10 Indoor Workouts for the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Walk 10,000 steps around your house
- Follow along to YouTube videos
- High intensity jump rope circuit
- Participate in a plank challenge
- Do body weight exercises
- Throw a dance party
- Play active games with the family
- Take chores to the next level
- Organize an obstacle course
- Invest in virtual running or cycling
You could be stuck inside for a number of reasons – it’s winter and there’s a ton of snow on the ground, your kid is at home for a holiday from school, maybe aliens have taken over our planet, or as is the case recently, you are ordered to a shelter-at-home due to a wide-spreading virus.
Whatever it may be, it’s good to know how to reach your fitness goals from the comfort of your own home. That’s where these indoor workout ideas come into play.
#1: Walk 10,000 Steps
Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle. We sit on our keesters all day at work, and then come home to plop down on the couch and watch Netflix. A 2011 study, however, found that you should get in at least 10,000 steps every single day.
It might seem like a tall order, but you don’t have to climb a mountain to make this happen. Try doing any of the following:
- Take a few laps around your kitchen table while waiting for your food to heat up.
- Go up the stairs an extra time whenever you have to go upstairs.
- Pace while bingeing your favorite TV show.
- Walk around as you brush your teeth in the morning and evening.
- Are you working at home? Set a reminder to get up for a 5-minute walk once every hour.
- Park farther away when you go to the grocery store.
- If the weather is nice, go for a stroll around the block.
Walking is good for your heart, and it also strengthens your bones, burns fat, and tightens your glutes, quads, and calves. Just put one foot in front of the other, and keep track of your progress with an app, Fitbit, or some other pedometer.
#2: Follow Along to YouTube Videos
YouTube is full of free fitness videos that range from 10-minute burners to all out, high-intensity sweat sessions.
Roll out a yoga mat (you can get them for as low as $5) and search for whatever area of fitness you want to focus on– cardio, core, strength training, you name it. You can put that video on your TV or tablet and get in some incredible exercises without having to pay a penny for personal training or a gym membership.
#3: High Intensity Jump Rope Circuit
High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a serious buzzword in the world of fitness. You can reap all of the benefits of this type of training, all without leaving your living room!
Grab a jump rope and do the following routine:
1 minute of jumping
30 seconds of push-ups
1 minute of backward jumping
30 seconds of tricep chair dips
1 minute of skip jumping (high knees)
30 seconds of squats
30 seconds jumping on the left leg
30 seconds of mountain climbers
30 seconds jumping on the right leg
30 seconds of bicycle crunches
1 minute butt kick jumping
30 seconds of flutter kicks (laying on your back, lifting your neck, and fluttering your legs to work on your abs)
When all is said and done, this routine will take you only 8 minutes to complete. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can go through it a second time for better results.
#4: Participate in a Plank Challenge
Are your friends and family stuck at home, too? Try and get everyone involved in a plank challenge!
Here’s how it works: On day one, you’ll all do a 10 second plank. Day two, you’ll increase by another 10 seconds and so on. By the end of the week, you’ll be going over a minute!
Consider Skyping or FaceTiming while doing your planks. To make it more interesting, agree that you’ll all plank in the most creative places possible, like on your kitchen table or next to your cat. Everyone will enjoy the challenge, and you’ll get a few laughs while getting into shape.
#5: Do Body Weight Exercises
Do you have a body? Great! That’s all you need to get in a great workout! You’ll get toned from your shoulders all the way down to your calves.
Body weight exercises include all of the following:
- Mountain climbers
- High knees
- Jumping jacks
- Side planks
- Wall sits
- Calf raises
- Tricep dips
- Arm circles
- Flutter kicks
- Bicycle crunches
Complete 5 to 10 reps of at least 3 items listed above. Body weight exercises are awesome because they’re free, and are proven to improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. Keep a water bottle and towel nearby and get to sweating!
#6: Throw a Dance Party
You’re stuck in the house, but why should it be boring? Crank up the music and throw an impromptu dance party. As long as you’re moving, you’re burning calories!
If you’re a great dancer, have some fun and freestyle to a few songs. If you have about as much rhythm as a grapefruit, stick with traditional wedding songs that tell you how to move – you know, the Electric Slide, the Cha Cha Slide, and the Wobble. You can also look up routines on YouTube and follow along. No need to feel silly – just go for it!
#7: Play Active Games with the Family
Your kids are probably going insane being cooped up all day. Get them involved in some fun games that get everybody moving.
