by Anika Talia Griffiths | published Sep. 12th, 2020
Making more time for the gym was probably one of your 2020 resolutions; but if you're honest, you probably haven't been there since mid-January. No need to worry, it turns out that gyms are overrated. Anyone can build strength and endurance in the comfort of their own homes and communities. All they really need is a bit of creativity and a little motivation from their friends.
Home Sweaty Home
According to Healthline.com, working out at home has several benefits. Unlike George H. Clark Gymnasium, your bedroom and living room don't have opening or closing hours; you can decide to workout at any time you feel is best for you. You also cut out the hassle of traveling to the gym, which can take 15 minutes or more for commuter students. Finally, you get to have your privacy and dress comfortably while you exercise and stretch.
The treadmills in Clark Gym can get monotonous pretty quickly. Running along Andrews Memorial Drive, however, grants plenty of opportunities to appreciate Mother Nature as you build endurance. The same can go for biking. Taking a brisk walk on the nature trails behind the August Center can be a good way to keep active without overexerting yourself.For those who prefer yoga, Fountain Park and Greek Lawn offer lots of open green space.
If you really don’t want to leave the house, plenty of professional yoga, Pilates and weight training instructors post videos on their social media platforms for free.
“There are lots of things you can do using no equipment at all. There are body weight workouts, there are several digital applications that are free ... that you can do in your house, that you can do in your yard,” said adjunct wellness instructor Michelle Wilcox.
Wilcox went on to share a workout technique that can be done at home without equipment.
“There’s something called Tabata-style workouts. Usually it’s 20 minutes or 10 minutes and you go pretty intensely. So, you’ll do intervals. You’ll do 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. If you can get your workout that way ... those things are still going to go a long way in keeping your fitness up,” she said.
Such a workout can be done effectively in small spaces and can consist of body weight squats, push-ups and jumping jacks.
If you are looking to purchase a bit of equipment to use at home, adjunct wellness instructor Molly Gavin has some recommendations.
"[Resistance bands] are so versatile, you can use them for pretty much every single body part. They’re very inexpensive and they’re easy to use. Stability balls are good, but they take up a lot of space ... And I think a kettlebell is always a great addition to anybody’s repertoire because they’re pretty versatile as well,” she said.
Gavin also mentioned that a couple of dumbbells are always useful, even if they're light.
Whether you have equipment or not, there are workout options to help build up and maintain one’s fitness level.
Thinking Outside the Plyo Box
When gyms were shut down at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were pushed to find new ways to stay healthy. What they learned is that everyday items around the house, and even some household furniture, can be useful during workouts.
“I have people using wine bottles, I have them using soup cans ... backpacks filled with books,” said Gavin about the students in her classes during strength building exercises.
“I have people using wine bottles, I have them using soup cans ... backpacks filled with books.”
She continued, “Even if you’re somebody that likes to do running but it’s raining outside, you can run up and down your stairs. I’ve been known to use a chair ... where I can do tricep dips or elevated push-ups, step ups, things like that.”
Besides these cool new ways of getting some reps in, there have also been new ways of keeping up with a gym buddy. Gym buddies are friends that exercise with you and know how to motivate you during a workout, so that you continue to build your strength and endurance. If you find it hard to push through your workouts, consider reaching out to someone for support. According to Wilcox, being alone or feeling isolated can lead people to lose their motivation to exercise. So, if you’re working out at home, support from a friend is especially helpful. Other than inviting a gym buddy over, you can also video chat. Even better, you can look for fitness instructors offering online classes. That way, you remain comfy at home, but still have people to hold you accountable or give you feedback.
“I’ve seen a ton of people doing Zoom workouts where they get a group of their friends together and they take a class. So, they’ll be watching an instructor on a social media platform and they’re all in a chat room together on a Zoom call,” said Gavin.
Way after the pandemic ends, these fun ideas will still be pretty genius. So, keep these in mind.
Positivity, Sweat and Tears
Both Wilcox and Gavin pointed out the importance of maintaining an exercise regimen.
“One thing that I have said to my own kids too is: you can’t underestimate the power that being physically active has on your mental health,” said Wilcox. “Prioritizing and doing something movement-based every day — even if it’s just going for a walk or taking 20 minutes to look for something online to do — is so important to keeping your mental health ...”
"You can’t underestimate the power that being physically active has on your mental health"
According to Gavin, exercise is a natural mood booster and stress reducer. Working out is credited for building strength and improving physicality. However, it can also give someone a better attitude throughout their day.
These emotionally uplifting benefits happen regardless of where or how you exercise. So, don’t feel bad for skipping the gym. Just grab a couple friends and some milk jugs, and do a quick YouTube search. Your living room works just fine.