How to Stay Fit in Times of Corona

The coronavirus is profoundly changing our lives. Some of us have been confined to our homes for several weeks. Others just started their lockdowns. People lost their jobs or are worried they are going to.

We’re learning to work remotely, home-schooling children, we shop for elderly neighbors and cancelled all social events. It’s a lot to deal with, especially when the whole family is stuck at home.

Normally you go to work every day, and even if you sit mostly at your desk, you move your body. You commute to your place of work, you walk around to get coffee and go grab a bite for lunch. Now you are stuck indoors, you can’t go to the gym, and in many countries you’re not allowed to go outside for a walk or run.

When tensions run high and you’re worried and anxious by what is happening, it helps to keep moving. Working out is a great way to de-stress during the day and helps to keep your immune system in shape. Besides the health benefits, exercise helps you avoid going stir crazy from being cooped up for an extended period of time. Self care is also the element you have the most control over. So how can you relieve some of the stress?

I’m a business traveler. To keep fit, I often go for a run, but I’ve also stayed in places where it is not safe to run, simply because there are no side walks or drivers aren’t used to people running on the road. So I had to find alternatives for my daily workout. And as long as the hotel has wifi, I can play online training videos that help me cope with stress and stay in shape.

To make it easy for you to work up a sweat, here’s my tested list of free exercise classes that you can do in your living room (with your family) because you:

  • only need a space the size of a large yoga mat
  • don’t need to sign up
  • don’t need equipment

So change into your workout gear, open the window to get some fresh air, grab a towel and water bottle and give it go. You know you’ll feel better afterwards!

As always when exercising: pay attention to the disclaimers at the start of the program and don’t overdo it, especially now that medical staff needs to focus all efforts on helping corona patients. Keep in mind that exercise, like most things, is best in moderation. Strive to maintain (not gain) strength or fitness during the quarantine period.

Stay safe and healthy!

Did I miss your favorite online fitness channel? Let everyone know in the comments!

PS: All links are direct, no affiliates.

Darebee

Darebee offers an excellent set of workout posters that you can download and print. You can perform these exercise anywhere you have a little space. You work through virtually every major muscle group, but the exercises aren’t overly taxing. Print a couple of those posters, stick them on the doors in your house and do one of the exercises every time you walk by, so you complete the workout in an easy way during the day. They release a new poster every day, and the database already contains 1400+ posters. 

Darebee exercise poster

For a fun team exercise, use the posters to challenge each other. As example, agree to each download one poster and complete the reps during the day. Then, send your pick to someone in your team and rotate them so everyone receives a new one every day.

With so many options to choose from, there’s always one that’s right for you. How about the “Everyday Hero” or the “Dark Elf“? Do the “Supervillain” and the “Couch Potato” sound more intriguing? You can use the filter to find one that appeals to you, based on difficulty (light-advanced), focus (full body, abs) and other criteria.

Once you feel that you’ve mastered the exercises on the posters and you want more, you can increase the levels by doing more sets. That’s easiest when you download the free IntervalTimer App (iOS, Android) and create a schedule. The app times your workout and lets you play music during the sets.

Les Mills

Have you ever taken a group lesson at your gym? Chances are they use Les Mills workouts. Fortunately, Les Mills now offers free classes online. Try Grit or Combat if you are fit and like high intensity training, or participate in a dance class if you want a less strenuous workout. They’ve included post-pregnancy exercises, as well as Born to Move classes that you can do with your kids.

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I like that Les Mills includes technique classes, so you can watch how it’s done and learn the moves before you do the workout. The workouts have been shortened from the regular 45-60 minutes to 10-20 minutes, meaning that with a warming up and cool down you’re done in half an hour.

Who can resist the upbeat music they use in those classes? When you’re finished, slow down and relax with one of the guided meditations. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Yoga with Adriene

No matter your experience, Adriene offers a yoga class for everyone: from beginner to advanced. She provides high quality practices on yoga and mindfulness at no cost that have inspired people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Adriene is down to earth and she talks you through the exercises, so you know exactly what to do.

Her yoga classes are world famous (she has 6 million+ subscribers), and you have a lot of options to choose from. You can pick a Youtube class by length, by topic (back pain, healthy posture, stress relief, focus and productivity etc). The only problem with so many of them is how to choose the one that’s perfect for you? Just ask a team mate to recommend one to you.

Yoga with Adriene

If you like the classes and want more, Adriene offers a 30-day yoga journey with scheduled workouts. In addition, she publishes themed monthly yoga calendars. With so many people forced to stay at home, the theme for April 2020 is Nurture.

