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Fitness in a COVID Surge

Young woman practicing downward facing dog pose playing with her pet in the living room.

With COVID cases fluctuating and some gyms reclosing, many people have realized the importance of building fitness routines that don’t rely on a gym. Here are some ideas that will help you switch up your workouts without having to step in a gym.

One of my favorite free home workout apps is Nike Training Club. Nike Training Club is my go-to when I don’t have the mental energy to leave my house or read workout instructions. It talks users through exactly what exercises to do and provides tips on form. Their selection of workouts is extensive; you can sort by workout type, muscle group, intensity and the amount of equipment you have. If you have access to an outdoor space, grab a mat and try doing the workouts outside.

Whenever I have more energy and am not afraid to make a bit of noise, the Insanity Max 30 workouts are some of the most intense circuit-style, no-equipment workouts you can do. They always have me sweating buckets, and I love the creative body weight moves that build strength and test the limits of your cardiovascular fitness (sumo jump dive-pushup, anyone?) They are not free, but have been an excellent investment for me over the past five years.

For the widest range of home workouts, head to YouTube. YouTube offers great alternatives to HIIT (high intensity interval training) and circuit workouts. Try cardio kickboxing, a high energy Zumba class, or put your favorite music on and have a dance party. Blogilates offers many excellent free workouts with Cassie Ho acting as a cheerful, kick-your-butt trainer; she also has a quieter apartment workout series. Yoga videos provide an opportunity to work on mindfulness and flexibility at different intensity levels.

If you’re looking to support your local gym or trainer in a socially distanced manner, many gyms have expanded their offerings. There are Zoom and Instagram Live classes that will give you a chance to check in with your fellow gym-goers, and personal training sessions can allow you to customize your fitness goals and receive an extra boost of motivation. Outdoor classes are a fun lower risk option — I loved getting to shake my hips to Shakira at a recent outdoor Zumba class with my local YMCA.

Finally, if you’re someone who enjoys setting fitness goals, running has been my new joy during COVID. I couldn’t run more than a few miles before 2020, but starting on a training plan brought structure to my weeks and tangible goals to meet. Even though many in-person races have been canceled, increasing your mileage is still rewarding. Running is also an opportunity to get out of the house and around your city or town.

These are challenging times to stick with a fitness routine. But once you develop strategies for fitness outside the gym, you will have the tools to save money and reap the benefits of a workout whenever and wherever.

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