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Expert Interview: How to Keep Fit at Home During Quarantine

Being indoors doesn’t mean we have to stop training. If anything, it’s an opportunity for us to get creative and use the extra time we have towards our fitness goals. For some people, it may be tough to imagine getting a full workout while in an apartment, but nevertheless, it is possible.

There are many online tips and tricks on how you can best do that, but to give you an extra hand, we went directly to the source and asked experts for fitness advice on how to stay in shape during the stay at home period, as well as what renters should avoid doing. Here’s what they shared with us:

Allison Jackson, founder of Allison Jackson Fitness

allison jackson fitness“Your nutrition accounts for 90% of your results. With stress-eating at an all-time high, reigning in your eating is my top advice. We eat when we’re happy, sad, mad or stressed. There are some ways in which you can prevent that.

Track your food using a free app like MyFitnessPal. What gets measured gets managed, so knowing how many calories you’re consuming is the first step. Try Intermittent Fasting (IF) which involves having a small eating window — say noon to 8 pm — and then fasting the rest of the time (8 pm to noon). During the fasting period, you can drink water, tea, coffee, broth and chew gum. Make it a game to see how long you can last and use a free app like Fast to keep track of your progress.

Only keep healthy options on hand. Do not keep large amounts of “trigger foods” in your home. If you don’t have access to junk food, you won’t eat it (or binge eat it). Also, eat mindfully. Do not scroll on your phone, watch TV, read a book, or do any other multi-tasking. Focus on the task at hand, slowly eat, chew and taste your food and recognize when you’re full.

at home workout

With many people home-bound, we’ve severely restricted any normal movement we would typically get in a day. Try to hit 10,000 steps (or make that a higher number if you’re already hitting that). This means making a concerted effort to move throughout the day. Tied to your computer with work? Schedule a 10-minute walk in the morning, at lunch and after work. Stuck in an apartment or other small living quarters? March in place, jump rope, or do laps around your living room. Remember, control what you can and let go of the rest. That means your health and nutrition are completely in your hands.”

Brad Walker, founder of Stretch Coach

stretch coach“Flexibility is one of the first things to suffer when your movement is restricted. Your hips tighten up, which can cause lower back pain. Your shoulders stiffen up and fall forward, which can cause neck and shoulder pain.

Doing a few easy stretches or a simple stretching routine can make a big difference to your comfort. It will improve your flexibility, mobility and range of motion, which leads to improved freedom of movement. In other words, you can bend, reach and turn further without restriction or pain. It will also help to reduce aches, pains and stiff, tight muscles and joints, it will improve posture, promote circulation, increase energy levels and relaxation.

For an easy exercise session you can do at home, you can’t go past a good old fashion stretching session. Mix it up with a combination of both static and dynamic stretches to get the heart rate up a little. This is also a great session to help with recovery, and work out some of those knots and tight spots that we all get from time to time.

yoga at home

Remember, there’s no situation where stress or panic will make things better, so make every effort to reduce your stress levels. Concentrate on breathing (take slow deep breaths regularly), pray, meditate, call your loved ones and openly discuss how you are feeling. Stay hydrated, get enough sleep and good nutrition, keep active and stretch more.”

Meghan Kennihan, founder of Train with Meghan

train with meghan“I highly recommend exercising at a higher intensity than a simple walk, at least 4 times a week during this time. Exercise is essential for supporting healthy immune functions and preventing weight gain. It also boosts your mood and it is something you can control in this uncertain time. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day (at least two higher intensity cardio workouts) plus strength training at least twice a week.

Outdoor exercise during this time is great and has the added benefit of providing a little sun exposure to boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D can even help boost your immune system and mood. This can include biking, running, rollerblading, walking, hiking or playing with your kids in a field or park. If you are in an area where exercising outside would be against the rules of social distancing, then online streaming services have many body weight strength, cardio, and flexibility workouts for all fitness levels.

If you are a renter, especially if you have people above and below you, be sure to pick workouts that do not disrupt other tenants. Choose low-impact workouts where there is not a lot of jumping. If using weights, make sure you are setting them down and not dropping them. When exercising outdoors be sure to keep social distancing in mind and maintain the 6 ft distance.”

Nicole Glor, founder of Nikki Fitness

nikki fitness“Wake up and put on your fitness clothes right away, have half a healthy smoothie and some caffeine, then work out right away, If you don’t have a routine, start with one of my 14 videos on the NikkiFitness app. Shower and finish your other half of smoothie. Go on with your daily work and kids routine. Sometimes, you have to put yourself first, so that means prioritizing your workout. Later in the day you might get lazy.

