The New Normal – Work, Exercise and Stay Fit at Home

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For many of us, the “new normal” means we regularly sleep, eat, work, and now exercise from home. Say goodbye to early morning pilates at the gym.

Some of us have moved our gym memberships into our homes with dumbbells, kettlebells, and gym equipment standing next to the TV or couch. Early-morning squats, lunges, push-ups, and burpees in the dining room is now as normal as the sit-down family dinner around the table.

Getting fit at home can include high-intensity training, bodyweight training, cardio activities, and a host of other sporting options, but with the gym membership or personal trainer out the window, how else can we get fit at home?

Renowned cultural analyst Faith Popcorn once predicted that ”cocooningwill become the new trend. Little did she realise that this would be imposed upon us by a pandemic rather than just through our own devices. Covid has not only caused a radical change to our lifestyles but also presented us with a conundrum: How do we look after our physical and mental wellbeing and then maintain our wellness when our space, privacy, resources, and facilities have been restricted?

Working, learning and exercising effectively from home certainly does present its own set of challenges, especially for beginners.

Dr Matt le Roux shares his advice on the topic as a Chiropractic specialist, sports enthusiast and wellness coach.

Let’s start with the question: How to get fit at home?

Generally speaking we can combine some of the home-workout activities into complementing groups that can help you determine how much space you may need:

Equipment & Accessories:

There are many get-fit items available at your favourite online store that can kickstart your home workout. Home gym equipment can safely include dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, pull-up bars, jump ropes, gym mats and gym balls. These items can typically help you include strength training and muscle-building into your fitness routine where you can isolate glutes, calves, biceps, triceps, and other body muscle groups.

Bodyweight Exercises:

A fantastic and low-cost alternative to getting fit at home is using your own body weight, movement, and flexibility to reach your fitness goals. You would be amazed at the results you can achieve by combining squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks into your home workouts. Your fitness levels will increase substantially, with positive contributions to your cardiovascular system and heart rate.

Mobile Apps:

A few Google searches will open a world of home-workout options for you, with easy to follow bodyweight workouts to help you get fit and stay fit. Besides popular Apple and Android apps  that focus on home-workouts, you can also stay fit by browsing Youtube and Instagram, with thousands of accounts, channels, and pages dedicated to getting fit at home.

Next, your workout space needs to accommodate your workout routine and fitness needs, and you’ll need to consider the following factors:

  • Size of your home and possible/potential exercise spaces
  • Competing interests and needs of other members of the family
  • Times available for personal training
  • Budget available for equipment and accessories

Try to combine a mixture of high-intensity and low-intensity workouts into your fitness routine. Many people get the best exercise from high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Stay hydrated, make sure to warm up, cool down, and stretch. Keep things exciting, challenging, and achievable. The last thing you want to do is set an impossible expectation for yourself, especially when taking on the get-fit-at-home challenge for the first time. Remember to focus on upper body and lower body exercises. You can build muscle, increase your fitness level, and achieve your fitness goals with an effective home workout.

Every successful journey starts with the decision to “GO”! In the same way, your wellness journey starts with a number of decisions you need to make to help you develop a regular health and fitness routine with planned pre-set patterns and outcomes. What are these decisions?

  1. The first thing to do is to make the decision to START your own home fitness regime. Getting the mindset right is the essential starting block;
  2. Decide on the TYPE of exercises you want to do;
  3. Decide how much SPACE you need at your home;
  4. Decide the best LOCATION for your setup (whether plain exercise or using gym equipment, or a combination);
  5. Decide if you need GYM EQUIPMENT, and if so, what gym equipment, and of course, your budget;
  6. Decide on the best TIME of day and frequency to focus on your wellness training;
  7. Set yourself a GOAL – for example, either your weight, your muscle tone, your general health, or a combination of these. Remember to set a measurable target and a realistic timeframe to achieve it.

