We all know how important exercise is for lowering recurrence risks, and so I wanted to share with you some of the ways I will be exercising over the next few weeks while we’re in COVID-19 social isolation. Since I live in Canada where it can get pretty damn cold in the winter, making outdoor exercising not the most pleasant, these are some of the ways that I keep exercising inside fun and fresh during the long winter months as well. I hope that you find them not only helpful, but an enjoyable way to pass some of the long hours ahead of us. Plus, exercise is great for your mental and emotional health, and during these times of uncertainty and fear, getting some regular endorphin boosts is a great idea 😊
8. Using your body for weight training with things like push ups, squats, lunges, and sit ups
While not the most exciting way to exercise, this one is definitely effective. I especially like these types of exercises because they don’t require a gym membership or even any type of at-home equipment, making them an excellent way to maintain the strength of your muscles while we are being tempted with too much couch time. Check out the suggested workout here (for beginners) or here (a little more advanced) for a tight 20-minute workout.
7. Seated exercises
If you are lower on the mobility scale, have low energy, are in treatment, are recovering from surgery, or have any one of the many factors affecting your ability to exercise, try out a seated exercise routine. They are also helpful for those who live in small condos or apartments and don’t have a ton of space for working out. Here are a few great ones:
6. Free weight lifting
Again, not the most exciting option but definitely effective! You just need a few free weights of varying poundage, and what better time to online shop than when in quarantine? 😜 Here are some similar to those that I have at home. And below is a list of great free weight exercise routines from YouTube.
5. Running the stairs
Strengthening our muscles seems like an easier thing to accomplish at home than cardio. When we think cardio, we think running, jogging, or biking outdoors or having to buy expensive machines to accomplish this indoors. Not so! If you have a set of stairs in your house or apartment building, a great way to get in some really good cardio is to run them a few times. This can be hard on your legs, so it is important to recognize when your leg muscles are fatigued and to stop in order to avoid tripping and injuring yourself. Start with just a few times up and down, and then build to more with time. I also recommend doing this with running shoes on to give yourself more grip, especially on non-carpeted stairs.
Pilates is a great form of exercise because it concentrates on some of the same things that yoga does, such as flexibility and balance, but places more of an emphasis on physical conditioning and strength building. There are some pilates workouts that require some equipment, but there are plenty of options for your workouts that do not. Below are some good equipment-free routines that you can try out from the comfort of your home.
This is one of my favourite ways to do cardio because it is so much fun! And a great stress reliever too. I was a dancer growing up, both in formal lessons and just in my everyday life 😝, and so this one really appeals to me. Even if you aren’t a “dancer”, you can definitely do this! Just put on your favourite tunes and jump around 💃 Since you are isolated at home with loved ones or are there on your own, you can dance like no one is watching! If you are like me and need a little more structure in your workouts, there are plenty of recordings on YouTube of routines from the video game Just Dance you can follow (or steal the actual game from your kids if they have it 😜). There is also Zumba, for which there are plenty of videos online as well that you can follow along to. Below are some options for each.
We’re getting down to my absolute favourite ways to workout indoors! For those who don’t know, rebounders are those little round trampolines that exercise classes use sometimes. I absolutely love my rebounder. I originally got it because rebounding is great for your lymphatic system and getting it moving. Many people who have undergone surgery for cancer have also had lymph nodes removed. Our lymph system doesn’t have a heart like the circulatory system does to help it move its fluid through the body. When you don’t have a complete lymph system anymore, it becomes more difficult for your body to move lymph fluid around. This is no good, because our lymphatic system is a big part of our immune system. “The lymphatic system plays an integral role in the immune functions of the body. It is the first line of defense against disease. This network of vessels and nodes transports and filters lymph fluid containing antibodies and lymphocytes (good) and bacteria (bad)” .
Our lymph system relies heavily on our movements to pump this fluid around, which is why we have such a concentration of lymph nodes at the main joints of our bodies (groin, arm pits, neck) where they are exposed to the most movement from our limbs and head. This movement is something that is even more important when your lymph system has been compromised by the removal of nodes. “Any form of exercise is beneficial, but one of the most effective involves rebounding […] it kicks the lymphatic system into high gear. The force of gravity on the body fluctuates, going from a heavy load at the bottom of your bounce to almost zero at the top. [This] stimulate[s] the one-way valves in your lymphatic system to remove toxins without stressing your joints” . I like to do high-knees on the rebounder, almost like I’m jogging. I do 2-3 minutes of quick speed and high intensity, and then I reduce that and bounce more gently for a few minutes before increasing the intensity again for 2-3 minutes. I do this for about 30 minutes total. There are also some rebounding workout routines you can follow, a few of which I have listed below.
My favourite way to exercise at home has got to be yoga. I love the combination of mind, body, and spirit; it brings me so much stress relief and calms my mind, making it as good for my mental and emotional health as it is for me physically. I already posted this week about the free online yoga and meditation studio that Commune is offering for the next few weeks until yoga studios are able to reopen again. Once that stops though, there is just a bevy of free yoga videos on YouTube and other platforms. My absolute favourite channel on YouTube is Yoga With Adrienne. She is relaxed, funny, and very calming, and she never makes you feel like you should be anywhere with your skill level other than where you are at. She offers a lot of modifications to make poses easier for those who have mobility or flexibility issues, and her musings that she often includes during a flow always entertain or make you think. When I was first diagnosed and doing yoga regularly for the first time, Adrienne’s videos gave me a lot of comfort and relief from anxiety. I just had this sense of not being alone and that everything was going to be okay when I was following one of her videos, and that continues today. She has yoga for so many unique circumstances, like “Yoga for Love” and “Yoga for When You Are in a Bad Mood”, not just the usual “Yoga for Weight Loss” or “Yoga for Toning” (although she does have those too). Below are some of my favourites of her videos, but there are just so many on her free channel, so I highly encourage you to explore them and find your own favs. And just for your info, I’m not getting anything in return for promoting her channel; I just truly love it!
And that’s it! My favourite ways to exercise indoors. I hope that you find something in here that you really enjoy and that you maybe even want to work into your regular routine. I especially hope that these give you some fun and productive ways to pass the many hours we have ahead of us in the next two weeks. Things are likely to get worse before they get better, so let’s keep supporting and caring for each other the best that we can from afar. Sending you all love and hugs in these uncertain times.
Happy Healing ❤️
- The Lymphatic System – https://www.lgdalliance.org/the-lymphatic-system/
- How Trampoline Exercise Benefits the Lymphatic System – https://cellercise.com/immune-system/trampoline-exercise-benefits-lymphatic-system/