With gyms being closed in Ontario for at least the next month, many people are worried that their mental, and physical health, will take a hit. Good news is, you don’t need a gym to get in a workout, particularly with the warmer weather.
In fact, spending your time outside doing these activities will likely result in greater mental and physical health benefits, all while minimizing your chances of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
Here are a few suggestions I’ve prepared that require little to no expense or equipment to help you out so you won’t miss the gym and in the process, problably save some money as well.
- Cycling. This is the most expensive option but a terrific workout. Not only can cycling be a good cardio workout, it obviously works out a lot of leg muscles, particularly your quads and hamstrings in the upper leg, and the gastrocnemius and soleus in the calf. However, lots of cycling also tones your arms too!
- Running. This is a no brainer, and honestly, not that exciting. That being said, you have lots of options here. You can do distance running, or you could do some HIIT runs. There are plenty of resources on the web to help with these.
- Jump rope. They are cheap. You can get a pretty good jump rope for under $20 on amazon. Not only is skipping an incredibly good cardio workout (10 mins of skipping = 30 mins of running), it works on a variety of leg, arm, and core muscles. As an added bonus, it also helps straighten out your spine. There are also tons of variation you can do to work out different areas and some great HIIT workouts. To read more about the benefits, check this out.
- Elastic resistance band. Again, these are pretty cheap, and the possibilities are pretty endless. You can use a physio band to workout pretty well any part of your body. Moreover, research shows that engaging in elastic band resistance training improves balance, gait function and flexibility and may induce greater neuromuscular fatigue than exercises with isometric contractions.
- Jugs of water. This one might seem silly, but it’s just one of the many things from around the house or grocery store you can use to workout. A 10L jug of water that costs under 2 bucks at the grocery store weights 22lbs. Get two of those, and you effectively a couple of 22lbs dumbbells to use to workout. Also, given they are larger, you’ll have a slightly different workout than dumbbels and increase strengthening. Water jugs are also great for Shrugs if you want to build up your traps. Point being – there are plenty of household items that have weight that you can use to workout (including stumps of wood). You just need to be a bit creative.
- Yoga/Pilates, etc. Some people that are used to some serious lifting at the gym might not be a fan of yoga, but give it a try. Personally, I have never really liked it, but I am giving it a try in order to push myself and try something new. The data is pretty compelling that it helps with physical and mental health, including bone strength. You can read the benefits here. Just be careful to not do any stretches that may stress a lingering injury area.
- Outdoor gyms. There are quite a few around cities in Canada, and I highly recommend giving them a try. Just make sure you bring gloves, and sanitize the polls if you want to be careful.
An added benefit of all of these exercises is they improve your conditioning for every day activity as well, so sure, you might not bulk up to the same degree as you can in a gym, but you can stay incredibly fit, and actually feel like you’re in better shape doing these.
Another aspect that I understand about gyms is it’s a way to socialize. Good news is, even with the stay at home order, the legal outdoor gathering limit is 5 people, and all of the above mentioned activities could be done in groups of 5 or less.
Good luck out there and stay healthy!