The five W’s of home workouts

Feeling lost without a gym? Here’s how to tackle your workouts at home.

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By Emma Ryan, Collegian Staff

Home workouts aren’t for everyone, and you probably wouldn’t choose to do them if you had a state-of-the-art rec center at your hands or even a Planet Fitness. Home workouts can be challenging in ways that going to the gym isn’t. One of the most challenging things about them is motivating yourself to actually do it. Lots of people say “getting to the gym is half the battle” but when your gym and your home are the same place, it can be tough to get yourself in the mindset to workout rather than getting distracted by chores, school work or more likely the next episode button on Netflix. For those of you tackling home workouts for the first time and are at a loss as to where to begin, the five W’s of home workouts can give you plenty of reasons and tips on how to start.

So who should take part in these workouts? Most importantly, yourself, but also consider asking a quarantine buddy to be a workout buddy. Committing to exercise with someone else will hold both of you more accountable to getting off the couch and actually doing it. You can also include people virtually in your workout. There are tons of good workouts led by an instructor or self-proclaimed fitness gurus on Instagram and YouTube. With the current circumstances, people who make their living off of producing workout content for social media platforms are most probably posting different at home workouts to try since they don’t have access to a gym either. So, after a quick search, you’ll have plenty at your fingertips. If you want to feel a little bit more involved with your virtual workout, try hopping on Zoom with some friends and staying active together!

What kind of exercise should I do? While at home you’re probably not surrounded by workout equipment, but you can still mimic workouts you’d do in a gym at home. You’ll have to get creative with weights (if you want them). Five-gallon water bottles or sand bags can be a great makeshift weight, both weighing around 40 pounds. They can be awkward to hold and work better for leg exercises but once you get the hang of them, they can be very useful. For arm workouts, resistance bands are much more universal and cheaper than buying dumbbells. You can also use canned goods or regular sized water bottles to complete arm exercises. Just do what you’d do in a gym — it might feel weird at first, but it’ll become a habit in just a few workouts.

Weight and resistance training aren’t your only options for at home workouts. Walks, runs and hikes are a good way to get in your cardio and get outside. If you’re new to doing lots of cardio, start off with walks around your neighborhood or hikes and work your way up to running. Remember to practice social distancing and take a pet if you have the option, they want to get outside too!

If you want to work out in your actual house and are unsure where to do so, use trial and error to test different places around your house and see where you like best. Make sure you’re using big, open spaces and that the type of flooring doesn’t bother you too much. If you’re working out in a basement or garage that has concrete floors, try using a yoga mat or a thick towel to ensure that the ground has a little give and it won’t hurt your legs. Since walks, hikes and runs also count as an at home workout, the best thing to do is switch up the places you walk, run or hike. Even if that means walking the opposite way around your block than you usually do, it can be a good way to change up perspective and scenery.

The best way to cover the “when” is to schedule your workout into your day. If you have it written down or even just planned out in your head, it will hold you more accountable to do it. Also, just because home workouts don’t feel as taxing or as hard as a workout in the gym doesn’t mean your body can go without rest. Designate a couple days in your week to relax and not worry about a workout. If you still want to do something on your rest days, count them as “active” days and just go on a quick walk to stay moving.

A lot of people might be in a rut during their quarantine and thinking “well if I wasn’t working out before why should I start now?’ Exercise is more important than ever during today’s circumstances. Being cooped up in a house isn’t good for mental or physical health. Incorporating daily exercise into your life can make you happier, give you more energy, and is good for your overall health. You don’t have to be crossfit ripped by the end of your quarantine but light, everyday exercise can only benefit you in the long run.

Emma Ryan can reached at [email protected]