Declaring war on the couch

Declaring war on the couch

Social distancing is not an excuse to avoid being -or getting into- in shape

You’re at home day in, day out. Working, cooking, watching shows, reading… The gym is closed and you might not even be allowed to go out for a walk. This doesn’t mean that there is no way to take care of your health; it’s the perfect time to declare war on your couch. We’ll show you some of the best ways to get into exercising at home.

What the world experts say (and why)

We have become sedentary to the point of stagnation, and it’s killing us. The World Health Organization recommends that adults 18-64 do 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise a week. These recommendations are the basic ones to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A dog walking with a leash next to a woman.

The reason they want us to do this is to improve blood circulation and muscle fitness. It also provides us with more stamina and it improves our mental health. This means, that all things being equal, we will live longer if we follow these recommendations.

Recommendations aside

It pays to be in good shape. It’s easy to think that walking to/from the metro, around the city and at the office count as not being sedentary, However, you’d be surprised how good it feels when you start getting in shape and challenging yourself a bit more every couple of weeks. The hard part is starting.

Getting started

If you are someone who is not used to exercising, the best way to start is by aiming to do five bouts of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week.

If you can go outdoors:

  • Taking a brisk walk for over 20 minutes.
  • Walking the dog for 30 minutes.
  • Gardening

Examples of this type of exercise that you can do at home are:

A figure seen from behind running up bleachers for exercise.

  • Dancing
  • Going up and down the stairs
  • Strenuous cleaning (yep): vacuuming, mopping, cleaning under furniture and beating rugs count
  • High-knee walking in place while watching your favorite show
  • Talking a walk, if possible. If you cannot go outside, it is possible to do this at home
  • Getting up during commercial breaks and jogging in place
  • Riding your bicycle to the store (you will have to buy less, so you get a chance to go more times a week!).

No home gym, no workout instructor? No problem!

Do you feel that you are already in relatively good shape and are disheartened at not having equipment and no access to gym/workout instructors? Or do you feel that the exercises we’ve mentioned are not going to get you in the mood to really make an effort over time? That’s where YouTube comes in handy.

You see, there are hundreds of well-established exercise instructors who have channels that you can access for free to work out either on your phone or tablet, or casting to your television. You can make yourself workout lists and play them after each other for a fully customizable workout routine that adapts to your ability and tastes. From tai-chi to kickboxing, it’s all there!

Just find your workout. Following are some channels that offer you great workouts to suit your every whim.

The best warmup

Popsugar has a

12-minute warm-up to suit every workout routine. If you are completely out of shape, this is also a great starting point.A woman staring into the camera while doing a push-up

The no-equipment, no-space, never-done-this before workout

If you have no idea how to get started but want to sweat, try Walk at Home. It’s a great way to get started and there are lots of challenges to get you moving and enjoying it.

Step it up

Do you have a stepping board gathering dust at home? Steps are one of the most rewarding cardio workouts out there.  If you’ve never done steps, we suggest one week of just walking up and down it for 30 minutes while watching a show. Your legs will thank you. Then, after a week, why not start with something ‘basic’ like Jenny Ford’s Beginner Cardio? Once you’ve completed it for two weeks straight you can look to increase your level on her channel.

The best all-around workout site

Popsugar Fitness provides hundreds of different trainings, from basic to highly advanced; they host celebrity trainers and their workouts can provide you a fully customizable workout system hat adapts to your wants and abilities at any stage. From basic cardio to full weight training, it’s all there for the learning. Be challenged!

Basic kickboxing

If you want to try something a bit more outwardly physical, the Kickboxing Workout for Beginners from FitnessType is a great introduction to kickboxing. After a couple of weeks, check out their other workouts to improve.

A man stretching sitting on the floor in the sun.

Not the latest dance workout, but Zumba has proven to be one of the most effective ways to work out. You don’t need to be a great dancer, you just need to be ready to move and keep moving. We suggest to Try Zumba’s breakdown of steps for a week to get your moves right (and get used to sweating) and then try something like LIVELOVEWORKOUT’s 30 minute workout, if you can. Just don’t give up, it’s worth it!

Gentler (but effective) workouts

If you want to work out at a gentler pace, there are great channels for things like tai-chi and yoga.

  • Master Wong is a martial arts channel with a very impressive list of followers worldwide. The site has a list of tiered, short tai chi lessons so that you can learn from the beginning. It’s a great start.
  • Yoga with Adriene (Mishler) counts over 6 million followers, making her one of YouTube’s most successful fitness trainers, ever. Try Yoga for Beginners and then move into her 30-day challenge.

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