February is already upon us (where did January go?) and I don’t know about you, but the effects of the holidays are still lingering on my body. It is safe to say that I enjoyed it a bit too much and I've been hunting for ways to get back into a workout routine.
Fortunately, after many years of forcing myself to workout again, I have developed a bit of a mental routine that I would like to share with all of you. These are small things, but when you really think about it, it makes the task of getting back into shape just a little less daunting.
I’ll be honest, the last thing I want to do after a long day of work is to go and lift heavy weights. While there are some people who love it, most of the people I know struggle to find the motivation to do it.
Well, I have some good news for you.
That’s not the only way to get fit! There are plenty of fun alternatives to running and weight lifting that could get you more excited, especially during a pandemic.
Personally, I like to mix it up from day-to-day to keep things interesting. I alternate these three exercises daily; rope skipping, running stairs and burpees. Do any of these exercises for twenty minutes daily and you’ve begun your new workout routine.
Additionally, another very effective, fun and completely free way of exercising is shadow boxing. If you’re a boxing or mixed martial arts fan, you will find this effective and alluring. No need for gloves or mats, just set a 5 minute timer and strike a boxing pose. Imagine you’re in a boxing match and start throwing punches. Even if you’re a beginner, as long as you keep moving for those 5 minutes, you will be burning calories.
I recommend doing this for 4 rounds daily and it will get the ball rolling for you. If you have a deeper interest in proper boxing form, you can always refer to a Youtube instructional and improve your technique.
As an extrovert with little free time, I like the idea of sharing my workouts with a friend. It hits two birds with one stone and makes the workouts more fun. You can help push each other and perhaps even make it competitive to see who can do more reps or last longer during an exercise.
If you’re in lockdown and unable to invite a friend over, competing against each other over webcam is effective as well. A little bit of competitiveness never hurts, especially if some bragging rights are at stake.
Another fun exercise, especially for couples, is couples power yoga. It’s a little more intense than typical yoga and will add a lot of fun for you and your partner.
Even shadow boxing can be done with a friend.
Many people are under the impression that it takes 2 hours in a gym daily to start shedding weight - this is simply false and not realistic for most people.
As I mentioned earlier, something as simple as walking up stairs for 20 minutes daily will garner you some interesting results. Put on your favourite music and see if you can even make it to 20 minutes - I dare you!
I have found walking stairs to be the ultimate exercise in any setting (lockdown or not). It is an amazing cardio workout that will help tone your legs and build your butt. This 20-minute rule can apply to many other exercises, including rowing, cycling, jogging, skipping and shadow boxing.
Find the method that works best for you and enjoy! Reminding myself that I only require 20 minutes helps me to put my running shoes on daily. Twenty minutes is less time than a sitcom and a workout is a lot more beneficial than a show.
So in summary, any single of these 5 activities per day can help you get back on track:
Motivation is something we all strive to find, especially when it comes to exercising. I hope this was a helpful gold nugget for you all because I know it has worked for me during these last many years.
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Words by Matt Soroka