Exercise plays an important role in our physical and mental well-being. How we feel, and how we feel about ourselves are so often one and the same. The gradual return and subsequent closing of gyms in Israel, exercise classes, and outdoor activities brought this all into sharp focus.
The COVID-19 pandemic did more than drastically change how we behave and how we move around in public- or how we do not move. It has radically altered how we view and use our homes and living space.
As the new year is upon us, many of us are making resolutions to correct the negative health impacts incurred by the lock down. Lack of movement and exercise, coupled with a few too many snacks and a few more units of alcohol has had a negative impact on our collective health.
With gyms and exercise classes once again closed, we can’t repeat the mistakes of the first wave. There are a lot of exercises that you can continue to do, from the comfort of your own home. As with the creation of the modern day home office, they don’t require home expansions or dramatic renovations. All that’s needed is a quick reevaluation of your space and some out-of-the-box thinking.
(Disclaimer: I am not a fitness professional, check with your doctor and trainer before performing any exercise).
You may be surprised to learn that you already own one of the most functional pieces of exercise equipment- your floor! Many types of exercises can be practiced with the floor alone.
To practice Strength Training, Esther Loewy, of Esther’s Fitness in Modiin says, “You only need the length of your body in area space”. Look around your home, and locate a clear floor space. Esther also loves to incorporate common household items into her personalized workout classes, which she offers both in person and online. Among her favorite items she uses to enhance her workouts are canned goods, broomsticks, shampoo and conditioner bottles and many more.
Mat Pilates is another great way to exercise using the floor alone. “With mat Pilates, all you need is your mat (even a thick carpet or towel will do in a pinch)! It is simple and portable. No other gear or equipment is needed. We use our own body weight as resistance”, says Lisa Silverstein of PilatesInAPencilSkirt . Pilates In A Pencil Skirt offers both a variety of engaging Mat Pilates studio classes and an online subscription platform, so you can practice Pilates from the comfort of your own home. “It’s recommended that you have some open space around your mat so that you can reach your arms and legs wide to the sides. It’s also helpful to have some extra space behind your head so that you can extend your arms back behind you when laying on your back. Even if you are confined just to the dimensions of your mat, that will work too.”
Walls and Doors
Another great structural element that we all have in our homes are walls and doors. “A wall can be used for exercises such as wall squats, and modified pushups and planks. A set of stairs can be used for exercises such as triceps dips, step ups, cardio stepping with no additional equipment necessary.”, says Hannah Kugelman of Total Fitness. Hannah is a certified personal trainer specializing in strength training and metabolic conditioning. She offers a variety of exercise classes including circuit training classes, TRX classes/weights blend, and Barre fitness to groups and private individuals. Just like many other trainers, during lockdown she has resolved to offer Zoom classes for her loyal clientele.
Hannah also recommends a set of suspension straps that can be hung over any stable swinging door and is a phenomenal way to get a full body strength training workout. (Always use caution when attaching suspension straps.)
If until now you have been seeing great results with a personal trainer in a gym, you may be reluctant to stop your appointments. You may feel uncomfortable having someone in your home. Perhaps someone in your home is in isolation, and you are unable to have people over. An outdoor space is a perfect solution. This can be a balcony, parking lot or backyard. Personal trainers are very creative when it comes to using their surroundings to further your fitness progress.
Yehiam Shealtiel, a personal trainer from Modiin recommends using your balcony railing, something that we all have, for resistance. “Even lifting the couch or rearranging furniture can be a great exercise for a more advanced client”, says Yehiam. Yehiam is a gym instructor and does one-on-one personal training sessions in Modiin and the surrounding areas.
Yehiam recommends that you take advantage of your outdoor space to do sit-ups, pushups, etc. You can even do calf raises on small steps at the entrance to your home. There are lots of exercises that can be done in the open areas outdoors, even without gym equipment.
When one gym door closes, many windows of opportunity for exercise to open in your home!
Make sure that you take advantage of what your home has to offer for your personal fitness.