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Working out during a pandemic

Life during the current COVID-19 pandemic has often felt anything but active — unless you count walking from your bedroom to the fridge 10 times a day. 

It can be hard to get out of bed in these depressing times, let alone find motivation to stay physically active. But for those looking to take on an exercise challenge while they’re stuck at home, or anyone looking for effective alternatives to their classic burpee and jumping jack routine, here are some unique workouts to try.  

Start with a dance  

For beginners looking for an effective but not too intense way to stay moving at home, meet your perfect match: dance fitness.  

Watch a video or two from the YouTube channel MadFit run by Maddie Lymburner, who creates coordinated workouts to your favourite hit songs. Dancing to Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber is the perfect beginner level fitness activity at home. MadFit’s dance fitness workouts, and many other dance workout videos on YouTube, have graspable choreography and light cardio, which give you an enjoyable yet effective means of staying active through a personal dance party. 

dumbbell
Stuck at home with no access to weights and other gym equipment? Never fear: There are alternative ways to work out indoors. (Photo by ClaradoolaK on Pixabay)

A big HIIT 

Those who are seeking to challenge their bodies more intensely without being at the gym will find high-intensity interval training (HIIT) ideal. HIIT is a type of exercise routine involving short intervals of intense workout mixed with intervals of more moderate workout. For example, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s seven-week HIIT program includes a 19-minute workout where you jog for 10 minutes, run quickly for another four minutes, then cool down for five. 

Caroline Girvan on YouTube has several HIIT-based fitness video series, which range from one week to 50 day-challenges. The daily challenge aspect of Girvan’s HIIT series allows for accountability and inspiration to stay consistently active while at home.  

Mind and body 

If you are interested in a challenge for both your mind and body, yoga is a must try.  

According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness practices such as yoga, qigong and tai chi can reduce stress, boost memory and lower emotional reactivity among other benefits.  

Yoga With Adriene, another YouTube channel, curates a wide variety of yoga practices from strengthening your self-awareness to strengthening your muscles. Adriene Mishler’s channel includes yoga practices for heart health, courage, lower back pain and many other topics. 

Dance, HIIT, yoga: These three forms of fitness are each unique in action and benefits, but are all special in their ability to be accomplished at home. By simply choosing to stay active during a global pandemic means you have already done the hardest part. The rest will benefit your physical and mental health, and of course, it adds a little amusement to otherwise banal days. So, are you ready to get moving? 

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