According to the CDC, getting physical activity can be a challenge while staying at home. However, it’s possible—and important—to be physically active while social distancing. Physical activity reduces blood pressure and anxiety and helps you sleep better. It can also help to improve mood and increase energy level.
Since March, I’ve been looking for ways to safely stay in shape. Initially, I set up an overly ambitious plan with sweeping goals. After beating myself up for not following through with my self-imposed regime, I had a talk with an acupuncturist at Blue Heron who told me to take it easier on myself and to start with walks over running, integrate gentle yoga, and to start taking short meditation or Qi Gong breaks when my eyes get overwhelmed with the computer screen. If I wanted something to spike my heart rate, doing a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training — they make you perform explosive intense movements over short periods of time with an even shorter rest) at home could satisfy that need.
Seven months later and -11 pounds and counting lighter, these are my top vetted spots for yoga, meditation, and HIIT.
- https://www.glo.com/ – Glo.com – My favorite (fee-based) streaming yoga website. Glo provides access to live classes; brows and searchable recorded classes with time filters from 5 minutes to over an hour; meditation; lectures; pilates; and yoga. – At $18 a month, I am able to do basic searches like “morning” and find a perfect 15-minute stretch session before I sit down at my computer. My favorite teacher is Elena Brower, but there are many to choose from, including local teacher Katherine Budig!
- YouTube is the best stop for free yoga. If you find a teacher you love, look them up on YouTube (ex. Elena Brower yoga yields this gem, along with an Adidas playlist of yoga classes)
According to Jeffrey Chand’s Qi Gong blog, Qigong, pronounced “chee gung” is an ancient Chinese moving meditation exercise that looks similar to Tai Chi, but is easier to learn and practice. Qigong involves:
- body movement
- mental focus and intention
It is gentle on the physical body, and can be practiced by anyone. While it has spiritual applications, Qigong is not a religious practice – so it is inclusive of all people and backgrounds.
- Qi Gong with Jeffrey Chand
- And my favorite: a Qigong energy routine inspired by Donna Eden’s Daily Energy exercises designed to wake up your body’s energies and get them moving in the right direction
*I’m a fan of taking a quick Qi-Gong break after a long Zoom meeting!
This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Note: these are tough. Be gentle with yourself if you’ve never done this type of thing. When I started doing these, I had to take a lot of breaks, and it was humbling. However, I’ve grown in endurance in a short amount of time, which is remarkable
- I started with this free HIIT video by Abnormal Beings
- Access this free HIIT playlist and vary up your workouts from week to week
No matter what you do, make sure you are taking time for yourself at least once a day. Your body and your mind will thank you.