Covid, Exercise, Health, Lifestyle

Exercise in the Age of Covid

Michael St Michael

2 minute read

If you’re like me, getting to the gym in the best of times can be a challenge and that was before covid-19. With little kids at home and the distinct feeling of being home-bound, getting proper exercise has been a real challenge. COVID-19 infections are at an all-time high in the US, and with public health measures now ongoing for months, many people have still not been able to return to their old routines. It is vital to keep your activity level up and not break the bank while doing so.

Most outdoor activities are winding down in northern states as the year grows colder, so sports like hiking, biking, swimming and kayaking are coming to a close. In the southern states, where I happen to live, the arrival of slightly less oppressive weather means that several of these activities are just now coming into their own.

But let’s assume you are stuck in the house due to work or family commitments and are further limited in your gym options because of COVID-19. What then?

Without breaking the bank, there are some good options. Obviously, if you do not own a good pair of running shoes, invest in a pair. Even in cold weather a sharp run around the block can do you good unless you have gimpy knees like me. You do not need to train for a marathon, after all, as recent research is clear: shorter, more intense workouts are valuable and help maintain heart, circulatory, and respiratory health.

Below I share three ultra-cheap, no-brainer workout items which have the advantage of low-cost, portability, and high impact:time ratio.

1. Jump rope.

Yes. There, I said it. If, like me, the last time you jumped rope was in a round of Helicopter with your neighbor Suzie on whom you were crushing in grade school, then you need to go back to the well on this one (not Suzie, the jump rope). Pick up a nice jump rope for $7 on Amazon. If you are worried about your floor or your knees, a good mat will set you back under $30. If you still aren’t convinced, then consider this: just 15 minutes of jumping rope will burn a cool 200-300 calories. During my gym days my go-to cardio workouts were either on the rowing machine, treadmill, or stationary bike, and I know I never got close to those results. Ass kicking? Yes. Buy a jump rope and then, actually use it.

2. Resistance bands

Resistance bands have a number of awesome advantages. First, they are incredibly cheap for what they deliver. Second, they can offer results which rival workouts with weights at a fraction of the cost, without any of the space required.

A 70 kg person (that is 154 pounds for the metrically challenged) working out on resistance bands will burn 108 calories, nothing to sneeze at. The added benefits of resistance training, which like weight training, breaks down muscle which the body regenerates, include better strength, tone flexibility, and balance. Regular users experience better muscle-to-fat ratio as well.

If you are wondering what routines to adopt in your resistance-band workout, there are dozens of good examples on Youtube.

3. Trampoline

Trampolines are a gray area in terms of cost because they can be spendy. A top quality in-home personal trampoline can run into hundreds of dollars. A good mini trampoline, though, can be had for $50-70.

Mini trampolines are compact, easy to store and do not require a ton of space to use. Just watch out for those low ceilings and especially ceiling fans!

Exercise on a trampoline has proven major health benefits. It is a whole-body workout that improves cardiovascular health, stamina, and reduces stress and tension. Jumping on a trampoline also enhances basic motor skill function and balance. Not only will your workout strengthen your legs, but your core, glutes, back and arms.

Just jumping on a trampoline, without incorporating weights or other exercises, you can expect to burn 200-300 calories per 30 minute session.

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