A few years ago I founded a Facebook running group called “Runners Helping Runners.” We continue to grow with 25,000-plus members. The description of the group is as follows:

This is a private RUNNING group where we talk about all things RUNNING without boring our non-running friends, a place where runners on all levels are welcome and respected, a place where honest advice is given and received, and a place where running-related pictures are welcome and encouraged.

During these unusual days when many of us are still working from home some due to the Covid-19 safeguards and restrictions, many runners in my group are struggling with their fitness. A lack of motivation and excessive anxiety has been a common theme. Here are some simple tips to improve fitness at home.

5 Tips to Staying Fit at Home

Body weight exercises. Many gyms are open again, but you don’t have to go to a local gym or have expensive home equipment to improve fitness. If you have a few hand weights, exercise bands, a kettle bell, and exercise mats, you can perform a multitude of exercises. You can do push-ups, stretches, dumbbell carries, one-arm kettle bell carries, squats, calf raises, slides, arm curls, and many other exercises right at home. I use the stairs going down to our basement constantly for exercise as well. I carry weights up and down, perform step-ups with and without weights along with calf raises. Be creative and get stronger right at home.

Go for a walk. It’s good for the body and the mind to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air. While practicing good social distancing, go for a walk in your neighborhood. Go alone sometimes, walk with your spouse sometimes, push the kids in a stroller–just get outside and get the body moving to improve your aerobic capacity.

Run some. Are you surprised that I would recommend running? If you’re a beginning runner you might benefit from my post, “6 Tips for Beginning Runners.” Don’t overdo it, but adding a little running with your walking to really get your heart pumping and clear your head. Don’t overdo it and have fun!

Eat better. I’ve heard it said that you “can’t outrun a bad diet.” I believe that is true. I have actually gained weight while training for a marathon. While we’re at home and rarely eating fast food, we have an opportunity to fine-tune our eating. Numerous websites exist to help track calories and nutrition facts. My favorite is MyFitPal. You can create a free account, set up goals, and the site helps track your eating and progress along the way.

Sleep well. As a marathon runner, I have learned that sleep is a crucial part of training. Our body rebuilds as we sleep and we should give it a high priority. You may improve your sleep patterns if you remove distractions as you wind down for the evening, turn off electronic devices an hour or so before bedtime, practice a sleep routine, reduce the temperature in the house, and make your room as dark as possible.

Many of us want to improve our fitness, but we’re so busy with work and life. These unusual times might prove to be the perfect time to begin or improve your fitness routine. Start today and don’t forget to HAVE FUN!

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