By Janet Eastman
People have gained weight during the pandemic. The Yale School of Medicine points to increased stress, comfort eating, upended routines and, during the first months of stay-at-home orders, gyms and parks were closed, forcing some to find a different form of exercise. Or they just stopped walking, jogging and working out.
Doctors are hearing from patients who have gained five, 10 and even 30 pounds, according to Yale Medicine. They suggest people step on a scale at least once a week to calculate their height/weight ratio, or body mass index (BMI), and know where they land on the weight spectrum.
Then make a plan to stay fit or get fit.
Cheryl Wardell, a PE instructor at William Walker Elementary School in the Beaverton School District, says you can work out while having fun. She jumps into a “dance party of one” when she’s a home.
Here are her other tips to start or restart a fitness regime that you’ll want to keep:
Pick a challenge of the day such as core strengthening or balance exercises, and see how many rounds you can do. YMCA 360 has virtual workouts on YouTube.
Pet playtime: Take breaks to romp, wrestle, run with animals. Your dog may need to lose a little in the middle too.
Visit the Beaverton School District Brainboost website to find ideas for engaging physical activity, from quick or calming movements to high-intensity interval Tabata training for kids and adults. Take a video break in between work and workouts.
Use a height-adjustable, standup desk and play dance music as you return emails. “I dare you not to move,” says Wardell. Flexispot, which designs ergonomic office furniture, makes standing desks, portable height-adjustable desk top models and standing desk converters (starting at $120 with $30 off with the code M30) plus a desk bike that lets you pedal while you work.
Test out a new-to-you app: A fun, free and functional one is PlayOut: The Game of Fitness. Heath & Fitness is one of the most popular categories on the App Store and MacWorld picked five fitness apps, free to low-cost, to help us stay healthy at home: Seven, FitOn, Yoga for Beginners, MyFitnessPal as well as the popular Nike Training Club.
Have the entire family make the time for physical education: Traditional PE classes have been transformed over the last decade. Instead of chasing and fleeing activities and single sport classes, students today benefit from a comprehensive approach that includes yoga, aerobic dance, speed skating, skateboarding, unicycling and disc golf.
Exercise during TV commercials. Hit the rug and hold a plank pose or pump out a few squats when your favorite show has been interrupted.
Set up an indoor or outdoor obstacle course or ninja warrior course. Dick’s Sporting Goods has a Slackers Ninjaline 36-foot-long line with hanging obstacles for $99 (free shipping on order of $49 or more).
Jump rope. Make a jump rope from recycled plastic bags and have a goal of jumping for one minute then adding minutes over time.
Sign up for Marathon Kids, a free, online running program that lets kids of any fitness level track minutes and miles.
Wardell also recommends you know how to motivate, trick or incentivize yourself into staying fit. Here are more tips:
If you love to socialize, get out the rain gear, find a walking friend and put dates on the calendar.
if you know you are a morning exerciser, set a consistent time to start your day with your favorite workout.
Are you competitive? Find someone to challenge with during short bursts of exercise throughout the day. Discover which one of you can do the most steps or sessions of one minute of squats.
Are you cooperative more than competitive? Work with someone toward a common goal or help each other be accountable for reaching a goal of 30 minutes of exercise a day. Touch base to make sure you’re both on track.
Be consistent. Try 60 minutes of physical activity throughout each day for two weeks to build stamina and establish a habit.
Find a virtual workout group through a gym or create one with a small group of friends. “Accountability and belonging to a group are why group exercise is booming,” says Wardell.
Have fun. Don’t worry about the exact time or miles, just be in the moment and do something active that brings you joy.
Here are more fitness sources:
Oregon Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) has downloadable Health Move and Mind fitness calendars with suggestions in English and Spanish.
Active Home by OPEN (online physical eduction network) has a wide variety of activities designed specifically for distance learning.
Yoga With Adriene is a Youtube channel with yoga practices organized by time length.
Train with MLS is Major League Soccer’s free, at-home skill training program for fans who embrace the motto: “Stay home. Lace up. Let’s go.”
Just Dance is a YouTube channel of dance instruction videos. The music and rhythm game on Nintendo Wii shows steps created by choreographers and led by real kids.
Nike Training Club has a fitness app with free home workouts, nutrition tips and wellness guidance. Nike.com also sells exercise clothes, shoes and equipment.
You don’t need a gym, weight room or field to be physically active. Search #PEatHome online to find hundreds of resources to keep moving with little to no equipment.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has deals on fitness and recreation equipment like trampolines, bikes, basketball hoops and ping pong tables as well as outdoor, camping and hiking gear for the backyard or the backwoods, plus golf, footwear and clothing for fall.
Jenson USA has has up to 67% off on select helmets and carries mountain, road, electric and commute bikes, kids bikes and apparel, with free shipping on order of $60 or more.
Moosejaw has bikes, gear, cycling clothing and accessories. Receive 30% back in Moosejaw reward dollars with the code CANDYCORN.
Backcountry has Santa Cruz bikes and Giro helmets plus a Memorial Day sale with up to 50% off men’s, women’s and kids clothing plus hiking, camping, biking, climbing, running fly-fishing and paddling gear.
The Brrrn Experience offers an at-home fitness slide board that includes on-demand workouts through 2020.
Hyfit Gear has smart fitness resistance bands and guided workouts with professional trainers.
Theragun PRO is a deep-muscle therapy device used to enhance muscle recovery, release stress and tension, and soothe discomfort
Gear, Apparel and Shoes
Footlocker has new fall gear and is offering free shipping on order over $50.
Noli Yoga has flattering women’s active wear and fitness apparel in fun, bold performance fabrics. Receive 15% off your first order.
Fitness for Kids
GoNoodle is a free, online resource that offers ways for kids and families to be active, stay mindful and keep on learning. There are videos and weekly Good Energy emails with more suggestions.
Cosmic Kids YouTube channel has more than a million children following instructions on yoga, mindfulness and relaxation. Parents and teachers report significant improvements in self-regulation, focus and empathy, according to the video producers.
Yoga Foster is a YouTube resource with yoga and mindfulness instructional videos to help kids energize, calm down and prepare to sleep.
Get Kids Moving is a YouTube channel of tabatas, high-intensity interval training, with popular kid-interest themes such as Star Wars and Harry Potter.
Meddy Teddy is a cuddly way for kids to practice yoga and meditation.
Stomp Rockets are 100% kid powered. Run, jump and stomp to launch foam rockets up to 100 feet in the air.
Waboba NASA Moon Ball can bounce up to 100 feet in the air. The special edition Moon ball has the official NASA logo and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969 moon landing. And there’s always the old favorites of skipping rope and kicking a soccer ball.
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