Sanjiva Wijesinha -writer and physician

Short stories, Travel and Health Information

Taking the Gym Home

Exercising at Home during the period of Corona virus isolation isn’t difficult if you know how to ‘Take the Gym Home’ – and make your home conducive to regular exercise!

In the years Before Corona, it was very popular for those of the younger generation to join a gym and regularly undertake their physical exercise in a well equipped place in surroundings that were conducive to enjoyable and effective exercising.

These days, the Coronavirus has put a stop to all that!

Physical distancing and social isolation has curtailed all forms of gym attendance. Those of us who are confined to our dwelling places are finding it isn’t easy to keep physically active. Being unable to leave our homes makes it easy for those who have nowhere to go to exercise and have food in their homes – or food delivered to their homes –  to exercise their jaw muscles rather than their limb muscles. Needless to say, it is highly likely  that most of these folk will end their periods of isolation a few kilograms heavier than before COVID-19 hit us.

Even if we are aware of the value of maintaining our bodies in good shape, in maintaining our stamina, strength and suppleness, it is not easy these days to motivate ourselves – particularly if we are prevented from stepping outside!

The consequences of becoming more fat and less fit  is that we will in due course develop the natural consequences of accumulated inactivity – like high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.

But you don’t have to bemoan the fact that the gym is closed or that the police will fine you if you go out for a walk. You don’t have to have invested in an expensive treadmill or even barbells and dumbbells. All you need is a home and willpower – and be smart enough to use the stuff that is found around the house.

When gym junkies talk about cardio workouts, all this really means is doing some physical activity that gets your heart beating faster. BRISK walking (not strolling or ambling along) for half an hour each day is fine – the result to aim for is to walk fast enough to make yourself breathless. Check your pulse before and after your period of exercise. The increase in your pulse rate is an indication that your heart has been activated to beat faster.

If you don’t like walking in the open outside your house – or if the local regulations in your part of the world preclude you from getting out – you can walk within your own home. If your house or apartment is small, consider jogging in the same spot – slowly at first until you build up stamina and then gradually increasing your pace.

For those who like a more fun method of getting aerobically active, just put on some music – and dance!  Of course, if you do this with earphones on so nobody else can hear the music you are moving to, the rest of the family may think you a bit weird if they see you gyrating and jumping around in silence. However, bopping and shaking to music is not only effective in getting your heart pumping, it can also put you in a happy mood!

While walking, jogging and dancing (or skipping if you can find a skipping rope) in your own environment are great ways to improve your aerobic fitness, you need other methods to improve the strength and tone of your muscles.

This too can be conveniently done at home. You don’t need a modern gym’s “strength-training machines” to strengthen your muscles. The biggest muscles in your body are those in your legs – the Quadriceps in the front your thigh, the Hamstrings on the back of your thigh, and the Calf muscles behind your lower legs below the back of your knee.

Just doing a series of squats (say ten squats at a time) at home while brushing your teeth, when watching TV or just after you get out of bed – is a good way of strengthening these muscles. If you want to strengthen your arms and shoulders, there is no better way than doing pushups – while sit-ups are a great way of building up your abdominal (“stomach”) muscles.

If you are interested, there are several useful places to find information on the internet – just check this article about Everyday Exercise from the BBC .

And if you are more ambitious,  have a look at this  one about High Intensity Exercise at home.

Good luck!



This entry was posted on May 12, 2020 by in Health Matters and tagged , , , .

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