Renters should avoid doing high impact jumping if someone lives below them. You can run stairs for cardio, or do my Walking Workout video.”

Rachel Scott, founder of Rachel Yoga

rachel yoga“As someone who has been in an AirBNB since the start of COVID, I have found it hard to stay in shape. It’s so easy to get thrown off our game when we can’t do our normal routines, like head to yoga class or the gym. Here are some tips that have been helping me.

Work short, not long. Rather than aim for a 90 minute workout, try 20. Set a timer. A quick pick me up (a quick set of jump squats or lunges) can really turn your mental state around when you need to be inside a lot. Try it twice a day when you hit the doldrums, and you’ll start to perk up! And you can get a lot done in 20 minutes if you really commit to it.

Form a support group. I invited friends to a WhatsApp group because I needed some accountability. Whether you use WhatsApp or Facebook, or simply have a “workout” buddy that you text, it can be really helpful to know you’re not in it alone. When you talk to friends, make it a walk. Rather than talk to people from our couch, get out in nature. Call a friend, put in your headphones, and go outside. This way, you can get fresh air, exercise and connection all in one.

online fitness classes

Alternatively, there are so many free online resources right now ( being one of my personal faves) where you can grab a class. You don’t have to create a sequence yourself, you just have to commit to getting to your yoga mat. Use online classes to create a sacred self-care bubble and a routine. Habits are easy to hold when they’re consistent. Whether you work out before you start your day, on the dot at 11:00 AM, or before dinner in the evening, consistency will help you make time for yourself.

Engage in random acts of exercise. Spontaneously do 20 jump squats, or 20 push-ups or (my fave) have a dance party to your favorite song. Make these quick pick-me-ups a habit and you’ll find that your body is humming and happy.”

Sloane Davis, founder of Pancakes and Push-Ups

pancakes and push-ups“Allow yourself 20 minutes a day. You will find motivation once you get started. Use household items as weights — laundry jugs, milk cartons, soda bottles, water bottles, or filling a bag with books — or to replace dumbbells if you don’t have any at home. Cardio does not have to be on a machine. Perform jumping jacks, dance, bench hops, or walking lunges. Use your sofa while you are watching TV: sit and squat, slit squats, chair dips and step ups are all great exercises to incorporate.

As a renter, don’t invest in equipment that you either can’t take with you or may be difficult to move when your lease is terminated. Try not to rush into buying anything too expensive that you won’t use when the stay at home is over.”

Tim Liu, founder of Tim Liu Fitness

tim liu fitness“My top advice for keeping fit while staying at home is to block a time off in your calendar and to create a space for your workouts. During this time our routine is interrupted, and it’s very easy to let your habits slip. By creating the right environment to continue your habits, you’re able to stay consistent with your workouts and not get out of shape.

Behaviors renters should avoid are snacking and spending all day on the couch watching Netflix. Instead, get rid of the junk out of your apartment and develop positive actions and habits that keep you busy. They can be journaling, learning a new skill, going for a walk, cleaning your home, or learning a healthy new recipe.”

Whitney Heins, founder of The Mother Runners

the mother runners“There are plenty of resources to stay fit while at home. In fact, a lot of people may end up in better shape because of the convenience of working out at home, as well as the lack of commute to the gym!

Go on Instagram and there’s a good chance one of the accounts you follow, such as health magazines and influencers, are offering free LIVE workouts. There are plenty of apps as well including many that are free during the stay at home period. If it weren’t for quarantine, I would have never tried the OnePeloton app, but now that it’s free, I am using it daily, no equipment — just body weight — required. Also, YouTube has plenty of free resources (just search for at-home workouts). Yoga with Adriene is one of my favorites. Pinterest is also a goldmine for at-home workouts.

Finally, while your gym may be closed, you can get outside and run. There’s no more efficient workout than running (it burns more calories than any other exercise) and all you need are a good pair of running shoes. If you’re new to running, it’s important to warm-up and cool-down with about 5 minutes of walking before alternating between a jog and a walk. If you’re a seasoned runner needing motivation, consider doing a time-trial or a virtual race which you can find on the Strava app.

If you’re running, don’t skip your warm-up and cool-down. Also, avoid running too hard (above 75% effort) or too long (longer than 20 miles for marathoners) as that can wear down your immune system. Finally, avoid running in crowded places. If you encounter people on your run, stay 6 feet away. Wear a mask if running in a high-traffic area.”

Are you ready to start stretching and exercising right now? We hope you’ve found some helpful tips and the inspiration you needed to get down on the floor and move your body. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart. Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.

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