Staying housebound can result in serious stasis. If you’re like most people, you sit at your desk with your laptop to do your work, sit on the couch to catch up on whatever Netflix or Disney+ show you’re hooked on, and loll around on bed to finish the e-book you’re working through. You may get up to heat up some pizza rolls, but then sit back down to consume them.
This is all well and good for the odd work-from-home or vegging-out day. But if you’re making a conscious effort to stay away from crowded public spaces, that should include the gym and workout studios—which can be a huge bummer, both for your usual routine and for your peace of mind. But staying home doesn’t have to mean automatic atrophy. With these six simple and effective DIY workout tips, keeping away from the gym won’t be too bad.
1. Get moving outside
If you aren’t feeling sick or actually quarantined, you can still get exercise outside as long as you maintain a safe distance from others—and, if you’ve been on conference calls and staring at your laptop all day inside, the fresh air will feel pretty good, too.
Block off the amount of time you’d usually devote to the gym or a workout class to taking a brisk walk, jog, or bike ride. You don’t really need anything to do this, other than some sneakers and clothes you don’t mind sweating in (and a bike, potentially). But it’s not a bad idea to have a good pair of earbuds (like $20-ish Mpow Flames, which are waterproof and stay in the ears during even the most vigorous of workouts) to escape into your favorite tunes, and a running watch, like the Garmin Forerunner 245, to track your distance and get the stats of your workout. (You can also use a running app, like Strava, if you don’t want a separate device.)
2. Use YouTube and apps for strength or cardio sessions
If you’re committed to staying indoors, you can still get your sweat on in with the help of YouTube or fitness apps.
There are a lot of workout options on YouTube —so many that typing “30-minute cardio workout” into the search bar gives you seemingly endless results. One tried-and-true option is Popsugar Fitness. This channel has workouts from certified trainers and Barry’s Bootcamp and Zumba instructors in a range of session durations, from five minutes to an hour.
Nike’s Training Club app offers free or premium memberships ($14.99 a month or $119 yearly) and hundreds of options that allow you to try out different workouts, from high intensity interval training to yoga, and target certain muscle groups, if that’s your aim. Another option is Skimble, which also has free and paid memberships (individual workouts are just 99 cents each, or you can subscribe to a year for $19.99) and quality instruction from certified trainers.
You can also reap the benefits of a Classpass membership, even if you’re holding off on visiting physical workout spaces. The Classpass app has a library of video and audio workouts from professional studios and instructors included with your membership, so you can get the feeling of going to a barre class—or, at least, getting a lesson from someone who teaches at a studio—without leaving the house.
3. Get tools to enhance your home workout experience
Keeping workout equipment at home can help make laptop and app-led workouts more effective and exciting.
A great, inexpensive and space-conscious option: Resistance bands, like this set from Fit Simplify. These come in a pack of five different strength levels, plus an instruction booklet to teach you how to up the ante on exercises like squats, leg lifts, and bicycles.
If you’re missing your gym’s weight rack, consider Core Fitness’ Adjustable Dumbbells. They can be loaded with 5 to 50 pounds of weight each from a simple twist of the handle to help you build muscle from your squats, lunges, overhead presses, and more.
For cardio, try jumping rope, which burns calories and gets your heart rate up. The WOD Nation jump rope is sturdy, swings fast and smoothly, and can be customized in length to fit your body.
When it’s time to stretch it out, use a foam roller. We like the LuxFit one, which helps ease out tight, sore muscles, and also serves as an effective plank stabilizer and yoga accessory.
4. Chill out with some yoga
Feeling the need for something more zen? (Can’t imagine why.) Roll out a yoga mat and work on your practice in your house—we’ve tested a bunch and like the reversible Lululemon mat best. To deepen your practice, a yoga block and strap, like this set from Gaiam, are only Prime two-day shipping away.
For instruction, YouTube is your friend here, too. You can find your fill of Vinyasa flows with that search term alone, but if you want to stick with one playlist, check out Yoga with Adriene, a favorite of Reviewed’s trending content editor Amanda Tarlton, who moonlights as a yoga instructor when she’s not writing. This popular channel, led by Austin, Texas-based yogi Adriene Mishler, has a range of videos from short ones for beginners, long ones for advanced yogis, and some with fun, esoteric themes, like “finding your inner artist.”
5. Just get up from your seat sometimes
Even if you don’t want to work out, it’s important to remember to not just sit all day. One easy way to do this is with a fitness tracker, like our favorite, the Fitbit Charge 3, which gives you a quick buzz when you’ve been sitting too long to prompt you to move around. (For a low-rent version, simply set the timer on your phone for 50 minutes and get up when it goes off.)
If you foresee longer-term remote working, you may want to consider investing in a standing desk. We love the iMoVr Landing Desk, which is easy to assemble (as in, no screws are required to build it) and its intuitive lift controller switches it seamlessly from sitting to standing and vice versa. The iMoVr also has a timer function that allows you to set reminders to get on your feet.
6. Upgrade your at-home fitness
There’s never been a better time to get the boutique workout experience in the comfort of your own home.
The Peloton, a stationary bike with a cult following that allows you to plug into live classes, is a great option for anyone who likes spinning and being part of a community. The Mirror is a stylish reflective screen that streams live and pre-recorded bodyweight workout classes and is best for someone who loves cardio (and might be missing their Zumba classes right about now). Tonal—a screen-and-home gym hybrid with AI-powered weights to up your strength training from your living room—is good for someone whose main goal is to build or maintain muscle.
You certainly don’t have to invest in any of these high-tech, high-cost devices—but if you’ve been thinking about it, well, no time like the present.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.