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The Friday Five

5 Fitness Tips to Keep You Happy and Healthy at Home

By Barbara Fernandez

As COVID-19 infections rise in the U.S., the forecast for the next four months is … exhausting. With few exceptions, we’ll be home for work, home for school, and home for the holidays. How to stay well and make the best of sheltering in place? Take a break from doom-scrolling and consider these tips to fight the winter blues (and pandemic pounds) so you can keep your mind and body healthy at home. 

You can take simple steps to improve your health and outlook that don’t take much time but make a big difference. Consistency is critical, along with making choices that will bring you the most results. Read on for five fitness tips to keep you healthy at home.

1. Hydrate

I know we’ve heard this before. Drink water, whether you like it or not, right? But did you know that drinking regular water isn’t the only way to hydrate your body? You can also drink coconut water or fruit-infused water. And the more raw fruits and vegetables you eat, the less water you need to drink.

Water is, of course, one of the very best ways you can hydrate. Our bodies are mostly water, and water brings all kinds of benefits:

  • Water lubricates our joints. So if your joints give you trouble, giving them extra lubrication can only be a good thing.
  • Water works like a shock absorber for the brain and the spinal cord. Who knew? If you’re an active person, this is probably even more important. You wouldn’t drive without shock absorbers, would you? So please don’t leave your body without them either.
  • Water is used by the brain to help manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters. We need those! As anyone with thyroid challenges will tell you, hormones are crucial to the body’s proper functioning. And neurotransmitters include those feel-good hits of dopamine and serotonin. You don’t want to be without those.

2. Find Your Why

You may have heard this expression before. Why do you want to be healthy and fit? If you don’t have an answer, you’re not likely to stick with any new habits.

Your personal motivation for keeping fit might be to sleep better. (Keeping fit does help you sleep.) Or, it might be to keep up with children in the family as they run and play. It might be to please that new person you’d like to get to know.

Your why doesn’t matter — as long as you’ve got one!

3. Create a Gym Wherever You Go

Exercise shouldn’t be confined to a specific place in your home or to the local gym. Do stretches in the grocery line, butt squeezes on the bus, or ab squeezes while sitting in traffic. Challenge yourself to find different ways to fit exercises into your day.

Creating a gym wherever you need to go can be fun. Better yet, do this challenge with a friend: How many different sneaky ways can you find to do exercises?

Tip: Resistance bands are a must-have to make the world your gym. You’d be surprised at what’s possible with a resistance band wrapped around the leg of a desk or just around your thighs (pull-ups, squats, leg lifts, anything).

4. Create a Social Circle

More people exercise when they do it with friends or family. And thanks to social media and the internet, you don’t have to be in the same room. Team up with friends to do a 30-day challenge together. (There are many apps and YouTube videos with free 30-day challenges.) Put your goals on social media and ask people to participate with you, or at the very least, check on your progress.

5. Combine Cardio and Resistance Training for Faster Results

The combo of cardio and resistance training is powerful. And when I say cardio, I don’t necessarily mean jumping around. You can work up a sweat doing full-body exercises such as mountain climbers, up-down pushups and burpees. You can do resistance training with weights and resistance bands, or just using the weight of your body.

Combining cardio and resistance training is particularly useful if you want to burn fat. HIIT training (high-intensity interval training) is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories quickly. If losing weight is a top priority for you, you’ll benefit from HIIT.

There you have it, five fitness tips to keep you healthy at home this winter. Hydrate, find your why, explore exercise no matter where you are, get social, and use a cardio and resistance combo for optimum results!

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Barbara Fernandez

Barbara Fernandez (barbarafern84) is a freelance health and lifestyle writer and voiceover artist. She writes about all aspects of health and fitness, wellness, and nutrition. She also voices narrations and podcasts: everything from a character voice giving math lessons to children to a friendly voice for SaaS instruction videos.

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