Illustration by Sarah Yu of a woman doing cardio in quarantine
Just because you can't go to the gym doesn't mean you can't get a workout in. (Illustration by Sarah Yu, Duke University)

3 Ways for Anyone to Stay Active During Quarantine

Regardless of your skill level or how in shape you are, there’s a few ways to exercise your body while under lockdown.

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Illustration by Sarah Yu of a woman doing cardio in quarantine

Regardless of your skill level or how in shape you are, there’s a few ways to exercise your body while under lockdown.

Ah, quarantine. The frustrating constant in all of our lives right now. Not able to see friends or extended family, go to school or even sit in a restaurant to eat, we are ordered to stay home with little social contact.

People are getting sick left and right, making us paranoid that we’ll be the next one to end up in the hospital or, even worse, bring it home to someone vulnerable. It’s a whole new world out there and we are caught in its jaws, smack dab in the middle of an event that will definitely be in our future children’s history textbooks.

With everything that’s going on, and the turmoil and anxiety that is filling all of our lives, it’s important to practice healthy habits and self-care routines. One of the ways in which we all can do that is by staying active. As most of us have heard time and time again, exercise is important not only for our physical health but our mental health as well.

Especially during a time where we are largely not in control, exercising can be a great way to take a little bit of control back into our lives. Plus, I don’t know about you but I’m finding myself sitting all day and eating a lot more than normal, which makes my body feel less than ideal.

The good news is that since I’ve started noticing this, I’ve been careful to only eat as much as I need and exercise every couple days. This has made me feel at least a little bit better about the current situation we’re all in and about my health. So, in hopes that this will help you as well, here are 3 ways to stay active during quarantine.

1. Get Your “Ommm” On

Yoga isn’t just a way to relax, but a way to get your body moving as well. Especially on days where you might be a little more tired or stressed out (or maybe even sore from one of your other workouts), yoga can be a great release for every level of yogi. Make sure to follow some of these really great YouTube accounts (this one is my favorite) since yoga is one of those types of exercise that is hard to just pick on your own.

The nice thing I find about yoga is it’s a great way to actively recover on rest days from my other more intense workouts and I can choose different levels of difficulty based on what I’m feeling that day.

If I’m practicing yoga in the morning, I might choose a gentler flow to start my day so I can stretch out my muscles and feel productive. If it’s the afternoon, I might choose a harder difficulty so that I actually feel like I’m getting a workout in and pushing my body. Either way, I’m able to move my body and feel more in control of what’s going on around me.

This is, in part, because yoga quiets my brain. The yoga practice of connecting breath to certain poses and flow sequences really helps me to hone in on my body and what it’s feeling. By the time I end my session I feel more connected and grounded in my body, and more ready to take on the rest of my day.

2. Crank It Up with Some HIIT

Yoga not your style? Looking for something a little more intense during your quarantine? Well you’ve come to the right place because HIIT is your home-workout soulmate. Unlike yoga, which is fluid and grounded, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is fast, heart-pounding and (you guessed it) intense. It also doesn’t require any equipment, except for a stopwatch or HIIT timer, making it easy to do at your house.

What makes it so intense, you may ask? Well HIIT is set up in a way that you work out at your highest intensity for a short period of time and then rest for an even shorter period of time in between.

For example, Tabata is a style of HIIT that includes 20 seconds of working out with 10 seconds resting in between each workout. If you do this on-again, off-again workout for 20 minutes, you’ve kicked some serious butt and can spend the rest of your day knowing you worked hard.

You can incorporate any kind of exercise into HIIT, with body weight exercises (like push-ups, squats and tricep dips) being particularly easy and effective. There are also some videos you can watch if you don’t know what to do (I like ones like this). So, if HIIT sounds like something you’d like to do, it might be worth a try (and maybe ask your doctor if this is okay for you to do, if you’re not sure).

3. Walking, Running and Hiking (Oh My!)

Not interested in yoga or HIIT? Well another easy home workout is going on a nice walk, run or hike in your neighborhood. I know I’ve seen more people walking and running outside than ever before and there’s no guessing as to why. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to stay active during this pandemic.

Since all gyms are closed due to quarantine and many people aren’t leaving their homes as much, taking a leisurely walk around the block or running a few miles is a great way to get out of the house, get some fresh air and move your body all in one. It’s like a BOGO sale but for your health.

If a nature reserve is open near your house, hiking is another great way to hit all these points, which is great for anyone who loves to connect with the earth. So, if all else fails, put on some tennis shoes and hit the pavement. You feel more refreshed than when you left.

Overall, there’s a type of home workout activity that suits everyone in quarantine. From low-intensity workouts such as walking, hiking or yoga to higher intensities such as HIIT or long-distance running, everyone can find a type of activity that fits them and their lifestyles. Hopefully, we’ll leave this quarantine feeling a little less crazy than if we hadn’t been active.

Writer Profile

Kali Johnson

Gustavus Adolphus College
Exercise Physiology

My name is Kali and I’m from White Bear Lake, MN. I attend Gustavus Adolphus College as an exercise physiology major and I work part-time as a gymnastics coach.

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