How to Stay on Track with Fitness in the Age of Social Distancing
For some of us, nothing beats exercising with a friend or in a group. If you get a rush of endorphins from sweating it out next to other folks, high-fiving at the end and thankful you made it out of that tough workout alive, you’re not alone.
Except, right now, we kinda are. Alone, that is.
Social distancing has put a stop to a lot of things we normally do, fitness-wise. Gyms have closed, classes have been cancelled, and for some people, this means a derailment of their fitness routine.
However, there are ways to stay on track during these very odd, distanced months. Read on for some tips, tricks, and advice.
The internet has proven itself more valuable than ever during the pandemic. We can connect with friends and family safely and feel a little less isolated.
You can apply this to your fitness routine as well! A lot of gyms and personal trainers (myself included) successfully made the pivot to online workouts.
If your favorite gym is closed, see if they have classes online. Maybe you can Zoom your Zumba or Facebook Live your flys. Or, if you’re lucky enough to own something like a Peloton, your workouts are built-in. However you can connect, try and do so via your computer.
It might not have the same energy as an in-person workout, but you can still get that motivation and accountability when you participate online.
You have to take a lot more safety precautions, but for now, you’re still allowed to meet up with people outside. It’s best to stick to lower impact, less strenuous exercises so you can keep your masks on (the image below was taken pre-virus). Try scheduling a recurring gentle hike with a friend or maybe walk laps around a local track.
For higher intensity outdoor workouts, stay very distanced from those not in your household. Think more than six feet if your mask is off. Meet up with a few folks in a large field and do bodyweight workouts or run up and down separate staircases at a local stadium.
If you love sports and live next to the ocean, consider surfing with a friend or two. Games like tennis are also very distanced, although you have to be careful not to touch your face as you’re both touching the same tennis ball. Golf and potentially even fencing are also fairly safe.
As long as you’re following safety recommendations, outdoor workouts are an excellent way to stay on track as you distance.
If you’ve never invested in a fitness tracker, now might be the time. There are dozens on the market but one thing they all have in common is a reward system that encourages you to get your workout in.
Whether the tracker pings you to get up every hour or to remind you to workout, it’s like having a neat little buddy on your wrist that says, “Hey, you haven’t done this yet today!” Trackers can measure calories burned, your heart rate, your steps, and more.
It’s very satisfying to watch your step count go up or see how much energy you expended during your workout. Using tech to motivate yourself can go a long way to keeping you on track.
Sneak in Movement
One of the best ways to get more exercise during your day doesn’t involve a workout at all. Sneak more movement into your hours using little changes to your habits.
If you need something from another room, take an extra lap or two around the house when you go get it. If you have stairs in your home, go up and down them a few extra times. Set a timer for every hour so you get up and do a set of push-ups or crunches or squats. If you have a phone call meeting, walk around your house while you chat.
You can also use your chores. Have you been procrastinating on cleaning the house? You’d be surprised how many calories vacuuming can burn (bonus points if you move the sofa!). As you wash dishes, do calf raises. Have a closet you’ve been meaning to deep-clean? Try squats to clean out the bottom recesses rather than sitting on the ground.
These tiny changes might not take the place of social fitness, but if you’re struggling to stay motivated, don’t discount them.
Get Your Brain in Gear
One of the biggest roadblocks to staying on track with fitness during social distancing can be your mind. Between stress about the pandemic, your job, and possibly your kids being home from school, workouts can be the last thing you think about.
They’re also one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family to stay healthy.
To help with motivation, try to keep to your normal routine. That may be easier said than done but sticking with the familiar will help keep your brain balanced. If you always hit the gym after work, block out that alone time to do your workouts in your bedroom. Early riser? Resist the temptation to hit snooze and lay your workout clothes out the night before so it’s less, well, work to get going.
If your schedule is at all flexible, try to follow your body’s rhythm. Do you get a boost of energy right around 11am? See if you can time your workday to pause and exercise then. Or, if you know you need more sleep and naturally wake up later than a normal 9–5, see if you can shift your workday back a few hours.
You can also tell your friends or family what your goals are. Share it! Put it on social media, text some people, send out an email blast. Ask for them to keep you accountable. There’s nothing better than having a squad to cheer you on.
Most importantly, keep a watch on your mental health. Engaging in habits that help lower your stress will give you more mental space to focus on your fitness. Journal, do yoga, meditate, savor your coffee, pet the dog, whatever brings you joy and lowers stress, make sure it’s included in your routine.
How Do You Stay Motivated?
Do you have any tips or tricks to keep going with your fitness during this socially distanced time? Let me know in the comments!