Exercise is important for the mind and body, but even more so during the pandemic. Unfortunately, due to restrictions placed upon us during COVID-19, most of us aren’t moving around as much as we’d like to. Of course, many fitness studios and gyms have reopened, but for those who want to do some of their virtual classes offered, creating an at-home workout space is crucial.
Creating a place in our homes set aside solely for taking care of ourselves and working out can be helpful to keep us active and feel like there’s a definitive separation of our office space, living, space, and workout space. That’s why Marci Occhino, a local fitness expert, is sharing some tips for how to create your own exercise oasis, no matter how limited the space, and why it is so important to your health.
The Importance of Being Active
The Mayo Clinic states that a good goal would be to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. “This can be broken down into short segments throughout the day if you do not have one block of time. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.”
Set your own pace—take control, especially if you have not exercised in a while or are new to exercise.
You don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time. A basic item to have would be an exercise mat. If you are doing mostly standing work, you will want the mat to be sticky or use no mat at all to avoid slipping. A pillow from your couch can help support your neck and head in Pilates, and elevate your spine when in a seated position for yoga. Keep a stretch band nearby or a stretchy old tee shirt or towel to use in its place. Maybe get a standing floor mirror so you can keep an eye on your form and also reflect light in the room to open the space.
Just like music makes commuting easier, music makes exercise feel so much easier and even inspires it! Play music that you love and makes you want to move.
Location, Location, Location
Convenience is a major factor in accomplishing a task. Making your workout oasis near your WFH space where you can see it may encourage you to get up and use the chair to stretch – or onto the mat to move and energize your body when feeling a dip in energy.
Keep Your Workout Space Fully Stocked
Have water on hand, so you can hydrate before, during, and after your workouts. Perhaps use a water bottle with an inspirational message or even just a funny joke on it to brighten your day when you read it. And the good news is this water is free since you’re at home! No more expensive water bottles because you forgot to bring one to the gym. Yet another benefit of WFH.
Mix Things Up
Create your own schedule, try new routines, take online belly-dancing classes and support an out of work fitness professional, learn to Tango —you choose! Mixing up your workout routine can keep things interesting and exciting and hopefully keep you motivated to keep the exercise routine going! All things to make you feel good and happy!
Dani Johnson, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, encourages people who are staying home to get creative. “Every little bit of movement counts,” she said. “So when we’re confined to our home, move, move, move.”
Open Windows for Your Workout
There is nothing like taking a walk in the great outdoors on a beautiful day. But when we need to be at home because of bad weather or the current circumstances of the pandemic, we can feel close to nature if we set up a space that reflects and welcomes it.
If you have windows nearby, open them and let in the fresh air and feel the breeze. If it’s hot, try using a fan to cool you off and allow you to keep the windows open rather than turn on the air. You will save money and you will feel more like you are outside.
Incorporate Plants + Fresh Flowers Into Your Workout Space
Houseplants have been proven to reduce stress levels and keep your blood pressure lower. Researchers found that houseplants actually increase productivity by up to 15%. You may just find you exercise even harder!}.
Incorporate Some Natural Light
If it is a nice day, let the sunshine in. The sunlight will brighten your day, lift your mood, and give you more energy to do a great workout. If you do not have a window nearby, try using light bulbs that create light close to the color and warmth of sunlight. LED light bulbs in a color temperature at or above 5000K have been shown to induce the same energizing effects as natural light and produce the same color temperature as the midday sun.
For evening workouts, turn on a string of lights to add a festive touch. They will sparkle in the evening and cheer you on. Battery operated candles are also a great option. They are safe and some look very similar to the real thing! They may not have the lovely smell a scented candle provides, but you can always get some essential oils or natural room fragrance for ambiance.
Record Your Workout
The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping a record of your workouts because it can, “help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration.” Keep a journal in your workout space to track your progress and jot down a positive comment, reflecting on the good feelings your workout has evoked.
Keep Mementos in Your Space
Seeing photos of people we love around us and gazing at pictures of places we love, or want to travel to, will keep us motivated and uplifted. We can take time at the end of a workout to meditate and work on manifesting what we want to do and see when the pandemic is over.
Post-workout, treat yourself to a refreshing shower, using your favorite products. Follow up with a phone call or FaceTime with a friend and enjoy a healthy snack. You earned it!
In creating your fitness oasis, you will create an environment within the current uncertainty that roots and uplifts you, and inspires good habits to last a lifetime. This pandemic will be over and we will all rejoice. Even more so if we have used the time to strengthen relationships and form good habits — those we will welcome to stick around.