with aerobic activities like jumping rope, running (on the spot or the treadmill), performing jumping jacks, or riding a stationary bike.
4. Clean your home
Did somebody say spring cleaning? It's that time of year, and cleaning your house or apartment is a great way to incorporate mild to moderate movement into your routine daily.
Not only can cleaning your home give you a good cardio workout, but it can also incorporate resistance training and interval training. To increase the intensity or speed at which you work, turn on some uptempo music that you really enjoy and dance while you move furniture to vacuum all those dust bunnies up.
Burning 79 - 109 calories in 30 minutes, cleaning is a clever way to work a variety of muscle groups without even realizing you're doing it.
5. Support your local gym
Just because you can't make it to the gym doesn't mean you can't reap the benefits of one. Many personal trainers are offering one-on-one coaching via Skype, Google Hangouts, or even Facebook video.
Can't afford private sessions? Lots of local gyms are providing virtual classes, or you can purchase a premium fitness app, like the one by Kayla Itsines, that creates personalized workout routines for you in your own home.
If you'd prefer a free option, there are thousands of free workout videos on YouTube, like those on The Body Coach channel. Just connect to the wifi, search for the style of workout you want to do, and hit play to get your sweat on.
Want more ideas for at-home exercises? Stay active, healthy, and fit at home. Pick up a copy of TRANSCEND: 9 Steps for Living Well Forever.
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