More tips on coping with the pandemic


Practising any kind of exercise regimen during a global health crisis, particularly one that mandates you stay indoors at all times, might be a difficult ask for many of us. But fitness trainers and nutritionists alike stress that staying fit is especially important during these chaotic times, from both a mental and physical standpoint — exercising helps to burn both calories and your anxiety, as the countless studies prove. Starting a fitness routine at home might seem daunting right now, so we asked Sinead Scott, Spa Manager and Nutritionist at the Native Club, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens, for some tips on at-home workouts.

Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

The gyms are closed. I don’t have a gym buddy. How can I stay motivated?

Engaging in regular physical activity is an excellent method not only to reduce and manage stress, but to also strengthen your body’s immune system.

If you are struggling to exercise without a gym buddy, schedule a Zoom exercise workout with a virtual gym buddy. If working out on your own at home is a challenge or you’re struggling to follow a routine, tune into live workouts on Instagram, Facebook live or YouTube where there are classes ranging from bodyweight and dance to strength-training exercises.

Fitness apps are another great platform to use because by tuning into and following an app, you are building a fitness community and making yourself physical and mentally accountable for your own fitness goals.

Keep an exercise journal where you can set goals and monitor progress.

Explore home workouts, don’t rush through them — take your time to exercise, learn to stretch and explore problem areas. Instead of having to rush out of the gym to get home and prepare dinner, use the additional 15 minutes to stretch and work on better cool-downs. Our bodies will thank us for this.

Sinead recommends breaking exercise time into ‘exercise snacks’. You can do 15 minutes HIIT in the morning followed by 15 minutes in the evening using a creative home circuit

I don’t have workout gear at home.

You do not need fancy gym equipment for your home exercises during quarantine. Use your body weight to do squats, pushups and lunges.

Use counter tops or chairs for triceps dips, and towels to aid in stretching. You can also do wall presses.

For strength exercises, load bags of rice or flour into a backpack and use it to do squats or shoulder presses.

Use two small bottles of fluids, or food tins, to do a shoulder circuit including three moves - lateral raises, front raises and the reverse fly. Perform three sets of 10 of each movement in succession for a real shoulder burn.

How often should I exercise?

Even though our current routine is largely remote working, the same lifestyle advice on how to stay healthy applies. This means that we should still be aiming for 30 minutes of activity per day and adding strength exercises at least two days per week.

I recommend breaking your exercise time into ‘exercise snacks’ — you do not need to do your 30 minutes of activity all at once, an example would be doing 15 minutes HIIT in the morning followed by 15 minutes in the evening using a creative home circuit.

Also, if your job usually requires you to remain in a prolonged seated position focus on mobility and flexibility training, including postural exercises such as spinal twists and hip flexor stretches. 

What are the best workouts to do at home, ranging from high-intensity to simple ones?

The most effective training is HIIT mixed with mobility and flexibility exercises. Alternatively, skipping ropes are another excellent form of exercise. Other great workouts are mind and body exercises such as yoga, tai chi or Pilates. Resistance band exercises work well as home workouts, helping strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility.

How can I get the kids involved?

Kids learn by example and can take part in all weight-bearing exercises. Set out a time every day for physical activity. Even child-friendly games like mini gymnastics, mini trampolines and skipping are great ways to elevate your heart rates. Also following child-friendly platforms like The Body Coach PE classes daily are great ways for family fun.

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