Niki Campbell by Niki Campbell
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If 2020 taught us anything it’s that we must be ready to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. From how the world works, learns, shops and gathers, 2020 has been about finding new ways to do ordinary things, including going to the gym.

The fitness and wellness industry saw some of the most significant changes as countries, regions and cities created COVID-19 mitigation plans that limited how fitness facilities could operate. Many closed or reduced their hours and Americans felt the effects. Research points to a wide range of health problems associated with a more sedentary lifestyle during COVID-19 lockdowns, including weight gain, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Some fitness facilities have continued to operate with streaming classes, outdoor workouts, and online programs for members. However, if your gym doesn’t offer online options, you may want alternative ideas for staying fit. Whether it’s in the comfort and safety of your own home or outside at a park, track, or other venues, there are many ways to stay active until the fitness world returns to normal.

Fitness experts offer these tips for staying fit during the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions:

  1. Make life your movement. Not every workout needs to be on a treadmill or in a spin class. Use everyday activities as opportunities to incorporate movement when pressed for time. Pick up the pace when walking the dog. Create a family workout challenge while playing with the kids. Make cleaning a cardio activity by adding in aerobic activities such as stair climbing.
  2. Step into a streaming class. Group fitness is a big attraction at gyms. If your gym doesn’t offer streaming classes, look for free online streaming workouts on platforms such as YouTube. Just search for your favorite class type (for example, “30-minute cardio HIIT” or “45-minute low-impact strength” and see what pops up. The offerings online are seemingly endless, with paid apps such as Daily Burn, Apple Fitness+ and Peloton offer monthly streaming packages as well.
  3. Create your own home gym. You don’t need expensive cardio equipment or a full rack of weights to create a home gym. Simply invest in a few affordable items to make working out at home easier, such as a good quality yoga mat, a basic set of dumbbells (5, 8 and 10 lbs. to start), a jump rope and a step/bench. With these items, you’ll have a home gym set-up that doesn’t overtake a room and can be stored easily.
  4. Explore your surroundings. COVID-19 may have closed down indoor exercise in your area but the great outdoors is still open for business (check local regulations and restrictions). Explore new parks, running trails, bike paths and bodies of water if weather permits in your part of the world. Outdoor exercise offers myriad benefits and challenges your body in different ways than using indoor equipment. Always follow COVID-19 safety recommendations, such as staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask when you are around other people and proper handwashing when using public facilities.
  5. Work with a health and exercise professional online. Over the past year, numerous personal trainers and health coaches took their businesses online to help clients stay focused on their goals. Having a plan and someone to hold you accountable increases your chances of success. Find a qualified and experienced trainer who can support your goals online and provide that accountability.

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents many uncertainties, one thing remains true: Your health and wellness should be a priority. Incorporating movement and finding support for your goals just takes some creativity and a willingness to explore new ways of fitting in movement.

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