Get Active During Quarantine: Get Creative With Your Exercise
A proper diet and exercise routine are vital for anyone’s good health, and if you have been falling behind in this arena, don’t feel bad; many Americans lose focus on their new diets or workout routines, then figure out a new approach for health and fitness. After all, exercising often factors into people’s New Year’s resolutions, and around 80% of people wind up not keeping their New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t wait until January 1st, 2021 to get active about your health and fitness; feel free to start right now, and even if the local fitness center is closed, you can find all kinds of ways to burn calories and fat, and feel great about yourself. How might this be done?
Your Diet and Adjustments
When it comes to health and fitness, nothing can replace a proper diet, and eating right is a vital foundation for weight loss and exercise. But what does a good diet look like, and what might be some problems with your current diet? Take note that most fast foods and frozen processed foods are bad for you since they contain added sugars, fats, and oils to enhance the flavors and have a mild addictive effect. Many more fast-food chains have been built from the 1970s onward, and none of them represent a proper diet for healthy living. Instead, good health and fitness mean buying organic and natural foods from local grocers and farmer’s markets and preparing them at home. And if your favorite local restaurants are closed, then that is yet another reason to start cooking seriously in your kitchen.
Making fancy smoked fish or caviar might be too much for you, but it is OK. Good foods span the entire food pyramid, from whole grains to fresh fruits and vegetables to lean meat (chicken, fish, eggs) to milk, cheese, and yogurts. The sixth category is “other,” which is where most junk foods end up. Minimize your consumption of those while you are reforming your health and fitness habits. All of this good food takes time to cook, but this can be a lot of fun for you and the family, rather than a chore. Your partner, spouse, or children can help, and this can become a new family activity (and it’s important to teach children how to cook anyway). Healthy food is highly varied in ingredients and flavored, many of which are ethnic, and this can make for some fun and exciting recipes. You might even invent new recipes of your own.
Such healthy eating keeps your calorie intake at a proper level and maximizes your nutrition, but be sure you are doing this correctly, especially if you have particular food allergies or persistent health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc). Don’t be afraid to consult a nutritionist (such as on video chat) to review what is safe or not safe for you to eat, and you can adjust your grocery list and cook accordingly. Most likely, supplements will be factored into this, too; it’s possible to end up consuming too much calcium, for example.
Healthy Limits of Exercise
Statistics show that many American adults and youths alike are falling short of the CDC and American Heart Association’s guidelines for minimum exercise levels, but at the same time, be careful that you don’t overdo it, either. This is especially true if you have an ongoing health condition, or recently experienced a heart attack, surgery, an injury, or similar issues. If so, proper health and fitness means knowing your safe limits, and you can consult your doctor for an exercise tolerance test and a review of your medical history. Your physician, once they hear about your plans to get more active about health and fitness, should know some proper guidelines and recommend certain exercises (and how often to do them).
There are all kinds of exercises that you can do right there on your property, but is it safe to get out there and exercise in the great outdoors? If you are careful about it, then yes, you can. You probably will not end up going to the local gym to get on top of your health and fitness, but you can go camping, and a forest or lake will have more than enough room for proper social distancing. In fact, you might practically have the place to yourself, minimizing the risks of COVID-19 exposure. If you really are ill, then it is the right call to stay in your residence until you feel better, but otherwise, take your recreational vehicle or a pickup truck to a local campsite and have a good time.
You can even visit a vehicle rental company if you want to borrow a pontoon boat or a speed boat while visiting a lake, or you can ride on your ATV or mountain bike at local trails. Going outside, in general, is great for your health and fitness since sunlight exposure boosts your mood and improves your vitamin D production. It is believed that just 20 minutes of healthy sunlight can have a similar mood-boosting effect as many over-the-counter medications. Your mood will also be boosted by seeing all the greenery and nature around you and breathing in the fresh air.
As for proper exercise, the most exerting activities include going rock climbing and kayaking, which are popular among outdoor enthusiasts. Meanwhile, you can also consider going hiking or jogging, which can really get the heart pumping, and you can ride a bicycle on paved and unpaved trails for many miles (be sure to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle). Bicycle riding is widely recognized as excellent cardio, and this form of health and fitness can lower your risk of heart disease and strengthen your leg muscles in a low-impact activity (as opposed to running, for example). And yes, it is possible for you to try out bicycle rentals if you do not own a suitable bicycle, and you can find local bike rental companies online. During a long bike ride, you can relax your mind by getting away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and sort things out in your head. This can help you feel refreshed and focused when you get back home, a fine way to deal with quarantine blues.
