Staying active is vitally important to your health. The current recommendation is to exercise and get your heart pumping for at least 150 minutes per week. This can help strengthen your immune system and ward off diseases and infections.
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Photo Credits: Stephanie Smallwood and Mairi Gerow
During March 2020, I have been celebrating Nutrition Month with blog articles on food topics. I posted about Eating while Taking Tamoxifen, Dietary Fiber and Foods that Boost Immunity. We are still in March, but I wanted to take a break from nutrition topics to chat about the importance of exercise.
I know many of you are on Shelter In Place orders right now. Being restricted to your home doesn’t mean you should not exercise. Exercise is equally important to your health as eating healthy whole foods is.
Let’s explore some ideas on how to keep moving and workout at home.
Yoga is a great way to exercise, limber up your body, relax your mind and boost immunity. Numerous scientific studies support yoga as an activity that can help reduce stress and lower risks for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Anyone can do yoga. It doesn’t matter if you are flexible or not. I am certainly not flexible. I run and that tightens up muscles and reduces flexibility. It is important for runners to be aware that tight muscles and lower flexibility can lead to injury. We need to do some cross-training activities that will improve flexibility. Yoga is one of the recommended techniques to help runners. Let me tell you one of my stories about this.
A little story about yoga and running
I was developing a knee issue when I was training for my marathon in 2019. I saw my doctor and my chiropractor about it. What was happening was my quads and hamstrings were tighter from the extra distances. As I ran, the tight muscles were pulling on my knee ligament and causing inflammation of my tibial tuberosity, where the ligament attaches.
I stretched and rolled, went for chiro treatments and deep tissue massage. None of these things were helping. Then I read an article about benefits of yoga for runners. I started practicing a basic yoga routine. And my knee got better.
Ideas for Yoga at Home
I have a basic yoga DVD that I love to do at home. But there are some great online videos that you can stream.
Check these YouTube yoga channels out…
Body Weight Exercises
Strengthening muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones are important for your overall health too. Strength conditioning has been shown to boost immunity, help battle cancer, prevent osteoporosis and help prevent injury for other sports, including running.
When you can’t go to the gym and if you don’t have the equipment at home, you can still do strength conditioning workouts at home. Body weight exercises are a fantastic way to build strength. Many trainers, body builders, and kinesiologist recommend them even when you can go to a gym.
When the experts talk about 150 minutes per week of exercise, what they are really talking about is cardio exercise. These are activities that get your heart rate up, your blood pumping and your breathing faster. These are key activities that keep you healthy and help prevent disease.
Doing cardio activities at home can be tremendous fun. The rest of my article here are all activities that get your heart pumping and classify as cardio. Let’s get started.
Check out these great cardio workouts
If you want to do some cardio that feels like you had a workout, both mentally and physically, then check these out.
A Fun Walking Workout For Beginners by Lo Paige Fit
Workouts by POPSUGAR Fitness for all levels
Just walking inside and around your house can be a great cardio activity. But just walking around indoors can be rather boring. If you can continue to go for walks outside, even just around your neighborhood even better.
Walking outside allows you to breathe in fresh air and get some sunshine. Walking in nature, in among trees, has been shown to have added immune boosting health benefits. A walk by yourself can allow time for self reflection and stress reduction. A solo walk can be great for both body and mind.
But, if you are stuck indoors, there are also fun walking workouts that you can do to pass the time. Check these out.
Walk at Home Workouts by Leslie Sansone
Not everyone has a stair climber or elliptical machine. But if you do, that is a fantastic workout.
If you are house bound but have some stairs to climb, that’s perfect. Climbing stairs is both a cardio and leg strength workout. Focusing on taking each step at a time can help with boredom of just pacing back and forth indoors too.
A stepper workout can be a fun cardio exercise.
Go ahead, crank up the tunes and just dance. Dancing is a fantastic cardio workout.
Don’t know how to dance? Well check these tutorials out for some fun dance moves. When you can be with your friends again, you are sure to impress them with your moves.
Beginner Dance Tutorials
Dance can be a fun workout too. Zumba and Dancercise are some fabulous workouts that will definitely get your heart rate up. Try these…
10 Minute Dancercise for Beginners with Madhuri Dixit
House Cleaning & De-cluttering
Wait! What? Why is house cleaning on this list?
Well, house cleaning can actually be a great cardio and strength workout. Think about it. You are lifting things, such as boxes or furniture. You are pushing things, such as vacuums and mops. Reaching, bending, stretching and squatting are some other good moves your body does when you house clean and de-clutter.
Decluttering and cleaning really is a fantastic and productive way to exercise. Just remember to take breaks and don’t over do it. You can get injured and too tired by doing too much at once. It is important to pace yourself. That is why I developed a house decluttering plan template to help you out.
You can download this free template in the Pink Ribbon Runner Template Library, which is an exclusive benefit for my email subscribers. There are many benefits for joining my email list. Check it out by clicking here.
Games that Keep You Active
Not interested in any of these solo workouts? Want something even more fun? Sheltering in place with a family member?
Check out this list of games that keep you active. And yes, even adults can have fun playing hide & seek and having pillow fights. These aren’t just for kids.
Try these fun cardio activities with a family member that you are sheltering in place with.
Dust off that old game console and play one of the games that get you up off the couch.
Twister is a great game for stretching and strength exercises.
Set up the kitchen chairs, crank some tunes and have some fun. Reminisce your childhood with this fun game that even adults can play. Incorporate it with some of the dance moves you learned from above.
The Floor Is Lava
Adults can play The Floor Is Lava game. It will get you moving as you move from stepping stone to stepping stone.
Plastic Bottle Bowling
Do you have some empty plastic bottles laying around? Set them up to play 5 pin bowling in a hallway. Use a soft ball or wadded up newspaper ball to knock them down.
Charades can get quite physical. You need to act out the clues for your team mates to guess the word or phrase. It can be a workout.
Take your softest pillows and go to town. This is a great workout for both strength and cardio. Just be careful not to go overboard with this, or you may find you are doing some of that housecleaning that I mentioned already.
Need other ideas? Subscribe to Pink Ribbon Runner and download my free printable Indoor Activities Checklist in the Template Library.
Being active indoors is possible and doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. With a little imagination, staying healthy and active can be fun.