COVID-era Fitness Options Offer Expansive Springtime Wellness Regimens
today at 9:21 pm
BY SANDRA GUY
Rumors of gyms’ and workout clubs’ deaths post-COVID have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, new workout clubs are opening and offering more exercise options than ever before. And online exercise classes via Zoom and remote video are here to stay.
So there’s no better time to start honing your workouts to achieve the results you’ve always wanted. After all, March is National Athletic Training Month.
Fitness experts say it’s not just about going back to a gym or subscribing to a series of exercise videos. The key is to focus on your health and conditioning.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s ability to turn people’s focus to basic health and safety regimens have informed how to get fit going forward. Though dubious advertisements and infomercials about powders, slimming machines and will continue, experts say follow these basics:
• Walk — outdoors if possible — whenever possible. Studies show that walking outside, taking care to wear a double mask and maintain the COVID-required six-foot social distance from others, can boost your immune system and your mood, helping ward off depression and unhealthy weight gain.
• Master the basics, including adhering to federal guidelines to get two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to stay healthy. You could start with 30-minute brisk walks, five days a week.
• Build a strong aerobic base with longer, slower exercises before testing intervals or other higher-level techniques. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you can finish a 60-minute walk in 45 minutes, burn more calories and, if you eat properly, keep diabetes, heart disease and high-blood pressure at bay.
• Your mom was right about this one: Get adequate sleep — seven to eight hours, if possible.
• Give yourself a weekly treat or reward for eating real food, preferably plant-based, such as fruits and vegetables, lean protein from foods such as tofu, lentils and beans, and heart-healthy fats such as those from tuna, salmon and mackerel. Remove the skin from chicken.
• Stick to a routine. Even if you must wake up at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., schedule a no-excuses time to exercise.
Speaking of no excuses, personal trainers — both in-person and on video — can be found in a Google search or by spending an afternoon reading reviews of workout programs.
In Chicago alone, workout clubs offer mask-required, socially distanced classes from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. in everything from cycling to yoga to high intensity interval training (HIIT). Or look for fun classes such as Zumba, salsa or kickboxing.
Or search for online workout programs that let you build your own workout by stacking 20 minutes of cycling with 30 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of stretching, back to back, without having to switch websites or click into new web pages.
And finally, find someone who inspires you every day. Whether it’s a celebrity, a singer or a family member, remind yourself that you, too, can become an athlete.