Turning your living room into a home gym

By Sarissa Valk

There is just a handful of lucky people who own a fully equipped home gym. For the majority of people who don’t own one, getting in some exercise during the current lockdown can be challenging. However, there are many ways for you to stay active at home.

Working out and exercising on a regular basis has some serious health benefits. Next to losing weight, working out helps lower the risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Getting some exercise is also great for your mental health, something you should be particularly conscious about now that you’re locked in all day.

The global pandemic has given many people elevated symptoms of anxiety. The COVID-19 crisis has caused people to have abrupt symptoms of anxiety, especially since everyone is in a state of panic. Exercise is the perfect way to turn your mind off and reduce stress. Physical activity has proven to stimulate various hormones that make you feel happy and energized. It’s the perfect way to get your mind off those annoying and repetitive thoughts while getting in a state of relaxation.

Getting some exercise is hard when you can’t go to the gym or have access to a trainer who has the right exercises for you. That’s why local gyms have come up with the brilliant idea of online training, in various versions. They let their personal trainers make exercises that are easy-to-follow and proceed to post the videos on their social media channels. This helps getting their members to stay active and prevents them from canceling their subscription.

Yorne Dik (21) works as a trainer at Lijfkracht, a gym located in the Dutch town of Wormer. Together with his coworkers he started to give online training as soon as the gyms were closed. “We used both live streams on social media and video’s on YouTube to reach our audience. To get them to engage, we came up with the idea of a daily challenge that consists of a small list of quick workouts to do. Also, we have given our clients access to an online coaching portal where they can reach one of our personal trainers to ask questions or ask for advice”, he explains.

Lijfkracht decided to schedule the online classes at the same time the usual classes would have taken place. “This decision has made the online classes a huge success, also because there is a limit of just 12 people. Our 30-minute YouTube workouts have been watched pretty often.” The gym has received positive messages from its clients and is glad that they have the chance to continue to offer their service. “It’s a strange situation for everyone, but we will get through it together. Even if we have to do outside classes with more distances.”, Yorne says.

In case you don’t have a gym subscription, don’t worry; there’s always the magic savior called YouTube. YouTube is freely accessible to everyone, so there goes your excuse. On this platform, you can find workout videos in all sorts and there are many YouTubers who make workout videos, such as Pamela Reif, Chloe Ting, or MadFit.

Of course, it sounds easy to just go ahead and follow a workout video. It’s not, especially at home. You need to have both motivation, and some basic equipment. All the equipment you need to get started include workout clothes, shoes and a yoga mat, and suddenly, you’ve turned your living room into a temporary gym.

Exercising starts with having the right mindset. It helps a lot if you know when to eat prior or post-workout. You don’t want to get started on a full tummy, nor an empty one. If you eat something small early in the morning, such as a bowl of oatmeal or a banana, you will be physically prepared for your sweat session. It’s important to wait 30 to 60 minutes for your food to be digested though.

Here comes the hard part: getting the workout done. Find a place at home with minimum distraction. You might not notice, but there are a lot of distractions everywhere. Even your pets can be a huge distracting factor (they seem to love yoga mats). Turn on your favorite workout class and get the job done. Try to push yourself to keep going, you will feel very satisfied after. The main job is to stay active!