At Home Exercises to Keep Fit During Quarantine

woman watching fit tutorial on internet while doing exercises

Moving your body is important on so many levels. During this time of social distancing, maintaining fitness should be a top priority, along with good diet and stress mitigation. And it’s entirely possible to get a stellar workout, without all of the expensive equipment. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, seven-time Mr. Olympia and action-hero extraordinaire, said, “There are a lot of things we can’t control during this crisis, so we need to focus on what we can control.”

He said, “Gladiators and Vikings didn’t have gymnasiums. I started my own fitness journey with chin-ups on a tree branch by a lake in Austria.”

If the idea of pumping iron, a la Arnold, doesn’t do it for you, get into yoga during this time away from society. While any kind of sport or exercise can be food for the body, mind, and spirit, yoga guru BKS Iyengar said, “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.”

When it comes to staying fit at home, there is something for everyone, whether it’s calisthenics, aerobics, Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, pilates, or bodyweight exercises.

None of these activities require a gym, and they can all be done at your own pace. Or, if you’d like, you can follow online videos of expert fitness teachers. There are plenty of great yoga classes online taught by a variety of dedicated and experienced teachers.

Six Facets to Consider for At-Home Workouts

Make sure you’re healthy

Whenever starting a new workout program, it’s highly recommended that you first visit the doctor for a checkup.

Cardio 

These exercises help with blood circulation and include some degree of increased heart rate. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s good to get back into cardio gradually to build up your endurance, without putting too much strain on your body.

Lymphatics

Moving all of your body parts, including head, neck, feet, hands, arms, legs, and torso are important to get lymph moving throughout your body. Lymph glands help remove toxins from the body and can be stimulated with exercises that cause muscle contractions.

Respiration

Deep breathing is amazingly beneficial and has been practiced for thousands of years in the older parts of the world, such as Asia and India. 

Muscles

Stronger muscles grow when we put them under strain  (not enough strain to cause injury, of course). Then the body is forced to repair the muscle fibers so that they rebound stronger and larger. With stronger muscles, it’s easier to balance. Two of the greatest benefits is that using weights also strengthens the bones, which helps to stave off osteoporosis. 

Balance and Sports Performance

We’ve learned a great deal about exercise over the last few decades — it’s become both an art form and a science. Even if you are sequestered at home, you can still work on strength, conditioning, and balance, so that you can excel at your favorite sports activities when you next engage in them again.

Yoga Checks All the Boxes 

Just over a century ago, yoga masters began to travel to the West to spread the practice of yoga. By the 1920’s Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India with the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and others. Today, yoga practice is a worldwide phenomenon, and the reason is easy to understand: anyone can do it, and no equipment is needed. Of course, there are fancy clothes, mats, blocks, and balls that can enhance your workout, but none of these are absolutely necessary to the discipline.

Yoga’s benefits are unparalleled — increased flexibility, better muscle strength and tone, greater respiration and vitality, weight loss, improved cardio, superior balance, and even protection from injury. There is even evidence that yoga reduces inflammation when practiced regularly. Yoga is a mind-body exercise, which makes it helpful for reducing stress, thinking more clearly, increasing focus, fighting depression, feeling happier, calming down the mind and body, reducing anxiety, and even feeling more altruistic. 

Getting Started With Your Yoga Practice

If you are patient and easy on yourself, yoga is rewarding from the very beginning of practice. Of course, beginners may feel awkward, unsure, or rigid, but this is to be expected.

Yoga is all about poses. As you go along, you learn where your strengths and weaknesses are, and your balance increases. When you can go out into the world again and find a yoga teacher, he or she can help make little corrections in your practice. It’s a work in progress. But if you want to know how to get started, the answer is simple: Get started now. Sign up online and go for it.

Gaia’s yoga videos offer much more than just a taste of what yoga is like — they offer hands-on experience from expert teachers representing different schools. And if you want to go beyond yoga, or add other forms of exercise to your stay-at-home program, Gaia also offers other fitness content, including pilates, Tai Chi, Qigong, and many general workout classes, as well.

B K S Iyengar once said, “Yoga saved my life. I took it up for my health, and then I took it up as a mission.” Now you can take it up for your own reasons — whether it’s because you’re stuck at home, in need of at-home yoga workouts, or you just want to give this Eastern art form a try. 

Your Body Is a Superorganism Thanks to These Microbes

cancer cells

Dr. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of epigenetics who worked as a stem-cell biologist has effectively bridged the gap between mind, body, and spirit. Of particular note is his approach to the immune system, a widely appreciated (yet poorly understood) function of the body.

We Are Made of Microorganisms

As humans, we each possess a microbiome, a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit the body. Our bodies are home to about 100 trillion of these microbes, and their role in protecting us from disease cannot be overstated: They are not just necessary, but crucial, to human life on a great many levels. 

Microbiome research is an emerging field in which researchers investigate how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health and states of mind. Beneficial microbes in the gut have much to do with how efficiently we can extract calories from different kinds of food, how likely we can escape colon cancer or heart disease, and even how we metabolize different kinds of drugs. 

And, as Lipton teaches, these microbes regulate a wide array of aspects related to both mind and body—from the removal of toxins to gut feelings, and from sleep patterns to appetite. In fact, because of their role in the production of certain hormones such as serotonin, a deficiency in the microbiome literally affects happiness levels and may contribute to anxiety and depression.

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