Note: The exercises and/or stretches in this blog are not intended to replace the advice of your clinician. Starting a new exercise, stretch, movement, or activity may result in some expected stiffness and soreness. If you are unsure, please speak to your clinician before attempting any of the suggestions below.
Looking for inspiration to help you get started on your fitness goals? It’s never too late. Here’s a friendly reminder that you don’t need fancy equipment to stay in shape. Keep reading to learn about five fun tips to help you stay active indoors.
1. Morning and night full-body stretching routine
Stretching is beneficial for everybody. When done in the morning, it can help relieve some of the tension that builds in your muscles while you sleep, and it prepares your mind and body for the rest of the day. With the increased amount of time we spend sitting in today’s world, certain muscles can become very tense. This can lead to poor posture and even injuries. Stretching at night can help alleviate the tension in these muscles, and can relax the body, setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, as it incorporates strength, balance, flexibility, and concentration. What is also great about yoga is that it’s for everyone – from beginners to the more experienced! Like stretching, yoga is great for reducing mental and physical stress throughout the body, making it beneficial to do any time of the day.
With so many different styles of yoga available to you, you’re able to select the kind of workout that is suitable for what your body needs on a particular day. This means you can really challenge your body while also keeping the workout enjoyable and fresh by trying new styles. You never know what you’ll like best until you try it out.
3. Resistance training workouts
Save the trip to the gym – you can add muscle in the comfort of your home! It’s a misconception that you need dumbbells and machines to have a successful workout. Bodyweight exercises can be very beneficial for improving strength and can be challenging for all fitness levels. Resistance training increases the strength of your muscles and bones, which can help improve posture and protect the body from injuries.
A full-body resistance training workout is optimal, as it strengthens all the body’s major muscle groups and requires more energy. This results in greater satisfaction post-workout. Resistance bands are a low-cost option that could be used in addition to bodyweight exercises, as they allow you to target specific muscle groups that may be difficult to hit with just your weight.
4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
If you have limited time to exercise, this could be a great option for you. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of exercise that targets the cardiovascular system and involves repeated short bouts of high-intensity efforts followed by varied recovery times. HIIT is very beneficial because it requires your body to utilize high amounts of energy in a short period of time; can help improve cardiovascular factors such as oxygen consumption, heart rate, and blood pressure; and, lastly, can even lead to improvements in muscular strength.
The exercise choices for HIIT workouts are almost endless, making it challenging and entertaining for any fitness level. It is important to note that this form of training can put a lot of strain on the body. If you do not have an appropriate fitness level, training at a high intensity too often can lead to injuries. Instead, less intense options to improve your cardiovascular fitness include walking around the house, doing stairs, or even a less intense form of circuit training. Learn more about HIIT.
Last on the list might be the most fun way to exercise - dancing! Dancing is another workout that not only targets the cardiovascular system, but helps to improve your balance, strength, and challenges your brain! Dancing is great for everyone because there are many different styles of dance that each place a different demand on the body. Or, you can pick your favourite songs and move however you want!
Some helpful suggestions
Try to do something every day to build a routine
It has been found that even doing a small amount of exercise has a much greater effect than doing nothing at all. Doing as little as 20-30 minutes of exercise a day can have great benefits on your health.
Pick activities you enjoy
It will be much easier to stick to a consistent routine if you’re having fun while doing it. Test these suggestions out and see which ones you like the most!
Start easy and progress as time goes on
If you’re new to physical activity, it is best to start with less challenging exercises until your body adapts to it. Over time, make the activities more difficult by increasing time, increasing the number of sets/reps, or choosing more difficult variations of the activities.
Invite your friends or family to join you
Invite your friends and family to exercise with you! This not only holds you both more accountable but also provides some friendly competition that can keep you motivated.
Whichever activities you choose to do; the most important thing is to make sure you’re safe while doing them.
When the weather is nice outside, try your best to do outdoor activities as well to get the benefits of the fresh air and vitamin D. If you would like more information on outdoor activities during the winter, check out our blog on 8 fun ways you can stay active this winter.
This blog was written by Jesse Schmid, a Physiotherapy student at Queen's University.