Commentary: Don't let coronavirus stop your workouts. Here are some at-home exercises
FARMINGTON — The gym serves a two-fold purpose for yours truly: that emotionally uplifting feeling from sweating it out, and it’s also how I cope with the stresses that come with my profession.
Now that gyms are among the public places temporarily closed down due to coronavirus concerns, you may respond “what now?”
No gym time doesn’t mean no working out.
Here are some basic, yet effective, ways you can get your daily burn in without the gym.
Go for a walk or run
Both are easy ways to burn calories and feel sweat trickle down the side of your head, all while getting out for some fresh air and sunshine.
Here in Farmington, you can go up and down hills and pathways seen along the north side of town. Walking and running with some extra incline, as opposed to flat ground, also helps build and preserve endurance and lower body strength.
It can also help combat the plateau effect, where your body adjusts to a certain exercise routine or intensity level, hence reducing the effectiveness, over time.
Walking and running are both highly beneficial.
The only major difference is you can burn more calories in a shorter period of time by running.
For example, a 200-pound person can burn a good 60 calories from 10 minutes of brisk walking. That same person can burn double the calories after 10 minutes of running.
Planks and squats
Planks help strengthen your core, including your abdominals and your lower back, and helps improve muscular endurance (it targets multiple muscle groups, from your shoulders to your hamstrings).
It’s not easy by any means, because you’re activating multiple muscle groups at once. But that’s why it’s in turn one of my go-to exercises when I need to get that quick workout in.
Squats activate and help tone up the muscles in your legs and buttocks. That in turn makes it more of a total-body workout because it develops what’s called an anabolic environment to help you grow more muscle tissue.
The more muscle tissue you build, the easier it becomes to burn fat.
Train with a weighted vest
It can help with total-body muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular strength and endurance, fat-burning and building core strength, all at once.
It also gives you variation, as you can wear it during everyday movements like walking, going up and down stairs, doing household chores, you name it.
Wearing a weighted vest, your body will require more oxygen and strength to carry out the exercise. And, of course, your muscles will need to adapt to the extra weight. That’s what helps you build muscle strength and endurance.
The cardiovascular benefit comes from increasing your heart rate because of that added resistance, and the increased intensity leads to fat burning.
Strapping on a weighted vest around your upper torso also challenges your abs to carry a greater workload.
Use caution to start, however, as it can put some initial strain on your shoulders and upper back. Start small with a 10-pound vest and gradually up the weight.
If you want that leaner, stronger physique head to toe, and if you don’t have any dumbbells to use, I recommend it.
I use a 20-pound weighted vest myself, and it’s done wonders.
Make yourself space in a room, enough to where you can move back and forth, side to side.
Put on some music, whether it’s country, dance, metal, whatever your musical taste may be.
Then visualize your opponent.
You can release pent up anger, frustration and other related emotions with every punch you throw.
You’ll start to sweat because you’re moving your feet and engaging your core muscles.
Every bit of exercise helps
Ten minutes here, 20 minutes there, it all adds up. It also keeps your morale and motivation up because studies show the memory of feeling good upon completing a workout helps drives you to continue on.
It just takes that first workout, that second and third workout, to gradually build a solid routine. That’s what pays off in the long run, even during these trying times.
Both your body and mind will thank you.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @MattH_717.
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