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How to exercise in quarantine without getting overwhelmed


As people are using this time away from society to take on new hobbies and better themselves, at-home workouts and getting into shape has been trending. But with all the pressure to come out of social distancing with news skills and a hot bod, it can feel overwhelming to take on exercising, whether you’re someone who typically works out at a gym or doesn’t work out at all. 


I am someone who usually goes to the gym, and having a physical location set aside for exercise has allowed me to develop discipline for a routine and a space that helps clear my mind and work my body. But because of shelter in place, my routines are shattered and home is one of my only places to be. While the initial reality that I wouldn’t have a gym to go to really had me worried for both my mental and physical health, I worked through it with important reminders.


You don’t owe anything to anyone. 

Ignore the “you need to come out of quarantine as yourself but better” tweets. Ignore the “you have time, you just need the discipline” posts by motivational millionaires. You do not owe anything to anyone except yourself. If you’re going to exercise, do it because it makes you feel good and because you want to. Once you have found that mindset, then it is safe, healthy, and fun to exercise!


If you’re able, go outside.

If you live somewhere where it is safe to go outside, take every opportunity to. Going outside has numerous health benefits, especially when combined with exercise. I’ve taken a liking to biking or walking on undiscovered paths. Whether it is to see how far East a street goes or letting myself get a little lost and find my way back (sometimes with Google Maps as an aid), I have been letting myself get lost in exercise. I take patient strolls and gentle bike rides, allowing myself to go for a long time. No time limit, no destination, no pressure. I do it because it feels good, and in turn, my body is happy and healthy.


Stretch, stretch, STRETCH.

As a former dancer, dabbler in yoga, and someone to like to exercise, stretching has always been important. But, as a typical busy person, it is the first thing I look over when ending a work out or when I wake up sore. I’ve been trying to stretch in the morning, at night, and after doing a workout. It is now something I look forward to because it makes my body feel good. On top of that, it has allowed for moments of mindfulness as I stretch what hurts and really allow myself to be in tune with my body.


At home work-outs.

If you’re looking for at home workouts beyond just simple walks or bike rides, there are countless videos on Youtube to watch or workout apps to download. If you’re someone just starting to work out, look for low-impact, full body workouts or cardio. Avoid hyper-specific workouts (like 10 minute ab blaster or extreme squats) because you will need to work on general balance and comfort moving your body before immediately jumping into intense strength. If you’re already someone who has worked out a fair amount, you know your limits, so trust yourself and dive in. Remind yourself you are doing this to feel better, and it will make these more challenging workouts easier to get through. 


Remember that you do not need to come out of quarantine as a fitness guru. Do what makes you feel good. Keep yourself happy and healthy. With everything going on in the world, gaining weight is normal. Losing weight is also normal. Stress comes out in different ways, and the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. If exercising is how you stay kind, exercise.

Molly is currently a junior at Hamline University who is studying English, Professional Writing and Communications.
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