Exercise at Home: Tips to Remain Active and Strong

We all know exercise has a myriad of benefits. This is true now more than ever. With social distancing, we are seeing negative impacts in both physical and mental health. The good thing is, moderate exercise at home can help offset these effects!

Exercise has been proven to decrease both depression and anxiety by releasing chemicals in the brain that boost our mood. Moderate levels of exercise can assist in keeping our immune system strong. Exercise will also give us more energy, which is much needed right now when staying home with busy, active kids! 

Although we are not going to the gym right now, you can still exercise at home! There are thousands of options to get a good at-home workout. From different apps or online workouts to at-home equipment, there is no reason why you can’t keep your body strong even while spending more time at home! 

Strength + Cardio

It’s best to get a mix of cardio and strength training in your exercise routine. There are many ways to achieve this at home. Below are multiple ideas to keep yourself active (if you aren’t familiar with a particular exercise listed below, you can find it on Google). 

Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is anything that gets your heart rate elevated. You can do prolonged cardio exercise (like a 30-minute run) or take it to more of a circuit format (30-60 seconds per exercise with a short break in between).

There are SO MANY cardio exercises you can do at home:

  • walking or running (outside or on a treadmill) 
  • cycling (inside if you have a stationary bike, or outdoors) 
  • jumping jacks
  • dancing
  • going up/down the stairs
  • jump rope 
  • burpees
  • squat jumps
  • mountain climbers
  • plyometric exercises (think sports practice or gym class from when you were in high school) 

Strength

It’s important to keep your muscles strong. Although you can get some strength training in during your cardio exercises, I prefer to do my strength exercises in a more focused manner. It’s also important to work all areas of our body at some point; you don’t want to have every single exercise you do only focus on your core, for example. I usually recommend doing each strength exercise in a slow manner, and 15 reps (give or take) per exercise.

Here are some of my favorite strength training exercises you can do at home:

Format

It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. You can do both cardio and strength exercise each day, or designate certain days for certain exercises. I also enjoy mixing up which part of my body I’m working on each day, (example: Monday is hips/core, Tuesday is arms, etc.). If you prefer to do a little bit of it all per session, that’s fine too!

It is also fun to mix up the style of your workouts. I love to exercise either in a circuit or Tabata style (do an exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 10-second break). By doing your workout up in this format, you only need to select a few exercises and repeat them multiple times. This allows you to do different exercises each day, which is good for your body and to keep you from getting bored! 

There is no better time to try a different type of workout than what you usually do. While exercising at home, there is no fear about other people watching you like there can be at the gym. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga, or get into running, but have been to nervous to do so. Well, now is the time to try it! 

Get Kids Involved!

It also can be fun to include your kids in your home exercise. My kids LOVE to follow along with me and complete the exercises with me. Each of my kids have their own yoga mat, so when I do my exercise video they will set up their mats and follow along. This will keep both you and your kids healthy, and wear your kids out some while at home.

Equipment

You don’t need any equipment to exercise at home. However, if you do have exercise equipment at home now is the time to take it out! (Be honest, it is most likely either covered in clothing or dust at this point.) Common home exercise equipment includes small weights, an exercise ball, or yoga mat. Some of you may also have a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. Like I said, there is no better time than now to put that equipment to good use! 

If you don’t have any exercise equipment at home, you can use things you already have to assist your workout. Use what you find around your house, such as the stairs, a chair, or items from your pantry to add extra weight. Now that it is warming up, you can also bring the exercises outside into your back yard for a nice change of scenery! 

Online/App Workouts

There are also MANY guided workouts you can find online. You can Google exercises for a specific area of the body, or you can find and stream entire workouts! There are some paid memberships that include great at-home workouts such as Daily Burn or Beachbody on Demand. You can find free at-home guided workouts on places such as Fitness Blender or YouTube. If you currently have a gym membership, your gym may be offering free live workouts as well, so check out the website or social media page! 

There are thousands of apps you can download to guide you through at-home workouts. Although a good majority of them require a paid subscription, more and more are offering free extended trials during the next few months. Some of my favorite include the Peleton app, Seven – 7 Minute Workout, and Nike Training Club

So, keep your head up and your body moving, mama! Although these times are tough, we will all get through it together. Continuing to exercise will keep your mind and body strong, as well as help pass the time while social distancing! 

Want to read more about exercising your pelvic floor? Read our post here!

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Dr. Jill is a mom, wife, and women's health physical therapist. She married Ryan in 2010 and they have 2 children, Easton (2013) and Molly (2015). Their family enjoys being active by participating in various activities, being outside, and going to the lake in the summer. Jill has been a physical therapist for 10 years. She is a Women's Health Certified Specialist and has earned a Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. She is also certified in pelvic floor dry needling. She practices at Apex Physical Therapy and Wellness in West Fargo. She loves her work and greatly enjoys advocating for the health of women! Jill feels very lucky to be able to work part-time, which makes for a very busy clinic schedule but also a lot of good time at home with her family. Give her a follow on Instagram.

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