Staying fit through coronavirus: Top ways to work out at home

The gym may be shut, but you can still enjoy some quality exercise at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Our lives may have been turned upside down – at least temporarily – by the COVID-19 outbreak, but one thing still within our control is our exercise routine.

And House of Wellness TV co-host Luke Hines says it’s crucial to keep up fitness training even while we’re all socially distancing, as much for our mental as for our physical health.

How exercise will help us get through coronavirus

“The most important thing is, regardless of how we move, we have to keep moving to make sure we maintain a positive outlook in times like this,” fitness trainer Luke says.

“So much of our health comes down to our mind and if we allow anxiety around COVID-19 to overwhelm us, we won’t be healthy.

“We’ll be in a state of exhaustion, and that will affect our gut health, it will affect our mental wellbeing.”

Maintaining an exercise routine was also among six key tips for managing COVID-19 anxiety recommended by Flinders University’s Orama Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

So, with many regular activities limited by coronavirus containment measures, how can you keep your mind and body active so you can stay fit, happy and healthy?

1. Embrace the great outdoors

Luke says coronavirus containment measures provide an excellent opportunity to step outside and enjoy fresh air when you exercise – while still staying at least 1.5m away from anyone.

“Australia has countless beaches, parks, national parks, reserves – they’re all spaces with so much area that you will be able to have that beautiful personal space to do exercise,” Luke says.

Think cardio workouts, whether walking, riding your bike or running.

“When it comes to pushing yourself a little bit further maybe run up some hills, or do beach sand sprints, which can really elevate the heart rate,” Luke says.

“It’s all about doing something different to get results you may not have had before.”

2. Reconnect with your furry friends

If you have to give your two-legged training buddies a spell for now, your canine pals will be more than happy to step up to the plate.

“For so long we’ve been forced to go to work and leave our animals behind – probably bored out of their mind – this is the best time to reconnect and be active with your pet,” Luke says.

“Take the dog for a walk. Get them involved in frisbee or throw the ball.

“This type of incidental exercise is not only good for the body, but at a time when the media cycle is quite daunting to watch, it’s so good for the mind to get out and switch off.”

3. Make your home your makeshift gym

Right now our homes are no longer just a place to relax at the end of each day.

Instead, living spaces have quickly become home offices and remote classrooms – and Luke says this can easily extend to home gym.

“There’s so much exercise that can be done in the house or on a balcony or patio,” he says.

“The best weight, beyond any dumbbell or barbell, is our own body weight – it’s the best tool and we’re carrying it around all day.

“Or pick up those old bricks you never got around to using – whatever bits and pieces you might have lying around you can use to hold something heavy and squat.”

4. Just get moving, any way you can

Luke says regardless of which exercise you choose, the most important thing is to just move and do it often.

“Moving every day is the key,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be high intensity, but through a time like this moving every day is going to be fantastic for your mood, your immunity, and make you feel good.”

Luke’s online program, Luke Hines 10, combines meals, moves, and mindset coaching over a 10-week schedule with 10-minute daily workouts.

“Your workouts don’t have to be long,” he says.

“They can be done anywhere… in your lounge room, in your bedroom or down at your local park, you don’t need any equipment.

“Ten minutes is all it takes per day to give yourself an incredible workout – it burns body fat, increases lean muscle mass, as well as increases your mood.”

home fitness

Online fitness programs and apps to try at home during self-isolation

  • Luke Hines 10 (online): Free 10-minute sample workouts, plus healthy recipe inspiration.
  • Centr (online): Get a taste of Chris Hemsworth’s fitness and healthy eating program with a free six-week trial.
  • Sam Wood (Facebook): Live at-home workouts at 9am each day via Facebook. Kid-friendly workouts are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • PopSugar Fitness (YouTube): A library of fitness classes ranging from boxing to HIIT, cardio, abs and more. With sessions ranging from 10 minutes to an hour, you can easily fit them into your daily schedule.
  • The Body Coach (YouTube): ‘PE with Joe’ sessions for kids are streaming daily, plus a library of workout videos for both adults and kids.
  • Amanda Bisk Fitness (YouTube/Fresh Body Fit Mind app): The former Australian pole vaulter, exercise physiologist and yoga teacher is running a 14-day fitness lockdown challenge, offering 15-minute workout or yoga sessions every day.
  • Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone (YouTube): A range of walking-based workouts, plus strength training and targeted session for lower body, abs etc.
  • HASfit (YouTube): A series of workout videos, from prenatal to cardio, muscle building, low impact, kickboxing and some designed specifically for seniors. It also features a playlist for workouts by body part.

More coronavirus advice:

If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, call the 24/7 hotline on 1800 675 398. You can also use the Healthdirect symptom checker.

Instant Consult offers on-the-spot online GP consultations and can issue medical certificates, prescriptions, radiology and pathology requests and specialist referrals.

Written by Claire Burke