Is golf a good idea? Perhaps, if your area has relatively few COVID-19 cases and you take some precautions. Be sure to practice social distancing with the other golfers, and wash your hands and bring hand wipes or sanitizer. Americans are slowly starting to resume their pre-pandemic activities, but don’t get carried away; diseases never go away, and you probably shouldn’t go golfing if you are ill. Otherwise, feel free to visit the golf course with friends, and you can get a little extra exercise done if you forgo the golf cart and walk to each ball, tee zone, and other locations yourself.
Exercise on Your Lawn
If you have a front and/or a back lawn, then you have a ready-made field for sports of all kinds. Your family, neighbors, and friends can have fun there and improve their health and fitness at the same time. While your backyard might not be a true substitute for the local park or a soccer field, it can come close, and some casual sports are actually designed with backyards in mind. And if your back yard is a large one, the sky is the limit.
If you have a backyard pool but haven’t gone swimming in it for a while, this is the perfect time for some pool maintenance to get that backyard feature back in good shape. Any backyard pool is a major investment, and some owners might end up taking their landscape features for granted. But you can change that: perform whatever pool maintenance you can on your own, such as fishing dead leaves out of the water or removing trash, then contact a pool repair company if you have more technical needs for your pool. Suppose some tiles broke loose, the plaster is shoddy, or the pool is empty? Professionals must be hired to handle this, and they can replace or repair just about anything (and fill the pool with water). It is mid-May, as of this writing, and ideal pool weather is coming close. Why not invite a few friends and family to a pool party?
Even if human beings are not marine species, we have long since learned how to swim, and this is a great form of exercise. Like bicycle riding, swimming is a low-impact activity, since the water will buoy your body the whole time. All kinds of swimming techniques can be practiced in your pool, and this will work out muscles in your body from head to toe. Even a small pool is suitable for this, along with any kind of pool games or sports you and your friends and family like to play. That pool of yours can be a home gym and a play zone at the same time.
Of course, be sure to keep your pool in good shape once you get it refurbished, such as remembering to extend the pool’s screen to prevent evaporation and keeping dead leaves or wildlife out of the water.
If you don’t have a pool, your lawn can host all kinds of other exercise activities instead, such as playing pickleball. This casual sport is a variation of tennis, and it is popular among children and the elderly, though anyone can play it. If you have some pickleball equipment, or a friend provides some, get everyone active and host a few friendly games right there in your yard. Having prizes for the winning team is optional, but the main focus is to keep everyone moving and teach good sportsmanship to kids. If your lawn is big enough, you can play a casual game of soccer, which requires little equipment aside from a soccer ball and clearly marked goal zones. Soccer is often considered the world’s favorite sport, and not without reason. It involves constant movement, so you are getting a great workout whether or not your team is scoring big. Win or lose, you will burn all kinds of calories and feel great about it afterward.
Other Home Workouts
In addition to the above exercise ideas (or maybe in place of them), you can try some exercise methods that don’t require soccer balls or pickleball gear. For example, you can perform push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, air swimming, tricep dips, and more in any room, without needing any special equipment at all. If you have dumbbells or are willing to go buy some, you can start lifting those and perform curls, dumbbell cleans, bent-over rows, one-arm swings, and many more. Online exercise guides can show you how to perform a wide variety of exercises with just the use of dumbbells, and you might be surprised by how many different muscle groups can be engaged like this. None of these exercises call for huge barbells or special gear like that (which you might not have room for anyway). You can work out practically any muscle group from head to toe this way.
Doing these exercises is vital for your health and fitness, but so is consistency. A common strategy is to get a workout partner, meaning you and that partner can remind each other to stick with the program and motivate each other regularly. A partner can also help you keep track of your progress and take notes on your posture while you perform exercises, and you can do the same thing for them. Doing exercises with the wrong posture can lead to problems, so a friend can help you diagnose any issues quickly. As for tracking progress, use a spreadsheet, paper, or dry erase board to log your accomplishments. You will feel great when you see all those completed workouts written down, and you can create a reward program for certain milestones, such as one month of consistent working out or completing 1,000 pushups over the days. This can motivate you even more, and help maintain discipline and consistency. Working out isn’t just about the calorie burning and weights; it’s about routine and patterns, and it’s like a job in that sense. And, of course, be sure to properly hydrate after a workout, either with sports drinks or plain water.
In short, even if you cannot join a sports club or go to the fitness center right now, you don’t have to resign yourself to the couch potato life. All kinds of new diet ideas, indoor workouts, and outdoor casual sports can keep you, your friends and your family moving and feeling good about it. Besides, exercise also regulates your mood and improves sleep, which are fine bonuses for anyone.