How to Stay Fit When You Are Isolated at Home

Those of us in Europe and North America are really starting to feel the impact of Covid 19 on our running and training. Basically all races between now and June have been cancelled and it can be challenging to stay motivated when things are uncertain.

I think it’s important to keep a larger perspective in mind and focus on how we can come through this stronger and with a greater appreciation for the things we take for granted (gyms/fitness facilities, group runs, races, regular schedules, the ability to go out whenever we want, socialization, etc).

Even though this is stressful and hard we can use it to develop a higher level of gratitude. When you think about it we don’t have to run, we get to run.

How to Stay Fit When You Are Isolated at Home

Move Your Body Every Day

Move your body every day as a way to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. If you can still run outside count your blessings! There have been a few countries/cities that have instituted running bans (Spain) or not being able to go more than 2k from your home (France). When using proper social isolation the fresh air and exercise can be a boost to your immune system and mood. But it is important to avoid overtraining during this time because it can cause stress to your immune system. If you notice symptoms of illness be sure to back off the intensity of your workouts and give your body more rest and support.

Online Resources

Utilize the online resources available. There are a variety of online/fitness classes that can be accessed for free or at relatively low cost. You can find everything from yoga, Pilates, body weight routines, strength training, Zumba, HIIT, cycling, rowing, and running workouts.

Use What You Have at Home

There are still so many great ways to exercise from your home even if you don’t have any equipment. Some examples include: pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, jump rope (with or without the rope), mountain climbers, planks/side planks, bicycle crunches, lunges, hip thrusts, squats, yoga flows, etc. If you have stairs in your house or apartment you can run stairs. You can also do running and mobility drills like high knees, grapevines, donkey kicks, hip abductions (out to the side), and much more.

Beware of Over-snacking

In special situations and circumstances we often give ourselves an “out” when it comes to following healthy habits. Remember that the foods that keep you feeling healthy and strong in normal times will also be the ones that best support your body during a pandemic. Overeating and over-snacking are often symptoms of anxiety and being outside of our normal routine. Having more awareness in this area can help you reach for a better coping mechanism in times of stress.

Get That Treadmill You’ve Always Thought About Buying

This is an investment so don’t rush into a decision. Think about the following:

  1. Budget- Figure out what you can realistically spend. And know that you often get what you pay for. Treadmills less than $500 are often not made the withstand the rigors of regular running because they have less powerful motors and shorter narrower decks. If running is your primary treadmill use you’ll want at least a 3.0 horsepower motor and a deck length of 50-60 inches and at least 18 inches wide.
  2. Make a list of features that are non-negotiable and think about the amount of space you have for the treadmill. When we purchased our treadmill I knew we needed a fairly powerful motor, a large enough deck to accommodate a good running stride, and an incline/decline feature. Decide if you want your treadmill to have a built in screen, docking capability, USB, and capability to stream workouts or simulated courses. You often pay more for more technology.
  3. Read reviews for that particular treadmill.  Often a wealth of information can be gleaned from others who have purchased a similar model.  Usually the cheapest and most expensive TM’s are ones you should avoid unless you have unlimited funds.
  4. Some highly recommended brands include Woodway, Landice, Precor, Peloton, Nordic Track, Sole, and Proform (we have the Proform Pro 2000 model from a few years ago).
  5. Check second hand options like Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and the like. When you know what you’re looking for you can often find nearly new treadmills for good prices. You may even find an acquaintance who will give you their unused treadmill for free.

We did a whole 2-part podcast episode on treadmill training here.

And if you think treadmills are boring, check out this interview with Florian Neuschwander who set the 50k treadmill record.

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