As with any sport or activity, be careful and conscious of what your body is telling you. If you suspect any injury, don’t know which options may be safest for you, or perhaps would prefer a professional opinion on your journey to getting fit, Dr Matt le Roux suggests that Chiropractic care can help you stay on top of your game, improve your quality of life, and decrease overall pain that may be associated with physical activities.

Does exercise at home work?

Creating a suitable environment and workout space, together with a properly planned exercise routine can be a great solution to staying fit at home. It’s up to you to determine your fitness goals and what type of equipment and accessories to use.

Can you get fit at home without equipment?

It is not essential for you to use specialist gym equipment to get fit at home. You may be surprised at the undiscovered options that your home infrastructure may offer. Bodyweight training is also a great alternative to get fit and stay fit at home.

How long should I exercise at home?

If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or get fit, then the standard, tried and tested exercise time is normally 30 minutes in a daily session. This will exclude your 5 minutes both-sides warmup, stretching and cooldown periods.

Why is staying fit important?

Physical activity is directly linked to improved mental condition and general body health. Staying fit at home is especially important when there are so many distractions, so little time, and often restricted spaces available.

What home workouts are good for weight loss?

Remember before you start any exercise, KNOW your limits, HYDRATE and keep your eye on the TIME. With this in mind, some of the top fat-burning, toning and cardiovascular exercises that you can do at home are Decline Press up Jacks, Burpees, Frog Jumps, Side Box Jumps and High Knees.

What home workout burns the most calories?

The top 5 calorie burning exercises for home workout, include Jumping Rope, Running Up Hills/Stair Sprints, Kickboxing, Cycling Intervals, and Running. It’s always best to determine your fitness goals and options available when getting fit and staying fit at home.

Are home gyms worth it?

If you have the right equipment for your particular exercise needs, and you commit to using this equipment according to a set daily and weekly exercise regime, then it’s worth it. There are other options available including get-fit accessories, bodyweight training programs, and even mobile app training programs.

Do home workout apps work?

Home Gym Apps can be very handy as a reference tool and aid to following a set pattern of exercises. Choosing the right app is tricky, but review ratings can be a guide. There are other options available, and you should always determine your fitness goals before starting your get-fit-at-home journey.

What home workout is best for the chest?

The chest muscles need special and regular attention with focused exercises to target your pectoralis major and minor muscles, your deltoids (the muscles that stretch right across your chest and under your armpits), and your shoulders. The workout and results may differ if you are using bodyweight or equipment-based training.

Why is work life balance important?

“Work-life balance” is a concept dating back to the late 1970s and early 80s. It emphasises the importance of achieving a balance between career, family and other areas of one’s lives to reduce stress, increase productivity and to help regain and maintain good mental and physical health. How do we achieve that when combining home fitness into the schedule?

What are good ab workouts at home?

Good ab workouts have many benefits. Firstly, they help you look toned and in-shape. But more than this, they develop and strengthen your core, which improves your posture, stability, and balance. A strong core also reduces the potential for sports-related injuries and lower back pain. So how do I start, and which are the best ab workouts for me at home?

How long does it take to get fit at home?

Regular exercise over time is the key to real fitness benefits. Results can already be seen in a few weeks, and if you follow set plans and a set routine, you could see significant gains within 3 to 4 months.

Will core exercises help back pain?

Core exercises help to strengthen your overall balance, stability, and torso which includes developing strong abdominal, arm, shoulder and neck muscles, increasing your overall strength. This helps keep your spine aligned, gives you better posture, and thus prevents back pain.

Can bodyweight workouts build muscle?

If your bodyweight workouts focus on resistance training, slower reps, decreased rest times, variations, and training to max failure, you can build significant muscle at home. Throw in dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells and other home equipment, and you could be well on your way to building muscle at home. Don’t hesitate to increase the number of repetitions as you improve.

Dr. Matt le Roux is a man of many talents: chiropractor, sports scientist and functional medicine practitioner. His science-based approach motivates him to explore the synergy between health and performance that changes the way you move, live, train, think, and eat.

Dr Matt le Roux

Chiropractor, Functional medicine practitioner

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