The Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Happy While Stuck at Home
The onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has produced a wave of uncertainty and fear around the world.
Previously unusual terms like shelter-in-place, self-isolation, social distancing, lockdown, and quarantine have now become commonplace in everyday life.
While staying healthy and flattening the curve in communities remain top priorities, it is also important to look after your emotional and physical well-being.
With worldwide trending hashtags such as the #Quarantine15, however, many people feel that staying fit is currently easier said than done. This following practical guide offers easy and fun solutions for staying healthy and happy – even when you are stuck at home.
Make Your Home a Haven
With the rise of self-isolation and social distancing, you may have to spend more time at home than previously anticipated. Instead of seeing this lifestyle change as a restriction, however, you can instead see it as the perfect opportunity to turn your home into a fitness oasis.
If you have not already, dust off the spare dumbbells, yoga mat, or exercise bike and designate an area for workouts in your home. Even if you do not have a lot of space, home gym design tips such as adding freestanding mirrors and diversifying lighting to make your home gym an inviting area to blow off steam.
And if you do not have a lot of spare workout equipment, there is no need to panic. You can try expert-recommended barre stretches (using a wall or the end of a sofa) as well as a host of no-equipment workouts on YouTube.
Go for a Virtual Walk
Finding the nearest walking trail can be great for getting fresh air and blowing off steam. With many people craving the outdoors, however, it can sometimes feel difficult to maintain proper social distancing from others on the trail.
Fortunately, modern technology means that you can now use virtual walking trails from around the world. Slink through mountain passes, explore hidden passageways, and even trek through forests without ever needing to set foot outside of the house.
Simply grab a pedometer and create a bucket list of best destinations across the globe. Then use official YouTube channels to startlingly realistic walking tours from the privacy of your home.
For example, you can take a solo hike through a historic landmark you have always wanted to visit, or partner with a walking buddy to explore the hidden wonders of the world. Some of the most popular virtual walking tours include the following:
- Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
- The Colosseum, Rome
- Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
- Redwood National Park, California
- Panorama Trail, Switzerland
- Wailea Beach Path, Hawaii
- Historic Venice, Italy
- Indian Beach Trail, Oregon
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Old Town Ibiza, Spain
- Downtown Reykjavík, Iceland
- Amalfi Coast, Italy
- The Louvre, Paris
Widespread travel restrictions and temporary closings are no longer barriers with the help of virtual tours. You can open full-screen view on your computer or sync wireless devices using a television app for maximum display.
And in addition to pedometers, try getting creative with extra accessories like wristbands or ankle weights. The great thing is that virtual tours offer a “test run” on locations you may end up visiting once various regions lift travel restrictions. As with in-person travel, be sure to keep a fitness journal to record how much ground you have covered and to stay motivated to reach your workout goals.
Make the Most of Free Online Streaming Services
Many fitness companies now offer pre-recorded and live-streaming workouts to help you adjust to staying at home. Because there are a variety of options, it is understandable that you may feel unsure of where to begin.
Try using a guided free service like the official At Home #WithMe channel from YouTube. This new aggregated channel offers full-length workout from leading fitness experts across the world. You can also find helpful recipes, do-it-yourself mask tutorials, and family activities to keep restless children occupied as your family adjusts to a new routine.
Supercharge Your Social Media
In addition to online streaming and recorded workouts, many fitness companies have turned to social media to foster a sense of community. During times when the pandemic can keep us further apart, this immediate connection can work wonders for mental and physical health.
Log into your social media accounts and join pages for workout topics or fitness companies that interest you. In addition to finding tips and ideas, these pages can bring more structure to your workouts.
For example, Practice Yoga Austin, a studio based in Texas, announced it now holds daily classes on Facebook Live for page members. Once you begin engaging on social media pages, some pages also offer invitations to VIP groups based on fitness levels and areas of interest.
Sharpen Your Smartphone Apps
Although you may not be able to visit certain places or attend large gatherings, your smartphone is a resource you are likely to keep handy. Make the most of your phone’s capabilities by installing free mobile fitness app.
For example, FitOn offers a smartphone app for iOS and Android that lets you find exercises that range from strength training to cardiovascular workouts. There are also apps that help you identify the closest hiking trails and keep you updated on the latest health advisories for your region. And if you are a beginner and need a quick cheat sheet, try installing the Pinterest mobile app for easy-to-follow workout tutorials.
Customise Your Indoor Fitness Routine
Once you have available resources in order, it is time to customise your fitness routine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you should aim to get 30 minutes of cardio exercises five times a week as well as at least two strength-training exercises at least twice a week. While the type of workout is up to you, the goal of implementing a fitness routine is to avoid the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, including lower back pain.
One of the easiest ways to craft your fitness routine is to develop a 12-step or 15-step full body workout. Start with a warmup, then pick 12 or 15 popular workout moves. You should do each move for about 10 repetitions each. Complete up to three rounds of all moves with 30 seconds of cardio activity (such as knee lifts or jumping jacks) to increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury between rounds.
Some of the top-recommended workout moves include the following:
- Forward Lunges – The trick is keeping your knee over your ankle (90-degree angle) each time you descend. Be sure to lower only about one-fourth of the way, and squeeze the glute muscle as you come down for trunk support during this workout.
- Plank – Support forearms on the ground and keep hips at level with head to strengthen your back, legs, and arms. Be sure to hold in your stomach to reduce the risk of any lower-pack pain.
- Superman – Perform this position by getting down on all fours with hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Lift one arm forward and the opposite leg back, alternating arms and legs every 20 seconds.
- Squats – Place feet at hip-width distance with toes pointing forward. Bend as much as comfortably possible, keeping heels on the ground and knees over the feet. You can also hold light weights in your hands to increase the workout.
- Chair Dip – Hold onto the seat of a chair with your feet a half-meter away from the chair. Bend arms as you slower lower your hips to the floor and back. This is a great way to strengthen triceps and shoulder muscles.
- Cross-Body Punches – Borrowed from boxing workouts, this is a great way to blow off steam. You can also compare various self-defense tutorials on YouTube to ensure that you are using the correct form.
- Donkey Kick – After getting down on all fours, left one bend leg and squeeze the glute muscle. This “heel to ceiling” leg move works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks muscles.
- Standing Crunches – Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward, fold your arms behind your head (the same as you would if you were doing a traditional crunch on the floor). Bend forward and twist your torso slightly as if you are trying to bring the elbow to the opposite knee. Be sure to hold in the lower abs and go slowly to prevent any discomfort.
Combining these targeted toning exercises with virtual walks, yoga, or workouts on a treadmill or stationary bike can provide variety and keep you motivated for your next workout session.
The Bottom Line on Staying Happy and Healthy at Home
Although worldwide pandemic concerns have upended the status quo, you can still take concrete steps to stay happy and healthy at home. Use these tips to create a personalised plan that can help you lower stress, support the immune system, and elevate mood levels during this unprecedented time.