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For the Health of It! Transitioning from the Gym to At-Home Workouts

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

By Jamila Bryant, Injury Prevention Program Administrator, DOTI

Three weeks and counting since fitness centers have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spreading across Denver and the rest of the United States. Our current times of living through a health crisis, the uncertainty of an end, and transitioning to a temporary new routine can be challenging experience for a lot of people, especially for all the “gym rats” out there. I can attest to this because I’ve been going to fitness centers for almost 21 years.

I started my career as a “gym rat” in college and since, have developed a strong relationship with fitness centers throughout the years. Whether it was everyday living on the home front, vacations, or a military deployment, I’ve always found my way to a gym to get in a workout. Whether utilizing cardio equipment, free weights, weight machines, working up a sweat in a spin class, playing basketball, bump-set-spike for a match of volleyball, or attending a group fitness class, I’ve always enjoyed the space and opportunity fitness centers provide to accomplish physical activity, which contributes to my overall health. However, due to current times, the luxury of and ability to go to a fitness center is now a memory of the past, at least for now.

Like many people who are in the same situation, I’ve had to transition my workouts to “at-home” workouts since the spread of COVID-19. Transitioning to at-home workouts has not been easy, but what has helped me continue my fitness journey indoors is knowing my overall goal, to maintain a physically active lifestyle and associated health benefits. Like any goal, in order to achieve it, you have to adapt and adjust accordingly when challenges arise in order to reach your end destination or goal, and this situation is no different.

Not having current access to fitness centers, I’ve turned my spare bedroom into an “at-home” gym with the help of YouTube, and my personal equipment (see picture below).

Photo shows fitness ball, exercise mat, and various weights in a corner of the writer's living room
Snapshot of my at-home fitness equipment (jump-rope, not pictured).

The structure of my workouts has changed since I don’t have as much equipment a fitness center provides, but I am still able to get in some good physical activity at home. I’ve used my creativity to develop routines for circuit training and have subscribed to a few YouTube workout channels to help me “feel the burn.” I’ve also participated in the Instagram “10 for 10 Push-up Challenge” to add some fun to the days, but only after being tagged, or shall I say, challenged by a friend. I miss the Stairmaster machine at the gym so much, I now purposely leave items upstairs and take random walks upstairs just to get my legs moving. Lastly, I’ve touched up on my dancing skills while listening to music (cable-free household, lol) since spending more time at home over the past couple of weeks. By the time this is all over, I think I will make a pretty good back-up dancer, lol.

In addition to home work-outs, I’ve also been able to take walks in my neighborhood and went for a bike ride as well to get some fresh air and physical activity in. Going for a 20-30-minute walk can add just enough physical activity to your day to meet daily physical activity recommendations. I love taking walks because it’s a free activity, it requires no equipment, just about everybody can do it (if abled), you have an opportunity to explore your neighborhood, park, or trail, and you get a chance to build your relationship with Mother Nature.

Above: Jamila, left, and her bike, Silva, right.

In conclusion, what was once a dreaded time being away from the gym, has now transitioned to new ways to experiment with my inner child mind of creativity to find ways to be physically active at home, in the absence of a fitness center. Although there lies uncertainty on when fitness centers will reopen, and our lives are back to “normal” (or will this pandemic create a new type of normal ???), we can still find ways to be physically active in our homes and communities, “Just for the Health of It.”

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