Long jogs on the beach. Skate sessions at the park. These are just a couple of ways you may typically like to break a sweat during the summer months. But since many are still quarantining indoors, your workout plan may need a bit of an adjustment.
That’s why we reached out to three fitness experts — Spiked Spin founder Briana Thompson, certified fitness and wellness coach Coach Cass, and health coach Ariel Belgrave — to talk about ways we can continue nurturing our bodies, even if we’re in our living rooms.
“Taking care of our bodies is the number-one way to help us combat and navigate these times because it's all we really have,” says Coach Cass. “If we don't have health and wellness, we don't have life.”
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t bust a move. And considering the climate we’re navigating, we actually could really use it. From workout routines to ways to stay zen, read on for how to have a healthy hot girl summer at home.
We may not be hitting the gym this summer, but movement is crucial to both our physical and mental wellness. Coach Cass emphasizes the importance of movement in aiding our immunity and overall well-being.
“When your immune system is built, your bones aren't sedentary, your mental and spiritual levels are at peace and your happiness meter is high,” she says. “It's very hard to fall sick, and if you do, you will recover very quickly.”
The key is not overdoing it, since high-intensity exercise can actually weaken our immune systems.
“You put yourself in a stressful state, so your immune system reflects that and leads to dysfunction that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days,” David Nieman, DrPH, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University and director of the university's Human Performance Laboratory, told Health in April.
Coach Cass recommends finding workouts that are fun and easy to do. Not sure where to start? If dance is your thing, her platform, Kukuwa Fitness, offers multiple easy-to-follow dance and body sculpt routines inspired by Central, East, South, West, and North African beats. Prefer something more traditional? Belgrave recommends yoga and HIIT, while Thompson enjoys home cycling and deep stretching.
Just make sure you take it slow.
“When you're at home you don't have an instructor to correct your form, so it is imperative that people focus on taking the time to learn how to do things correctly even if you are doing them slowly,” Thompson says. “It's better to do something slowly and right than quickly and wrong.”
Spending extra time at home means you’ve probably got the quarantine snacks on deck. But we can’t lean on them as our main source of sustenance and expect to get all our needed nutrients.
“I think it's important to remember we always need plenty of water and vegetables no matter what your diet is,” says Coach Cass. “Your body is your personal temple, and you won't put anything in your temple because you want the temple to be clean.”
Crack open a cookbook and chef it up. That way, you know exactly what’s going in your body. Tired of doing the dishes? Try prepping parts of meals beforehand or keeping your kitchen stocked with foods that are easy to prepare.
“I always have easy things that I can make simply like salmon in the air fryer or salads that are literally just throwing a bunch of veggies in a bowl,” Belgrave shares. “When I'm not in the mood for any of that, I support some of the local restaurants in my neighborhood.”
If you do opt for takeout, just "be smart about it," Belgrave advises.
"When ordering out, aim for a balanced meal that gives your body the nutrients it needs to operate at its best," Belgrave says. "This meal will ideally have lots of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats (such as nuts or avocados), and healthy carbs (such as whole grains or sweet potatoes)."
Wellness & Mindfulness
As within, so without, which is why we need to make sure we're looking after our headspace, too. To round out your at-home fitness routine, try making time for activities like journaling or meditation.
Not only does meditation help reduce stress, but it'll also motivate you to slow down and unplug. Since we're lounging around more, it's easy to find yourself stuck scrolling through your phone, which isn't the best for our eyes — especially if you're already putting in a lot of screen time while working from home.
Belgrave also recommends adding simple self-care habits to your routine, such as getting seven to eight hours of sleep, taking mental breaks, finding time to breathe, and being okay with saying "no."
And above all else, be gentle with yourself.
“These are unprecedented times and nobody has all of the answers,” Thompson adds. “Give yourself some grace to just be, and know that whatever that means for you during this time, that is perfect.”