In the fall of 2018, I had foot surgery for Morton’s neuroma, a thickening of tissue around a nerve leading to the toes. This caused a year of pain before surgery and another four months of me being stuck in a surgical boot unable to leave my home. As a result, I had to find new ways to keep up with fitness without going to the gym, which meant I had to get creative with my workouts.
As the coronavirus pandemic grinds the world to a halt, people look for new, innovative ways to stay active during an unprecedented time of social distancing, self- or government-imposed quarantine, and shuttered gyms.
These five activities, which include ideas for people of all abilities, can be done in the comfort of one’s home with the whole family. Whether you’re weathering a pandemic or a snowstorm, here’s how to stay fit at home.
These were my go-to workouts the first month following my surgery. Believe it or not, chair workouts, which are perfect for those recovering from an injury or with limited mobility, can make you break a serious sweat — I was shocked by just how much. My favorite routines are on Caroline Jordan’s YouTube channel, which also has fitness videos designed to combat diabetic or sciatic pain. Her no-impact cardio routines include a combination of kickboxing punches, medicine ball exercises, and aerobic moves that work out your entire body — all from a chair.
A strength-training technique that uses a system of ropes and webbing, suspension training puts users up against the weights of their own bodies. Commonly known as TRX, which can be found in many gyms and classes, this system can be ordered online and practiced at home. The beauty of suspension training is that you can get an entire body workout with little to no effort because you’re only up against yourself and not a machine. From crunches to pushups to squats, nearly every move you would do at the gym can be replicated with a TRX system. I bought an over-the-door set on Amazon that I drape over my door when I want to work out and put back in its carrying container when I’m done.
One of the best ways to find new, at-home workouts is on Instagram. There are hundreds of accounts posting unique, fun ways to accomplish great workouts at home, from fitness influencers to fitness publications. A personal favorite of mine is Diary of a Fit Mommy, where trainer Sia Cooper posts videos that target individual parts of the body, such as triceps or calves. From porch workouts to living room floor workouts, she’s got it all.
Fitness for gamers
I’m an avid gamer, so I was excited to learn that I could use my Nintendo Switch not only to play my favorite games (which often include sitting on the couch for hours), but to play fitness-inspired games that burn calories. Just Dance 2020 is a multiplayer game that comes with 40 songs — ranging from easy to difficult — to dance to; users follow moves on the screen and track calories by holding a controller. This is an excellent alternative to Zumba classes for adults, or for children unable to attend dance classes. Any gaming system, such as XBox, Wii, or PlayStation, should have fitness games, many of which can be purchased and downloaded online.
Using what you have at home
I have a co-worker who has been bench pressing with an ottoman bench throughout the pandemic, which got me wondering what other everyday items around our homes could make for alternative workout equipment. Laundry detergent or water jugs can be used as dumbbells, while a towel can serve as a makeshift resistance band. Observe your surroundings: Maybe the staircase can be used for running up and down, while a kitchen countertop can be a platform for pushups. Or, take some time to clean and organize rooms. It’s a surefire way to burn calories while making your home more neat and inspirational, which will only encourage you further.