Many of us have gotten creative with our workouts when gyms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of that creativity took us outside to get exercise through bike riding, running or neighborhood walks. But what if your gym is now closed or it is now too cold or wet where you live to continue exercising outdoors?
There are a variety of ways to address this issue that don’t cost much money or time. Different workouts that can be done from the comfort of your home in about 15 minutes are listed below. Please consult with your physician or a personal trainer before beginning a new workout routine. The exercises listed below are suggestions from various sources. Please note that the AIA Trust is not a physician, nutritionist, or certified personal trainer.
Before you start
Preparation for an at-home 15-minute workout is somewhat universal. Find a clear space in your house so you can move freely without hitting any furniture or walls. Keep a water bottle nearby to stay hydrated, as well as a towel. Have some of your favorite music playing to keep you motivated.
No equipment necessary
There are many at-home workouts where you are the only equipment needed. Some exercises for a 15-minute full-body workout that only require your own body weight include:
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees (running in place while bringing your knees as high up to your chest as possible)
- Sit-ups and push-ups
Doing a circuit of these types of exercises a couple of times for about a minute each (with a minute or two break in between) will help get your heart pumping and build strength. These exercises can be done at your own pace.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
If you want an advanced workout however, incorporate them into a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session. HIIT workouts comprise a variety of short, intense spurts of exercises where you put in maximum effort the whole time followed by an active recovery period. These workouts are often viewed more favorably than traditional, longer moderate workouts because they help improve cardio fitness and offer strength gains in less time. HIIT is also considered ideal for weight loss because this type of workout can increase fat burning and energy expenditure long after the workout is complete.
The exercises listed above can used for a HIIT workout, but the moves are performed faster to help you see more results in less time.
Other exercises to try with HIIT include:
- Planks (holding yourself up in a flat plane on your elbows/forearms and toes)
- Side-to-side runs
- Triceps dips:
- Grip the front edges of a chair or bench with your hand.
- Hover your seat just off and in front of the seat, feet flat, and legs bent so thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Straighten your arms. This is your start position.
- Lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
- Then, engage your triceps to press back to start. That’s one rep!
- Reverse lunges (Step back rather than forward and pull yourself back up with your front leg, with or without dumbbells.)
“Mountain climbers” are another equipment-free, heart-pumping exercise you can do at home. From the push-up position, alternate moving your knees towards your chest as quickly as you can without raising your hips.
You can also isolate these at-home workouts by different parts of your body if you prefer:
- Lower body (squats, jumps and lunges)
- Upper body and core (push-ups, planks, sit-ups and crunches)
- Full body cardio (mountain climbers, high knees and jumps)
Equipment-based at-home workouts
There are also plenty of options if you’re accustomed to using gym equipment for your workouts. For example, including resistance bands in your workout can also help you burn fat, build muscle, and increase your heart rate. Resistance band workouts are ideal for any muscle group—hamstrings, quadriceps, biceps, shoulders and back. Be sure to have something sturdy to wrap the band around, like a pole or doorknob.
Using dumbbells is another effective way to conduct a 15-minute at-home workout. The key is to not just do standard curls while standing in place, but to also get active with the dumbbells by doing exercises like these:
- Deadlifts: start with the dumbbells in your hands in a bent over position and raise yourself up.
- Upright row: hold dumbbells in front of you, keep your shoulder blades back and raise the weights vertically while lifting your elbows skyward.
- Dumbbell split squat: start in a lunge holding the dumbbells at your sides; squat back and down to lower your hips and shift your weight back up with your front leg (without letting your back knee touch the floor).
- Renegade row: from a pushup position with your hands on the weights, row one dumbbell towards your side while balancing on the opposite hand and feet. Hold for a second at the top, return to start position and do the same for the other side.
- Lateral lunge: hold weights on your shoulders, with your elbows up, move to one side and squat back and down with the “stepping” leg while the other stays straight. Push up with your bent leg to return to your starting position.
At-home yoga exercises
Yoga is a great 15-minute at-home exercise for multiple reasons. It not only serves as a physical workout, but also a stress reliever, which is always welcome during trying times like the pandemic. Yoga also offers something for everyone, regardless of experience level.
A 15-minute yoga workout can take you through various positions that can help you stretch out your spine, loosen muscles and build strength. For example, the “cat-cow” pose has you inhale and arch your spine so your stomach sinks down while your tailbone lifts upwards as you are on all fours (cow).
The second half of the pose has you exhale and push yourself into your and knees as you hollow your stomach, round your spine and tuck your chin towards your chest (cat). The alternating poses will help you feel your collarbones spread and the back of your neck lengthen.
Outdoor at-home exercises
There are still opportunities to exercise outside if you live in an area where it is warm, dry, or if you are willing to brave the elements. If you walk or jog outside, follow social distancing guidelines just as you would anywhere else. Avoid big crowds of people and stay at least six feet away from any fellow walkers or joggers. Do not touch rails or posts. Carry gloves, tissues or hand sanitizer if you know your walk or run might require you to touch crosswalk buttons. Be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Additionally, try to start any outdoor exercises from your front door rather than drive to a park or track. Follow the safety guidelines mentioned above if you do decide to venture out of your neighborhood.
Maintaining a consistent workout routine is a great way to take care of yourself from a health perspective.
Please consult your physician before starting a new workout regimen.