Safe and Creative Exercise During Times of Uncertainty

Woman exercise in park

One thing is for certain as we look back at 2020 and the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions that continue to challenge us: adaptation and creativity are important.

While we don’t know what the coming months in this pandemic will look like, we can control how we respond and manage our personal health. For example, we can decide to work on stress prevention, nourish our bodies and stay physically active.

For the purposes of this post, we will look at physical activity. Exercise might have seemed harder to prioritize in 2020 with gyms shut down across the country and social distancing guidelines. Changing routines may have also made it harder to stay motivated. But, although some of these factors will continue to challenge us in 2021, there are creative ways you can incorporate exercise into your life while still being safe.

Exercise Tips in 2021

Explore Group Exercise Streaming Classes

If you like group exercise but plan to stay socially distant, consider group exercise streaming classes. Many gyms are now offering them, but you can also find them using online streaming platforms such as YouTube. Goop offers a few suggestions. With streaming, you can participate in group workouts doing yoga, aerobics, HIIT, stretching and more. The real-time nature of the workout and guidance from an instructor can help you stay motivated and accountable.

Leave Your House to Get Outside

Cabin fever has become all too familiar! Get out of the house and get exercise at the same time by exploring your natural surroundings. In 2021, commit to exploring new parks, nature trails, bodies of water and outdoor locations. Try walking, jogging, biking, skating, kayaking, canoeing – the sky is the limit! These ideas require little to no exercise equipment and have beneficial effects on your mental health. Just remember to follow COVID-19 safety recommendations when out in public, even in outdoor spaces.

Safely Returning to the Gym

Some gyms are starting to open up and you might find yourself wanting to go. Consider these tips for using the gym safely:

  • Continue to practical social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between workout stations and other gym-goers.
  • Continue to wear a mask and wash your hands before and after your workout.
  • If the gym appears crowded, do not enter.
  • Bring your own equipment such as mats, dumbbells and bands.
  • Bring your own water bottle and sweat towel.
  • Clean any gym equipment before and after each use.

Accommodate Exercise in Your Home

A home workout is truly the safest and often the most convenient option when pressed for time. You can make space in your home by designating a room, porch, or any open area for movement. You also don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to get started. Some simple pieces of equipment are a basic set of dumbbells (5, 8, 10 lbs. to start), a yoga mat, resistance bands, a jump rope, a kettlebell and a pull-up bar. You can also just use your own body weight and look to guided workout apps or videos to help you along.

Here are some more outside-the-box exercise tips:

  • Hop on a video call with a friend or loved one to work out together.
  • Commit to an outdoor project such as building a garden or landscaping.
  • Take your dog on more walks this year. Fido will love it!
  • Try active video games that let you do virtual bowling, golfing, dancing, etc.
  • Try more exercises that help your mental health.

Truly, the best way to stay active is to make physical activity a habit and part of your lifestyle. It should not feel like a chore or a punishment, but a chance to do something positive for your well-being. Stay safe, practice the guidelines and get creative!

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