Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. Working out can give you more energy and improve your overall mood. Moderate exercise can even give your immune system a boost.
If you’re homebound or on the road, it doesn’t mean your workout routine needs to suffer. Here are some tips on how to stay active when you can’t make it to the gym.
1. Take a walk.
Walking is one of the easiest things you can do to stay healthy. All you really need are some good walking shoes and a safe place to walk.
Walking is good cardio exercise—especially if you go at a brisk pace of at least 3 miles per hour. Walking also builds strong bones and helps your heart and brain. It’s good for your mental health too, particularly if you get out into nature. Home with the kids? Bring them along. If you’re a parent of a newborn or young child, put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk.
2. Use the internet.
Sometimes all you need is a TV or smartphone to get your fitness on.
“There are a ton of resources and free workouts on the internet,” says UNC REX fitness instructor Lauren Rosella. “Make a commitment to get up a little earlier and do a 30-minute YouTube video.”
You can download an exercise app. Some have a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts that you can filter by length of time. Read reviews or ask friends for recommendations to select one that works for you.
3. Create an at-home routine.
Lace up your shoes and go for a run or bike ride in your neighborhood. And plan for moments when you can only find a bit of time but need to get your blood pumping. If you know you have 10 minutes, do a set or two of squats or push-ups. Add in some planks to strengthen your core.
Follow a routine that covers all your base moves: something to strengthen the legs, upper body and core.
You can also look for places to add movement throughout your day, such as running up the stairs in your house instead of walking them, playing a game of tag in the backyard with your kids or putting on music for a dance party.