By Dr. Chris Mulvey, PT
During the past few months, our homes have doubled as offices, schools, restaurants, places of worship, fitness centers and more.
Under quarantine, home wasn’t just where the heart was – it was where we were, nearly 24/7. Although Florida’s safer-at-home order has expired, we’re once again finding ourselves spending a lot of time at home, thanks to the weather. With blistering temperatures and torrential downpours, spending any amount of time outdoors can be unpleasant, and even dangerous for outdoor exercise.
If there’s one thing quarantining taught us, it’s that we can stay at home and accomplish pretty much whatever we want. And that includes exercise, which is incredibly important for your overall health as well as being a great means to relieve stress during challenging times.
Most Southwest Florida residents don’t have home gyms at their disposal, but expensive fitness equipment isn’t a requirement to stay fit.
Below are 10 indoor exercises and DIY activities to consider when it’s too hot or rainy to venture outside:
Stretching: Although stretching is a prerequisite to every gym class or team sport, few non-athletes stretch on a regular basis. Stretching helps keep your muscles strong, healthy and flexible. As we age, it’s incredibly important to maintain our range of motion.
Stairs: Climbing stairs strengthens and tones the lower body, including your thighs, calves and buttocks. Walk up and down the staircase a few times in a row, and you’ll also give your heart and lungs a nice workout.
Yoga: Yoga classes are among the most popular instructor-led fitness courses at private gyms, but it’s just as effective in a home environment. YouTube is full of videos offering yoga exercises – let those yogis be your instructor.
Shadow boxing: Running and bicycling are great cardio exercises, but not if it’s 95 degrees outside, and certainly not if you aren’t in great shape. Shadow boxing can burn calories and fat, especially for those who incorporate more footwork into their routines.
Commercial shuffle: You can still make time for fitness – even when you’re relaxing. While watching television, simply stand up and do something during commercial breaks. You have roughly two to four minutes before a show returns, so use this time to complete a few squats, torso twists, leg lifts or jumping jacks.
Calf raises: Stand in one spot and reach as high as you can on your tiptoes, or sit in a recliner and move your toes in and out. Calf raises are a simple exercise to strengthen the muscles that help propel the body when walking or running.
Jug raises: Milk jugs are one of the best dumbbells in your home. A full gallon of milk weighs 8.6 pounds and provides a good handle for exercises to strengthen biceps and triceps.
Planks: A body’s strength comes from its core, and planks have become one of the most popular exercises targeting the mid-section of your body. Planks strengthen abdominal muscles, as well as the back and spinal column, while boosting metabolism. When done correctly, planks also can improve your posture and overall balance.
Sit-stand-jump: Sitting down and standing up might not seem like exercise, but if you do it quickly and throw in a jump, you’ll soon realize that a good workout doesn’t have to be complicated.
Combos: Fitness pros often recommend three sets of 10-15 reps for strength-related exercises, but workouts don’t have to be so regimented. Instead, try rotating quickly through a sequence of activities like pushups, sit-ups or crunches, leg lifts, lunges, squats, planks, calf raises, chair dips and more to increase strength and endurance.
Spending more time indoors doesn’t mean you have to give up your fitness routine. These at-home techniques can help you stay active throughout the summer months.
As always, consult with a trained medical professional prior to making any substantial exercise, dietary or lifestyle changes.
About the Author
Dr. Chris Mulvey, PT, is president for company clinics at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, which has 405 locations in 45 states. For more information, please visit Fyzical.com.