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The closure of gyms and fitness studios across the United States has made it difficult to remain active in 2020. New realities—including virtual work and school environments, financial obstacles and caring for elderly family members—have required adaptation, flexibility, patience... and a strong wifi connection.
This year has uprooted every aspect of “normal” life, including established fitness routines, such as walking to work or hitting the gym a few times a week. COVID-19 has forced the world to accept a sedentary lifestyle, inspiring many to find creative ways of working out at home.
In my own experience, working out at home has put a damper on my motivation to stay active. When I do—occasionally—manage to break out the dumbbells and yoga mat, I find myself missing the camaraderie of exercising with friends, or the inspiration of a group cycling class, a favorite pre-pandemic activity that I miss dearly.
After eight months of staying at home, a home fitness routine feels more like “should do” than a “want to”. But now that it is mid-October, and COVID-19 cases continue to persist in the United States, I know I need to find new ways to stay active that allow me to break a sweat, give me something to look forward to and help me to break out of the quarantine blues.
Exercise is essential right now, as even a small amount of physical activity significantly heightens both physical and mental wellbeing. Staying active will help to alleviate depression, anxiety, and stress, and also helps to manage chronic conditions including heart disease and high blood pressure. All of these conditions have seen a rise in the United States since the onset of COVID-19 in early March, so staying active is now more important than ever.
Here are some tips and ideas that recently inspired me to switch up my fitness routine and stay active during the pandemic:
1. Get outside
Get outside as much as possible, as the fresh air and sunshine will help to improve your mental wellbeing. Set up a time every week to take a hike, or take a daily walk in the morning or afternoon. While you surround yourself in nature, stay mindful. Notice the wildlife, the sun, the wind and the trees. Take this time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and emotions. And of course, remember a face mask!
2. Dedicate some space in your home to exercise
Choose a space in your home to dedicate to exercise and mindfulness. This is a great time to channel your inner interior designer and decorate your space with uplifting items, such as plants, textiles, posters, photos or crystals.
3. Update your playlists
No workout is complete without some beats. Update and customize your playlists to your workouts. Here are some of my current favorites on Spotify:
Bedroom Pop: great for stretching, warming up, yoga https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXcxvFzl58uP7?si=h8mG_qKwTNyolEoI5b-30A
Summer Hits: great for workouts outside, upbeat tunes https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX1gRalH1mWrP?si=dnntgjZOT5OeuFLqCUte8g
Pumped Pop: great for cardio https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX5gQonLbZD9s?si=HgZiHJinQ9qPsfql3Buqfw
Beast Mode: great for intense exercise, lifting weights https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX76Wlfdnj7AP?si=1belopHtQ4yIP2hQ76plUQ
4. Try out something new
Tired of doing the same workout routines? Try out something new! I recently went completely out of my comfort zone and started taking a virtual West African dance class, and I am so happy I did. Pick up a tennis racket, a soccer ball, a jump rope—now is the time to try out the sport or activity you have always wanted to try!
5. Exercise with the people you are living with
Get your family, friends, roommates or significant other involved! Set up a time for a weekly yoga session or sports game. For the overachievers, you can even set up a tournament!
6. Prioritize your workouts
Write your workouts down in your planner, on your google calendar, or wherever you keep track of your day to day activities. Prioritize your workouts and set aside ample time to warm up and cool down.
7. Be specific in your goals
Instead of generally aspiring to get into shape, make specific goals that include the amount of time you want to spend working out each week as well as your specific fitness goals.
8. Workout with a friend to increase accountability
Set up zoom calls to workout with your friends and family members social distantly. Keep your video on to help you stay accountable. Camera shy? No worries. Use a workout tracker app—such as the Health app on the iPhone—to record your activity and send your workout synopsis to your gym pal!
9. Reward yourself and practice self care
Remember to reward yourself for your hard work. This can take the form of a bath, a nap, an extra scoop of peanut butter...for me it means making an after workout smoothie using one of AstroFlav’s delicious flavors of IsoMix Whey Protein Isolate.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to switch up your fitness routine and stay active during the pandemic. If you are like me and need some extra motivation during this time, follow AstroFlav’s Pinterest account (www.pinterest.com/AstroFlav) for workout motivation and healthy recipe inspiration.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own pandemic workout routines, email me at email@example.com.