The coronavirus has struck globally, leaving many in Singapore and overseas rightly cautious about going outside. With quarantine orders and tons of physical distancing measures well underway, you might be feeling lethargic and listless at being stuck in the confines of home. Having restricted access to public facilities like gyms, exercise parks or even the general outdoors where sports can be played means you could be moving very little throughout the day.
Whether you have to stay at home (and demonstrate social responsibility!) because you are unwell, or would just like to be a little more cautious and avoid non-essential trips outside to minimize exposure, there is still a variety of activities you can do to keep active and healthy in this time of great uncertainty.
- A little open space, preferably with good ventilation (you might sweat, a lot!).
- An exercise or yoga mat, if you own one. If not, a large towel is also an option.
- Water bottle.
- Comfortable workout gear.
- Energy to kickstart exercise!
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which are sets of intense cardio, strength exercises, and recovery periods in between so you can last for longer. The key to performing HIIT exercises is that you give it your maximum effort in the exercise periods, making it an effective and efficient workout within a shorter amount of time. HIIT exercises can target both cardio and strength areas, so it is a good all-rounder to break a sweat even at home.
The exercises can also be adjusted to varying fitness levels, so beginners don’t need to worry that they cannot keep up, and experts can go as fast and hard as they would like.
Suggested routine [Adapted from Shape.com]:
Do each exercise for 1 minute, with 30 seconds resting time in between.
Repeat the set 4 times for an effective 30-40 minute workout.
Hand Release Pushups
Starting from a normal push-up position, lower your body all the way down to the floor. Lift your hands off the ground for a second, then exhale while you press your body all the way back up. For a less intense movement, drop your knees to the floor before doing the push-up.
This is a little harder to explain, so the video linked below will demonstrate how to do a correct burpee.
This strengthens your core. Sit upright on the floor and clasp your hands to your chest. With your feet on the floor, twist from left to right, trying to rock your entire body, but using your core. For advanced level, you may amp it up with a weight in your hands (no need for dumbbells, but a 500ml / one-litre filled water bottle), and lift your feet about 30 degrees off the floor.
Superman with Lateral Raise
Lying on your stomach, lift your legs and arms off the floor, arms reaching straight in front of you. Squeeze your back and glutes to keep your legs up. Pull your elbows down to your waist, return to starting pose, and repeat.
Start in a high plank position, with arms straightened and shoulders positioned over your wrists. Then lift each knee alternately into your chest, as if you were running on the spot while upright. This engages your core, so try to keep your butt down, levelling your body into more of a straight line than a mountain shape when moving.
For this movement, simply sink into your normal squats, with knees over your toes and making sure that your back is not arched (careful, as you may injure it that way!). As you come up, do a small jump before you sink into the next squat, ensuring that your knees bend when you land so that the impact does not jam into your joints.
Lie on your back with hands behind your head, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Lift one leg into the air while the other hovers parallel to the floor, not touching the floor (advanced) or just leave this other leg on the floor (easy). Alternate between legs.
The name of a popular exercise Youtube channel created by fitness instructor Cassey Ho is called Blogilates, a play on the word pilates. She calls her style of exercise ‘POP Pilates’, which combines pop music together with classic Pilates routines. Blogilates is very easy to follow along, and is even fun, with Cassey herself doing the workout alongside you and yelling encouragements on the way. It is body conditioning and body weight movements that target certain areas, such as tummy or thighs, but there are also whole-body or general weight loss options to pick from.
It is similar to HIIT, but following these videos saves you the trouble of creating your own routine, simulate the feel of having your own instructor, and learn new exercise routines that target particular areas.
Below is an example of a Blogilates workout:
With origins in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain practices, this discipline is now a modern form of exercise that works on flexibility, core, and stability.
It may seem intimidating for beginners with the different types of yoga videos available online, as well as all the different terms within the practice. But it is a great exercise to start with at home since it does not require much space, and you can try out a couple of sequences alone, without worrying about how well you are doing. Some people also find yoga to be relaxing and meditative, and a long-term yoga practice is also a spiritual practice. You can use this as a chance to start the morning on a calm note or end off a busy work/study-at-home day with some restoration and relaxation.
You can check out a popular yoga Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene, known for her soothing instructional style and uplifting messages through each video. Try a 20-minute complete beginner video here:
What are some other ways you like to keep active at home? Let us know in the comments below!