We are not quite sure how much longer this pandemic is going to keep us out of the gyms, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop exercising.  There are several ways to exercise at home, we just have to be creative with what we have access to.  Here are some ideas of making the most of what you can do at home:

  • Safe space:  Ensure you have a space large enough for the length of your body with your arms out stretched in all directions.  Within this space, you can do many things to keep up your cardio, and improve strength.  Also, make sure this space is free from any obstructions that may potentially cause you to trip or fall, i.e. Area rugs, or slippery surfaces.  Is there something to grab onto if you do need help?  Make sure your space is safe for you and your needs. 
  • Use your device With all the devices we have now, take advantage of the ease of use to send videos you find on your phone or computer to your television or projector.  If you don’t have a smart tv, most of you will have some other device to watch videos on, whether your phone or laptop/desktop computer.  Even if you don’t have a device to utilize, there loads of exercise that you can get from books at the library or from your healthcare provider.
  • Use a free exercise video:  There are loads of free resources on the internet.  You tube videos like those from mrandmrsmuscle, or popsugarfitness can guide you through a workout if you need motivation or instruction on what exercises to do.  Sometimes, we just need variety, try Lisa Fiitt for some more HIIT workouts.  And these are free workouts.  There are also subscriptions you can purchase like pilatesanytime.com, or bodybuilding.com which you can pay minimal amounts (much less than a gym membership) for a large collection of workouts. 
  • Equipment:  Exercise equipment stores have been really busy and have sold out of a lot of equipment.  If you are able to find some for at home use all the better.  Here is a list of essentials that will allow you to do many things.

    • Your own body weight  
    • Exercise bands or loops  
    • Free weights:  2x5lbs and 2x10lbs are good to have as you can do a lot with these.  Most people can hold two dumbbells in one hand so with this you can combine a 5 and 10 lb weight when 10 lbs becomes too easy for you and then move to 2x10lbs.  If 5lbs are too difficult, generally we can find other household items that are less than 5lbs, i.e. a can of soup is typically 1lb.  

Nonessential items, but good to have:
Exercise ball
Yoga Mat
Step or chair
Timer to set a specific time interval for exercise
Heart rate monitor
Stationary bike
TRX system
Workout bench
Weight system

Keep in mind, you can do so much alone with just your body weight.  Then add b. and c. above and your repertoire of exercises expands tremendously.  Now consider your goals and your capabilities and decide if you need to add anything else from the nonessential list.

Take advantage of the outdoors:  If you are able to walk without pain, this is one of the easiest ways to exercise.    You just have to have the proper equipment and stay warm as the temperatures drop.  I love my waterproof Brooks running shoes from the Runners Den.  Keeping your hands and head warm and feet dry can make a big difference during the winter.  I treated a retired US Navy Seal when I was a chiropractic student.  We often talked about the elements in the various places he had missions and the effect on the body.  One of the main things that stuck with me after all these years was his response after telling him to bundle up one cold wintery day.  He looked at me as if I should know better and said “We don’t get sick from the cold, we get sick from a virus or bacteria”.  So don’t be scared of the cold, just bundle up. We live in an area where the trail systems are quite extensive.  Try a trail in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area or one of the many Waterfall trails (just stay on the marked path).  Or if you are interested in starting to run, speak with Dan or Jordan at the Runners Den, and they can fit you for the right pair of shoes and give you direction on the running program for you.  

There are a lot of exercise activities you can take part in, whether that is within the confines of your own home or outdoors.  We didn’t even discuss any of the other outdoor winter sports like downhill skiing, skating, cross country skiing or snow shoeing that you can fill your exercise time with.  Just know the possibilities are there, you just have be creative.