Screen showing virtual fitness classes as great for COVID-19 exercise options.

Exercise Options in the Midst of COVID-19

COVID-19 Exercise Options

We all know we need to exercise and we all know the many benefits exercise provides us, and yet we don’t do enough. “For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.” See the Mayo Clinic article How much should the average adult exercise every day? for more details.

Now this DOES NOT mean you have to go out and become a runner, on the contrary, a mixture of strength and cardio exercise is most beneficial. You also don’t need to do all of your exercise in one day or even for an hour at a time. Small bursts of exercise are just as effective as longer workouts. In this time of being confined, this is not only needed for our physical well-being but it will also help with our mental well-being!

But the gyms are closed. Now what do you do? Well, first, let’s be real here, were you even using your gym membership? If you were, were you using it enough? 

Below I’ve outlined several options for getting the recommended amount of exercise, through different means, and I’ve listed pros and cons for each.

1. Dust off those old Jane Fonda videos!

Cover of Jane Fonda's workout challenge videoAdmit it, you did what so many others did (and still do), you bought workout videos or DVDs that are now collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. You had every intention of working out “at least 3 times a week” but then something took you away from your time allotted for “pushing play” and the dust collected.

The PROs of using workout videos:

CONVENIENCE – You can do them at any time day or night in the comfort of your own home and it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside.

ENJOYMENT – You can find something you really enjoy doing and a trainer you enjoy. Once you finish with one of their workout series you can look for others by the same trainer.

The CONs of using workout videos:

VHS – LOL…had to throw in some humor here. They are probably on VHS and you don’t have a VCR any more!

BORING – While you may find something you really like, sometimes doing the same few routines over and over gets boring.

ACCOUNTABILITY – It’s really easy to find an excuse to skip your daily workout and no one is watching you so no one will know (but your body and mind will know).

FORM – Not having a live instructor can lead to injury. While you are doing everything in your power to do the move like the screen is showing you, there is no feedback to help you adjust to proper form and this can lead to injury.

LOCATION – You have to do these workouts where you have a device to play the videos, which is usually your living room which means everyone else needs to “stay away” while you are working out…yeah, right we all know THAT’S gonna happen!

ANNOYING TRAINER – So you bought a program that looked like it was something that you would enjoy, you pushed play, and the trainer is SO ANNOYING you have to turn the volume off in order to get through the workout.

2. On-line streaming of workouts

 The PROs of using on-line streaming (still not a lot but better than videos):

CONVENIENCE – Much like videos mentioned above, you can do your workout any time of day or night in the comfort of your own home. With online streaming, there is an added benefit in that you can do them anywhere you have access to the internet, that means you can even do your workouts outside, on vacation, etc. The list of excuses just got shorter!

VARIETY – There is SO much out there for you to try and the price is very reasonable. I am going to make a plug here for Beachbody On Demand. Yes, I am a Beachbody Coach and I have been since February of 2015. It’s part of the reason I became a personal trainer and opened my fitness studio (Coach Mel’s Group Fitness in Harwinton, CT – more on that later). 

This option is VERY reasonably priced for what you get. You will have access to all of their workout programs such as all of the P90X workouts (I did P90X3 and LOVED it), 21 Day Fix, Core de Force, Yoga, and the list goes on and on. There are over 1,100 workouts along with nutrition plans to go with each program. It’s $99 for an annual subscription but you can select shorter memberships. Use this Beachbody On Demand Membership link to learn more and, yes, I do get a small commission if you decide to purchase using this link. 

BeachBody on Demand logo in blue text

There are others out there to choose from, but I am not as familiar with them so cannot give you a knowledgeable recommendation.

GET RID OF THE ANNOYING TRAINER – Because there is usually a lot of variety, if you don’t like one trainer you can switch to a different program without having to buy anything more.

The CONs of using on-line streaming:

ACCOUNTABILITY – Just like with videos, it’s really easy to find an excuse to not do your workout.

FORM – Also the same as videos, not having a live instructor can lead to poor form and potentially an injury.

3. Live virtual workouts

Screen showing virtual fitness classes as great for COVID-19 exercise options.Due to COVID-19 Coach Mel’s Group Fitness has switched to a virtual platform for all classes until we are able to re-open, which seems to be a moving target!  Please contact me at mel@coachmels.com to get more information on how to join our virtual classes.

The PROs of doing live virtual workouts:

FAMILARITY – If it is your gym that is doing the live virtual workouts it is something you are familiar with which helps to make your daily routine more “normal”.

CONVENIENCE – You are doing these workouts in your own home so there’s no need to hop into the car. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, and you can probably sleep a little bit longer since all you have to do is jump on the virtual platform. These can also be done from ANYWHERE you have internet/data access so if you are on vacation and still want to get your workout done (while everyone else is sleeping I’m sure), it’s there for you.

ACOUNTABILITY – There is something about signing up for a class that helps keep you accountable. I know you said you are going to be there…that should be enough to nudge you to show up!

SEEING OTHERS – In our current status of “social distancing” and “stay safe, stay home” at least we can see each other, say hi to each other and feel like we are together. As with any group exercise, seeing others exercising with you makes you push yourself just a bit harder even if it’s on a screen!

INSTRUCTOR CAN HELP WITH FORM – In a live virtual class your instructor is prompting you about proper form, encouraging you throughout the workout and if you are on video the instructor can see you to help with your form.

The CONs of live virtual classes:

CONVENIENCE – While I listed this as a pro, this is can also be a con because the classes are LIVE and you have to be on the virtual platform at a specific time.

EQUIPMENT LIMITATIONS – Your workouts probably will not involve as much equipment as you would usually use at an in-studio class.

ANNOYING TRAINER – Sorry, you’re stuck with me! 

You Have COVID-19 Exercise Options – What Will You Do?

While all of the above involve doing a particular exercise class, there are many other options to get your 150 minutes of exercise each week. Let’s get OUTSIDE! Walk, run, hike, play with the kids/grandkids, do yard work, etc.

Of course, I advocate for in-person fitness classes over all of the above, but when that is taken away from you it does NOT mean you stop your exercise routine. At Coach Mel’s Group Fitness we offer over 40 group fitness classes for all fitness levels, including classes for seniors. Please contact me about membership at 860-921-0200 or by email at mel@coachmels.com. The studio is located at 161 Litchfield Road in Harwinton, Connecticut.

My mantra is to “Be healthy BEFORE you NEED to be healthy”. Exercise is one of the best ways to be sure you are working towards that goal. Don’t let the COVID-19 pandemic isolate you to the couch binge-watching Netflix. MOVE, in one way or another, and when this is over and we get back to our normal routine, you’ll be glad you kept up with (or started) your exercise routine!

Be safe and be healthy!

Coach Mel

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