Charades, hide-n-seek, volleyball with a balloon… these are all active games you can play with your entire family. You can also stick with fun outdoor activities like frisbee or traditional sports like baseball, football, soccer, and basketball if the weather is nice enough.
Pick a new game or activity each day and play together after dinner. You’re getting in a workout, and bonding with your loved ones at the same time. What can be better?
#8: Take Chores to the Next Level
That laundry and those dishes you’ve been ignoring are actually exercises in disguise. You can get a great workout simply doing basic household chores.
As you’re switching your laundry from the washer to the dryer, do 5 squats first. Close the dryer and do 5 more squats. You can also take extra trips when you’re putting your laundry away – grab the towels and put them away, grab your kid’s clothes, and put those away, and so on.
While you’re washing the dishes, perform 10 to 20 calf raises. You can then get in some extra steps in your kitchen while drying. Simply grab a dish, get it nice and dry, and put it away. Do one at a time for the most steps.
The vacuum cleaner can easily become a step machine! Get every carpeted area in the house and you can burn as much as 90 calories! You’ll also feel it in your arms as you’re pulling the machine back and forth.
Sweeping & Mopping
Pull your abs in nice and tight while you’re sweeping and mopping your hardwood floors and tiled areas. You can burn well over 200 calories while doing this task, and like vacuuming, work your arms in the process.
The garden is an incredible outdoor gym! Between mowing, raking, pruning, and planting, you’re getting a total body workout! Set aside at least 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week if the weather allows.
#9: Organize an Obstacle Course
The show American Ninja Warrior should be your inspiration! Turn your house into an obstacle course, and complete each obstacle. You should work on targeting all areas of your body – arms, legs, and abs, while at the same time making sure there’s some cardio in there.
You don’t have to necessarily go outside in order to make this happen. Your stairs are a great way to get in cardio, while heavy tote bags can be used to do bicep curls. Be creative!
#10: Invest in Virtual Running or Cycling
If money allows, you can also consider getting a stationary bike or some kind of turbo trainer, treadmill, or roller that you can use at home. From there, you can download virtual running and cycling apps like Zwift, Peloton Digital, or Nike+Run Club. These apps allow you to do your workout right at home, all while pretending like you’re in the great outdoors.
Virtual workouts have had a moment lately and these apps are rising in popularity. They are definitely worth it! Zwift, which has been making a ton of waves lately, is completely free to download, so as long as you have the equipment, you’re good to go! You can enjoy scenic views of the Swiss Alps, London, and New York without leaving your living room.
How to Start Running for the First Time
If possible, you can also lace up your shoes and go outside for a run. Yes, you can still do this if it’s raining or cold. Just add a few extra layers and hit the trails!
Here are the most important tips for first-time runners:
- Wear the right pair of shoes – You want to make sure they have the right traction and support your ankles.
- Switch between running and walking – Newbies should pace themselves and run a little and walk a little.
- Keep your fists unclenched – Open palms will make you feel more relaxed and less tense while you’re moving.
- Stand up straight – Pretend like you’re a puppet and someone’s pulling a string from the top of your head.
- Chew gum – If your mouth tends to get dry, you can pop in a piece of gum.
- Make a good playlist – Choose songs that pump you up, and to keep things interesting, rotate the songs every week.
- Cool down – After your run, be sure to walk another five minutes and do some static stretching.
These tips will help you get started! Remember, you don’t have to go mile after mile when you’re first getting started. Pace yourself and start nice and slow. Eventually, you’ll be able to go for longer distances without needing to stop for a break.
You never know when you’re going to be confined to your house, whether it’s because it’s a rainy day or because of something out of your control like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was this year. In some situations, you simply can’t go to the gym or a fitness class.
Don’t use that as an excuse not to be active! You just need a plan B. So be creative and try any of the ideas above to kick your butt into gear and get into shape!
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Shilton, A. (2017, December 6). 7 Jump Rope Workouts to Blast Fat and Get Fit. Retrieved from, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jump-rope-workouts_n_6679494
Bona. (2018, February 19). 5 Benefits of Bodyweight Training. Retrieved from, https://www.bona.co.za/5-benefits-of-bodyweight-training/
Shape Magazine. Spring Cleaning: How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing Chores? Retrieved from, https://www.shape.com/weight-loss/tips-plans/spring-cleaning-how-many-calories-do-you-burn-doing-chores