Reviewed by: Joie Flees, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. MDT, and Justin Nykiel, DPT, PT, MS
Written by: Lauryn Feil
We all know there are countless benefits to fitting exercise into your daily routine, and now more than ever, we have a great reason to stay active. Working out contributes to good mental and physical health and can help you maintain a sturdy immune system. But if you’re used to hitting the gym, running the trails, or cycling with friends, then transitioning to an at-home exercise routine may be a little, well, different. But the truth is, there are plenty of effective ways to fit in a good workout that require no equipment, no gym, and little to no money.
Below are some practical ways to stay active while at home:
1. Check out online workouts and resources.
The internet is full of online free and paid subscription workouts. From yoga, to Zumba, to circuit training, there’s something for everyone. Explore different workouts to find a series, program, or instructor that you like and dedicate time each day to get moving. Kudos to you if you get family members involved, too!
Potential online workouts and resources to review:
- Total body workouts and bodyweight exercises: UT RecSports “Stay Home, Stay Active” Initiative with option to opt-in for weekly workouts delivered to your email inbox
- Dance, yoga, total body workouts, and more: Lionsgate BeFiT YouTube channel
- Pilates and bodyweight exercises: Blogilates YouTube channel
- Total body workouts, yoga, cardio, and strength training: Tone It Up YouTube channel
- Bodyweight, low-, and high-impact exercises: Fitness Blender full-length online videos
- Equipment-based strength training: Turbulence Training YouTube tutorials
- Bodyweight exercises and nutrition guidance: Zuzka Light YouTube tutorials
- Classic stretching, endurance exercise, and yoga: Austin KLRU-Q television option on local PBS station
2. Download an app.
Similar to searching the internet, open up the app store and check out free or inexpensive fitness apps to download that include the kind of exercise you’re looking for. Apps typically have built-in daily classes or workout regimens that are great for tracking activity, setting goals, and maintaining accountability.
Potential fitness apps to review:
3. Bodyweight exercises.
You can get a great workout with bodyweight circuit training in as little as 15 minutes. Incorporating movements such as pushups, lunges, and squats are a great way to boost your heart rate and burn some serious calories. Bodyweight exercises can be easily modified for any fitness level and can be done virtually anywhere and at any time.
Example bodyweight circuit for beginners:
- Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
- Push-ups: 10 reps
- Walking lunges: 10 reps each leg
- Dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or another weighted object): 10 reps each arm
- Plank: 30 seconds
- Jumping jacks: 30 reps
4. Get creative with equipment ideas.
You can use household items, such as a chair to work in triceps dips, cans of soup or a gallon of water for weight workouts, or the stairs in your house for a quick burst of cardio. There are also inexpensive equipment options you can order online, such as resistance bands, jump ropes, pull-up bars, and dumbbells.
Good at-home gym equipment to have:
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Kettle bells
- Yoga mat
- Resistance bands
- Mini inflatable exercise ball
- Mini foam roller
5. Walk, run, or bike outside.
We know you’re likely craving some fresh air anyways, so, if you are in a state/county where it’s permitted, hit the pavement in your neighborhood. Challenge yourself to walk, run, or bike a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you are looking to ramp up your heart rate, find an area with steep inclines or incorporate an interval workout.
Example interval workout for beginners:
- Walking or jogging lightly for three minutes
- Pick up your pace for one minute (speed walk, run, or sprint)
- Repeat this cycle 4 more times
6. Set goals!
While you don’t necessarily need to use this time to get into the best shape of your life, you should try to set achievable goals to help you stay on track. Start by committing to 30 minutes of exercise each day, and then gradually increase the amount of weight or number of reps in your workouts over the course of the next few weeks. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard work and remember to have fun!