YMCA

Does the YMCA need any explanation when it comes to sports and workouts? I worked two years at the Y and enjoyed many of their classes. To support your health and wellbeing, the Y quickly responded to the corona pandemic with YMCA360.org. All their exercise courses are free, regardless of Y membership. 

YMCA 360

They have released Yoga classes for various fitness levels as well as lessons for Active Older Adults. If you’re looking for something more strenuous, try Bootcamp or run through the Youth Performance drills with your kids. Tai Chi, a unique martial art is for all ages and levels and promotes strength, coordination, posture and concentration.

Some of the classes use equipment, but the trainers give you suggestions to replace them with household items or do without. Since YMCA360 is just getting started, come back often to check for new uploads.

Nuffield Health

Nuffield Health is the UK’s largest healthcare charity and offers several Youtube playlists with workouts, brought to you by their personal trainers. The Home Workout playlists offer 18 videos with different focus areas.

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Pick the Anytime Anywhere or the Intense Suspense workout or – quite timely – try the Back Fit routine. Nuffield includes easy workouts for people who’ve just had surgery or are recovering from an illness. You can participate in the focused sessions if you have equipment at home, like barbells or dumbbells. And with Simple Exercises, the trainers explain the different techniques and moves so you’re well prepared.

Heather Robertson

If you exercise more frequently, you’ve certainly heard about HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. Heather Robertson is a personal trainer who offers a HIIT program that you can do anywhere with minimal space. She includes a variety of exercises in her videos so you don’t get bored and stick with it.

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Because you can choose the intensity level, these programs are also suited for beginners: Heather gives advice on how to adjust the program to your fitness level. If HIIT is not your thing, you can also try one of her Low Impact Workouts. And if you live in an apartment, there’s a No Jumping series that’s neighbor-friendly.

HASfit

The team behind Heart and Soul Fitness or HASfit, Claudia and coach Kozak want to make the personal trainer experience available to everyone by offering more than 1000 free workout videos. They demonstrate the moves side by side, and show variations for different fitness levels. The Workouts Finder lets you search by keyword, length or muscle group.

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Their Youtube channel includes workouts by Body Parts, Strength Training and Full Body Training. They are mindful that not everyone is super fit and offer a playlist for Seniors, Obese, Plus Size and Limited Mobility participants that includes seated exercises.

Other Workouts

There are many websites and Youtube channels that offer free online fitness classes. You can also turn to social media and search for live streams from personal trainers and gyms.

Here’s a list of good workouts for your living room, including a few focused on young children:

305 Fitness: whether your like reggae, hip hop or Latin, with a range of 15 minutes dance classes, the At-Home workouts by 305 are fun, fast-paced and kid-friendly.

Body Project: offers low impact, online home workout programs for all fitness levels. Try the Standing, Beginner’s workout or the Low Impact, Intermediate one.

Cosmics Kids Yoga: Fun yoga, mindfulness and relaxation exercises designed for kids aged 3+. This channel offers themed workouts, based on movies like Frozen or Harry Potter that every child will love. And if you really want to keep the kids busy, start the 3-hour(!) long Movie Marathon.

FitnessBlender: created a special playlist with 350+ full length workout videos for At Home Training. The website lets you search through more than 500 free workouts by length, difficulty, training type, muscles used, calorie burn & more.

FitnessMarshall: a great selection of entertaining, user friendly dance videos that are perfect for a quick cardio session with the kids to let off steam. Chose your favourite song and dance like no one’s watching (spoiler alert: no one is!). From Stupid Love by Lady Gaga to Yummy by Justin Bieber and Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake.

Little Sports: this is a channel to get the kids moving. Little Sports offers exercises and fun challenges that kids can easily copy. Workouts are between 10 and 20 minutes, and every move is shown in detail, so kids can watch and learn. All new videos are Home Workouts.

MadFit: Maddie Lymburner offers a collection of At Home Workouts, from yoga to exercises. Her playlists include Beginner Workouts and the very appropriate Apartment Friendly Workouts.

Orangetheory shares a daily new workout video on their website, led by their coaches from around the world. These workouts don’t require any special equipment, but may feature everyday household items.

PopSugar Fitness: fresh fitness tutorials, workouts, and exercises that will help you with stress relief. Try the Full Body Workouts, or one of the quick 5 Minutes or 10 Minutes sets. And at the end of the Family Fun workout, the winner gets to choose what’s for dinner!

Walk at Home: Everyone can walk and Leslie Sansone makes you walk in your living room. You can participate in her Weekly Walks and walk 1 mile in 15 minutes while performing exercises along the way.

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