How to set up your home-based exercise program for success.
At various times this year, the coronavirus pandemic caused exercise venues to shut down for extended periods – from baseball fields to swimming pools, yoga studios and fitness centres. However, that situation effectively gave new breath to the home workout as a viable alternative. While many would agree it doesn’t offer the same experience, there are advantages to an at-home fitness regime that can deliver the same desirable results. If you’re interested in working out at home, here are some ideas to get and keep you moving.
Give yourself some space
Where possible, designate an area where you can move freely enough to accommodate your workout activity without disrupting other members of your household. That said, consider this an opportunity to get other family members or cohabitants on board. Tell them what you’re aiming to accomplish and invite them to join you. Working out together can be more fun and add some extra inspiration.
Choose your equipment
What kind of exercise do you prefer? The choices are limitless, but any activity will likely require some equipment. Simple stretching, yoga or Pilates doesn’t require much more than a mat, but be prepared to fork over some cash if you want to add a stationary bike, a treadmill or a collection of free weights or other apparatus. Local classified ads are a great place to shop for used equipment if you’re unsure your preference for a particular type of exercise will endure.
Training’s gone high-tech
The routines based on lifting soup cans and running up and down the basement steps have been sidelined in favour of a technology-assisted approach to getting fit. Consider these digital options:
- A wide assortment of virtual reality programs and games are designed with a specific focus on fitness. Try your hand at virtual fencing or boxing or download dance workouts that immerse you in a simulated environment that responds to your physical movements.
- Online and interactive spinning (bike) and treadmill classes and web-based workout videos geared to any fitness level are available any time with a click or two.
- Smartphones and tablets are convenient for finding a variety of workout apps that suit your style and needs. Some can even track each detail of your daily activity and nutritional behaviour and chart your progress over time.
Set your goals
This is the easy part. Envision achieving even the smallest of goals. If you want to lose weight, be more active, strengthen and tone muscle, build stamina, or simply feel healthier, exercise in just about any form will eventually deliver the results you want. But knowing what you’re aiming for is key to success.
Alternate and stay the course
Being satisfied with your fitness effort largely depends on recognizing that it takes time. Every workout is another step towards achieving your goals. To stay motivated, try stepping out of your comfort zone to keep things fresh – you might even discover a passion for something new. Don’t be afraid to alternate between high- and low-intensity workouts to check all the boxes that contribute to good health.
Track your progress
Wearable technology, such as smart watches and fitness trackers, can display your heart rate, count your daily walking strides and even monitor your sleep patterns to help you evaluate how to maximize your rest. Some apps specialize in specific activities, such as tracking running, walking and cycling distances, while others ask you to fill in the details associated with each individual workout. Do some research online and talk to friends or trainers for their suggestions. Give some thought to apps that connect you with other users so you can exchange tips and message one another to stay motivated.
It isn’t always easy to see results, but they’ll be much more noticeable if you take the time to monitor and log your progress.
Mind your mental wellness
Your mind is involved in everything you do, including exercising, eating right and managing stress, so strengthening your mental fitness is just as important as being physically fit. If you're not happy or motivated about exercising, it will be harder to achieve your goals. Not every workout session has to involve working up a sweat and racing for the finish line. Spending time being creative, gardening, birdwatching, hiking, meditating or listening to music can do a lot to lift your spirits and improve your mood. There’s just as much satisfaction to be gained in attaining a healthy state of mind as there is in being physically content.
A final tip: Finding the will to work out regularly at home can take real determination, but in a way, it’s a lot like striving to achieve your financial goals; after you get started, it gets easier to keep going. Remember to go at your own pace – and don’t forget to celebrate every new level of achievement.
© 2020 Manulife. The persons and situations depicted are fictional and their resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. This media is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific financial, tax, legal, accounting or other advice and should not be relied upon in that regard. Many of the issues discussed will vary by province. Individuals should seek the advice of professionals to ensure that any action taken with respect to this information is appropriate to their specific situation. www.manulife.ca/accessibility