Whether you’re a regular gym-goer, or have a casual, once-in-a-while approach to fitness, exercising during COVID-19 is extremely important for both your mental and physical health.
We understand it can be tough to find the motivation to work out at home, so we reached out to Celeste Dixon – ‘Aerial Ninja’, personal trainer and Australian Ninja Warrior semi-finalist – to discover her top tips for staying fit during COVID-19.
How important is it for me to keep exercising during self-isolation?
Personally I believe physical exercise is paramount for a healthy mindset. If you have been cut off from all other avenues of “social” interaction, then you have plenty of time to fit in a workout. This not only keeps your body doing something physical, but exercise is proven to help with boosting energy and improving your mood, and also helps with sleep.
My gym has just closed – what am I supposed to do now?
Your gym has closed – so what?! Who says you need a gym to do a workout? There are plenty of body weight exercises that you can do to get you by. Not only that, but you would be surprised at what you can use and the types of things that can become exercise.
What are some of the best at-home exercises for beginners?
My top five best at-home exercises for beginners would be everything bodyweight:
1. Planks. Don’t underestimate the power of a plank – especially on your elbows. Remember to tighten your core and, even more importantly, squeeze your butt.
2. Push ups. There are so many variations. Do them on your knees or on an incline if you find them difficult. If a standard push up is too easy, try sticking your feet on a chair or the end of the bed, stick a weight of some kind on your lower back, or change your hand position. Put your hands wide, right next to each other into a diamond, or even try doing it with one hand further forward/back.
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For all of those stuck in isolation be sure to get some daily exercise! Here’s a quick homework you can do with whatever you’ve got. There’s 6 exercises – all with variations. Do 5 rounds! 45 seconds of each exercise – no stopping. 15 seconds break If you need a small break inbetween each round take a short one but try without and see how you go 👌 Let me know what you think! Should be about 25 minutes in total. Do 6 rounds if you want it to go for half an hour 💪 Keep fit, keep healthy, keep your body in tip top shape! … #isolation #corona #workout #fitness #fitchicks #gym #weights .. .. 💚💜💙⚔️⛩💪🇦🇺 #CelesteDixon #AerialNinja .. .. 💚💙💜 #Ninja #calisthenics #Strongwomen #strengthtraining #trainingideas #girlswhotrain #Strength #girlswholift #f45 #NinjaWarrior #GirlPower #abs #6pack #crossfit #NinjawarriorAU #wod #boulder .. .. 💙💚💜 . @anwnation @ninjawarrior @ninjawarriorau @ryderwear @ryderwearwomen @amazingwg
3. Crunch! Everyone is generally always after a six-pack. Well, now you’ve most definitely got time to get started. Remember, these don’t happen overnight, nor in a couple of weeks. Don’t kid yourself – start small. Just do a standard crunch laying on your back with knees bent, then slide your hands up to your knees and back down. If it’s too easy, do a full sit up, lift your feet up to a 90-degree angle, or try straightening your legs up in the air and reach up to touch your shoes.
4. Squats. Air squats, to a chair, or squat all the way down. Add a stretch jump in-between. Do a wide squat with a jump. If your push up or plank game is on point, turn it into a burpee.
5. Walking/running/cycling. The footpath is free and you can make sure you’re keeping your social distance at the same time – all whilst getting some fresh air.
How can I keep up my strength at home?
The best way to keep up your strength at home is to make sure you are keeping your body moving. Getting enough sleep and keeping your mind active – that doesn’t mean sitting and watching the TV or a screen 24/7.
Make yourself a schedule that you follow. This will give your days structure and routine.
Be mindful that you might not be “involuntarily” exercising as much (at work/school there’s walking around, getting in and out of a chair, and so on).
You can also do any exercise slower, to increase your muscle time under tension. By doing this, muscles will work harder for longer.
How can I keep up my cardio at home?
Cardio is fairly simple. Anything that makes your heart rate go up is great. Go for a run, ride your bike, or create a cardio-based workout with exercises like squat jumps, short sprints, star jumps, skipping, boxing, mountain climbers… just keep moving.
I do a lot of lifting – how can I keep that up if I’m in self-isolation?
Even if you don’t have official weight-lifting equipment at home, there are no excuses. If you have a water bottle, you’ve got a weight. If you have a backpack, put something heavy in it. Grab some of that flour you panic-bought. There are so many weights in your house that you can use. You can even use the couch or your bed.
The only time I would say you would struggle with finding ‘weights’ is if you actually lift and squat like a pro. But even then, I’m sure for the time being you will be able to find something that would work as an alternative.
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Is it important for me to exercise outside? What if I can’t do that?
Personally, I believe it is. However, if you are unable to do so, make sure you are doing exercises safely and within your capabilities inside. Modify the exercises so that the movements don’t knock the TV off the shelf. Find an open space like the kitchen or the lounge if you have one. If you can’t go outside, try and have a few windows open to have sufficient airflow.
What are some of the best online fitness resources I can use?
There are so many free resources in terms of exercises that are quite freely available literally everywhere. Instagram is full of fitness people. There are some great quick and short videos focusing on specific areas of the body, complete body workouts and even warm-up and stretching guides. Grab a notepad and write down a list of exercises so you don’t have to keep checking the video. Use them as a guide and create your own workouts.
HIIT workouts are my favourite. Pick a handful of exercises, and after a warm-up, try doing the exercise for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second break. Continue this for the rest of the exercises and then repeat a set number of times. Always follow with a cool-down. Don’t forget to warm up and stretch after, as it prevents injury.