We may be limited in where we can
exercise at the moment, but staying active remains as important as ever for
good health. Luckily, you don’t need to visit a gym or studio to maintain a
good fitness regime. In fact, there are lots of cheap or free ways to exercise
without needing to leave the house. All you need is some imagination and
creativity, an internet connection, and a few inexpensive pieces of equipment.
Here are some of our favourite
low-cost ways to exercise at home:
Bodyweight resistance training
Traditionally when we think of
“resistance training”, we think of lifting weights in the gym. Lifting weights
is a great way to build muscle, protect our bones and joints and elevate your
heart rate — but you don’t necessarily need actual weights to achieve this. In
fact, using your own body weight for resistance training is an excellent way to
maintain or even build muscle, particularly when you can’t access a gym.
If you usually attend group fitness
classes or see a personal trainer, coming up with exercises for a workout by
yourself can seem daunting. Luckily, lots of personal trainers and fitness
devotees are sharing free workouts to help their communities stay active while
self-isolating. Try a home-based workout from Exercise Physiologist Kirra Rankin, or check out one of the
many equipment-free home workouts available you YouTube. There are workouts
designed for everyone, including beginners,
pregnant women, and older people.
There are even workouts that use pantry staples instead of weights!
There are also a number of
smartphone apps that offer free bodyweight workouts with minimal or no
equipment. Nike Training Club has programs available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced
Pilates is an excellent way to
build a strong core and protect your body from injury. Whether you’re someone
who has been exercising for years or simply want to go about your day
pain-free, Pilates can help to strengthen and control your muscles, maintain
good posture, and improve flexibility.
When you think of Pilates, you may
think of the sliding machines called reformers. While these are often used in
Pilates studios, you can also get an excellent Pilates workout from home using
only a yoga mat.
Some instructors who have shared
their classes for free on YouTube include Lottie Murphy, Robin Long, Cassey
Ho, and Kimmy Kellum.
Boxing and skipping
Boxing and skipping are often
paired together to form a total body workout that offers cardiovascular
conditioning as well as resistance. In short, it’s an excellent way to tone
your muscles, get your heart racing and release some stress and tension.
While most boxing workouts in a gym
or studio will use a punching or kickboxing bag, you can still effectively do a
boxing workout without leaving the house. “Shadowboxing” is a term that
describes boxing into the air, and can be done with no equipment.
There are lots of free boxing
workouts available on YouTube. Try 30-minute at-home boxing, 25-minute no-equipment cardio-boxing, or a shadowboxing workout using light weights.
If you have a skipping rope at home,
you can learn how to jump rope like a boxer, or try a skipping workout.
Cardio and HIIT
You don’t need fancy equipment like
a treadmill, cross-trainer or rower at home to be able to get a good cardio
workout. Cardio isn’t just good for heart health and overall fitness, but like
all exercise, it’s a great way to get a natural boost of endorphins and improve
your mood — especially when accompanied with good music!
Try a 30-minute no-equipment cardio workout that will get your heart racing, a cardio session that also targets your core, or for something a little more fun and
lighthearted, a 30-minute cardio Latin dance class.
“HIIT” stands for high-intensity
interval training, which just means that you exercise at a more intense level
for short periods of time, followed by a period of active recovery.
Master these six at-home HIIT movements to form the basis of your own at-home workouts, or grab someone
else in the house and do a fun partner HIIT workout together.
Yoga is one of the most popular
home workout categories. One of the reasons why so many people enjoy yoga at
home is because of its versatility. There are many different styles of yoga for
all levels of fitness and abilities.
One way to get into the habit of an
at-home yoga practice is to try a 30-day challenge. This has the benefit of
introducing you to yoga slowly and building up the difficulty over time. It
also allows you to get a bit of momentum going with your fitness so that once
the challenge is over, you have the confidence to continue on your own. Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube channel is an excellent resource for free yoga classes,
and she has a number of 30-day challenges for you to choose from as well as
guided meditations and both short and long yoga practices.
Other YouTube channels with free
yoga classes are lululemon, Alo Yoga (who also have kids classes), and Well Good.