My plan for this summer was to take a class or get a job, and then attend a few weeks of tennis and volleyball camp to prepare for the fall season. Instead, I found myself lying on the sofa, having a Grey’s Anatomy marathon. But any marathon counts as exercise, right?
However, getting off the sofa and making exercise a daily habit has helped me stay sane. Here are some of my go-to quarantine exercises, using limited equipment, so you can stay active at home.
Keeping your core and ab muscles strong is integral to overall health. Do a crunch while reaching for that drink or snack while you’re watching Netflix. If you do fifteen crunches a day, you’ll be well on your way to a six-pack (and I don’t mean a six-pack of soda!)
When you’re lying on your side zooming a summer class, lift your hips off the ground, firing up those obliques. Flip sides occasionally to even it out.
Working your legs is simple. Just take the stairs. Think about how many germs are on that elevator button. It also doubles as cardio, so it kills two birds with one stone. Or, if you’re told to do the vacuuming, do some lunges while you’re at it. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead, and don’t bend your knees more than 90 degrees. You’ll feel it in your thighs.
Don’t forget to work your arms. Flies are lateral movements that tone your shoulders and upper biceps. If you have access to a gym, hold hand weights or kettlebells while performing this movement. Self isolating? Shut down? Use this opportunity to put everything in your pantry on the top shelf. That’s right, lift and pinch your shoulder blades together, making sure your shoulders are relaxed. If that’s not enough, pick up all the clothes you’ve been leaving on the floor. Don’t forget to do your laundry!
Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Read a book or take online classes to keep your brain in shape.
In all seriousness though, I tried to maintain some sort of normalcy throughout this weird time. Stir-crazy for the first few weeks of quarantine, I ran to the track near where I was staying in Boston, and ran laps and up and down stadium steps until I had to run back to sign onto my next class. The tennis coach, Hung, sent out weekly fitness challenges, called “Hung Fitness”, which I did religiously, if not to get away from my family.
Luckily for me, sports facilities opened just as I arrived home to Hong Kong. For a blissful two months, I played tennis with old opponents and was tortured with running drills and punishment burpees. My hands burned with every push up on the hot cement, but I found myself enjoying fitness for the first time. I went to the gym, made a failed attempt to start running again, and swam laps for the first time since I quit the swim team in sixth grade. I also joined a squash league and played volleyball with middle school teammates. When the government shut down sports facilities due to a third wave, I rediscovered YouTube workouts and attempted to follow a few fitness challenges. I also started hiking again and even found myself waking up at 6am to beat the summer heat. My mom’s Zoom Zumba class taught me moves that you will NEVER see me practice at SHAC night.
These are just some ways to exercise over this unusual summer that worked best for me. Do whatever works best for you, as long as you get your blood flowing. And after you get moving, don’t forget to stretch, even if you’re just reaching for the remote control.