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Post-Holiday Quarantine Fitness: Some Unconventional (and Conventional) Tips and Methods to Get Active Following Gym Closures

Following the holiday season (re: all of the ginger cookies that I baked and proceeded to scarf down at ungodly hours of the morning), the time of year arrives when I and much of the western population summons the resolve to get moving again. This becomes difficult thanks to a certain Little Miss ‘Rona, who happens to possess absolutely no chill.

Since claiming my senior year of high school and my first year of university wasn’t enough, apparently, she has also decided to spoil my New Year’s fitness resolutions by warranting gym closures. (For the purpose of this article, I shall pretend that I would’ve actually stuck to them had the global pandemic not occured).  

Nonetheless, while I cannot stress enough that no one is obligated to “burn off” the festivities, here are some tips to get active in spite of our unwanted and unexpected winter guest should you so choose. 

woman with workout supplies at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

1. Try Youtube—It’s Free Thanks to the Wonders of The Interwebs!

At the risk of sounding like a middle-aged woman, I must note that the amount of free content available online these days is a true marvel. This includes a variety of free, at-home workouts on YouTube. Is such “free” content likely sustained through the unwitting harvesting of our online metadata for profit? Most definitely. But, since our online privacy is next to none anyways, we may as well use the site to its fullest extent . Ranging from Zumba, HIIT, Abs, Glutes, Kickboxing, Yoga, Jazzercise, Ballet, Martial Arts and Pilates (just to name a few), there is a huge host of exciting workouts available. Moreover, many of these workouts are equipment-free, apartment-friendly, and effective in both cardiovascular and strength training. 

2. Enjoy a Good Ol’ Skate 

Not only is skating good for the soul, it’s an efficient calorie burner as well. It’s also one of those activities that’s enjoyable enough to camouflage itself as mere “fun” despite being an undercover form of exercise. Moreover, it can be a rare opportunity for… *gasp!* safe physical social interaction with friends! Skating is not only more entertaining than standing and conversing six feet apart in a public park, but the movement will also stave off the outdoor cold. I endorse this, provided all parties involved wear masks of course—don’t be a heathen now. 

3. Never Doubt the Merits of the Age Old “Brisk Walk”

Is there anything more therapeutic than blasting music, zoning out for an hour and aimlessly pacing the sidewalks? Not in my books. What’s lesser known is that walking can also be excellent for burning  body fat. Walking at a brisk pace for an hour upon first waking up in the morning not only clears the mind, but, according to some studies, may also force the body to utilize fat reserves since there isn’t yet any food in the stomach. That being said, walking at any time of day is always beneficial, both physically and mentally. 

(I wouldn’t take my chances at 3 AM though—I happen to live in Toronto, and I also possess somewhat minimal faith in humanity). 

4. Tough It Out on the Treadmill (But HIIT Style)

Listen, I’m not about to sit here and pretend that 40 minutes of jogging on mom and dad’s dusty  treadmill from 1980-something in the basement isn’t a slog; I get it. For a far more engaging, effective and arguably less boring workout, take full advantage of your treadmill and use it HIIT style. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) incorporates cycles of intense cardiovascular activity, followed by a period of recovery. HIIT is not only more dynamic than steady-paced anaerobic activity, but it also provides more muscular benefits and burns more calories within a shorter amount of time. To use your treadmill HIIT style, incorporate intervals of high speed sprinting, followed by periods of walking or jogging. The basic structure for a HIIT treadmill workout may follow:

Warmup- 10 minutes

Light Jog

Sprint- 1 Minute

Your sprinting speed should be the highest speed setting on the treadmill that you can sustain for one minute whilst retaining proper running form and refraining from grabbing the handles. 

Recovery- 2 Minutes

Your recovery pace should be a light jog or a very brisk walk. 

Repeat Sprint and Recovery Cycle 6-8 times.

Cooldown- 5 Minutes

Gradually bring speed down from a jog to a light walk, and from a light walk to a full stop.

5. Invest in a Set of Resistance Bands

Ah resistance bands, A.K.A. a budgeting godsend. Resistance bands are compact, apartment-friendly, excellent for strength training, and can be used for multiple purposes  Coming in sets of varied heaviness, they are versatile enough to facilitate hundreds of exercises that work different muscle groups. Put simply, resistance bands are an excellent at home alternative for gym weight machines. Many, such as these and these, will run you under $20 as well. Plus, they are easy to store and come in cool colours, so that’s a big win.

6. Attempt The “Rasputin” Just Dance (No, I am Not Kidding)  

This sounds like a joke, but I promise this dance is not to be taken lightly. Watch this video  and you’ll see what I mean. Play along if you have the Just Dance game, but if not, feel free to play the video I’ve linked and dance along. Don’t be fooled by the infectiousness of Boney M’s Rasputin and the deceptively fun animations: this dance is four straight minutes of cardiovascular and muscular work. For all my slavic ancestry, I can barely get through it without my quads becoming alight with the fires of hell.

And with this list, I hope you are armed with a few more ideas to get moving once again in spite of what the world has thrown our way.

Miss ‘Rona : 0

You: 1

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Hi! My name's Hannah. I'm in second year, and I'm studying Media and Business at Western University. I love journalism, along with writing poetry, short stories, and editorial and humour pieces. Outside of writing, I love dance, bubble tea, anime, green tea, and my dog Charlie. I'm super excited to be writing this year :)
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