Local fitness pros share lists of indoor exercises to help stay fit at home
Tone your home body
As local fitness facilities close their doors for a while to help assist with minimizing the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the Vail Valley, we must all rely on outdoor activities (while being 6 feet apart for social distancing, of course), along with at-home fitness strategies to create or maintain strength, flexibly, agility and endurance.
John Mark Seelig owns GOAT Training in Edwards. He said individuals will each practice movement in a unique way, and that this block of time might be an opportunity to create new habits.
“Life has slowed down for many, and this could be their chance to make some life changes,” Seelig said. “When you exercise, you get a few moments to think about something else than our current world climate — it’s a healthy distraction. Exercise is a stress reliever and we all know these are stressful times. Sleep, moderate exercise and good nutrition are all huge contributors to a healthy immune system.”
Julia Clarke, owner of Mountain Soul Yoga in Edwards and author of “Restorative Yoga for Beginners,” said it’s “crucial that we keep moving during these challenging times.”
“Many people are already experiencing stress and anxiety right now, and a movement practice not only keeps your body feeling good, it can increase feelings of mental and emotional well-being,” Clarke said.
“Many locals might be alarmed by an interruption in their vigorous training, and I get that, but if you are already stressed then further depleting yourself won’t help,” Clarke added. “People should do whatever they can, but more gentle practices like walking and yoga have myriad health benefits. Now could also be a great time to try something new. Many of us in the valley focus on very repetitive movements as we focus on a particular goal in a particular sport. Take advantage of this time to try new movement patterns and different modalities.”
Jen Kaplan, owner of PeloDog Indoor Cycling in Avon, said exercise relieves stress, boosts endorphins and keeps us both mentally and physically strong.
“It is also something healthy that can help pass the time,” Kaplan said. “We need to keep moving forward through this crazy time, and regular exercise will help.”
Seelig said now is not the time to worry so much about your form or doing movement perfectly.
“At this time we are just trying to keep people active and moving,” Seelig said. “It’s hard to program people appropriately, variety and movement are more important than any specific exercise at this time.”
Make the space
Your at-home workout space can be really simple, Seelig said.
“We have been mostly using movements requiring only bodyweight, but have also introduced weighted backpacks,” he said. “Everyone in this town has some sort of backpack that they can load up with soup cans if they don’t have any weights.”
Follow GOAT Training on Instagram @getthegoat for workout recommendations from Seelig.
Clarke said all you really need is a clear space where you can move your arms and legs freely without crashing into things. She recommends connection to the internet as well, as there are so many great online workouts and classes available right now. Mountain Soul Yoga is offering online programming for members and to non-members for a donation. Full information is available at mountainsoulyoga.com/online-classes/.
“Even if you’re used to doing your own routine at home, you may benefit from having someone else guide you since connection to others has been drastically reduced,” Clarke said. “If you like to play music when you’re moving, you get complete control of the playlist. If you have weights, bands and exercise machines at home, that’s all a bonus.”
Kaplan said she would recommend creating a little “fitness sanctuary” if your space allows it — a simple, clean area where you can “retreat” to workout. Kaplan will be posting indoor cardio, sculpt, strength and stretching videos on vimeo.com/PeloDog.
“I also love being creative with household ideas that can substitute for gym equipment,” Kaplan said. “Soup cans instead of weights, pillow instead of bouncy discs, tennis balls instead of rollers.”
3 movement recommendations from John Mark Seelig, owner of GOAT Training in Edwards
- The squat
“There are many variations on the squat, but we have been loading a backpack with weight and squatting to whatever depth is appropriate for each individuals range of motion. When completing weighted movements, try to keep the total reps below 50. It could look like this: 12- 15 reps, 3 sets. When we are having to adjust to a lack of weight options this is a helpful rep scheme because most likely the weights are less than usual. If you can’t get to 12 reps, stop and reduce the weight. If it is easy to get to 15 reps, then add weight.”
- The pushup
“Not everyone can do a quality pushup from the ground and that is fine. You can always elevate the pushup to a bench or stair to make it a little easier. Once you figured out the best pushup for you, start with set 1 doing as many reps as you can but keeping it below failure. Take one to two minutes to rest. Repeat until quality of pushups decline.”
“Everyone should be trying to get outside as much as possible while still committing to social distancing. I tell my clients to just go for a casual and enjoyable pace one day to soak in the environment. If you can’t hold a conversation then you are going too hard. One day per week push your pace. We are not in a training mode at this time. There are too many variables in life, so let’s not stress about exactly how hard. Don’t worry about your watts, your heart rate, your Strava or your Fitbit. Make it simple. Go for a run, bike, skin, hike or anything you love to do — one minute hard pace/one minute easy pace,15 rounds. When I say hard — if someone wanted to talk to you it would be hard to talk back, but you could.”
3 grounding yoga poses from Julia Clarke, owner of Mountain Soul Yoga in Edwards
- Kneeling sugarcane pose
“From hands and knees, lift your right leg up behind you, then move your left foot to the left for balance. Reach your right hand to the sky so you’re balancing on your left hand and left knee and opening up to the side. Then, bend your right knee and reach back with your right hand for your foot or ankle. Pull your foot toward your glute and kick it away from you at the same time so you feel a good stretch across your right quads, hip flexors and shoulder. You can visualize the sail of a sailboat filling with the sea breeze and mimic that movement with your spine. Stay for at least five breaths before changing sides. Follow this with child’s pose.”
- Child’s pose
“From hands and knees, sit back on your heels and bring your forehead down to the earth or to a pillow made from your hands or forearms. Physically, it’s a lovely stretch of your back muscles, where many of us carry tension, as well as your glutes and quads. Energetically speaking, it feels very grounding and comforting. If your knees don’t allow you to sit back on your heels without pain, lie down on your belly instead. It might look simple but it’s incredibly powerful to connect your body to the earth. Take at least 10 breaths here and imagine your body sinking deeper into the earth.”
- Basic relaxation pose
“Pretty much anyone can do it — it’s just lying on your back with your knees propped up on a cushion and relaxing. I recommend covering yourself with a blanket and covering your eyes with a towel or eye pillow to support the relaxation process, and staying here for 20 minutes.”
3 indoor exercises from Jen Kaplan, owner of PeloDog Indoor Cycling in Avon
- Pelvic curl
“Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat and hip distance apart. Roll your hips up into the air, one vertebra at a time, hold at the top, and then come down one vertebra at a time. Think about engaging your belly first, then backs of the legs. This beautiful exercise strengths your core and legs, mobilizes your spine and opens your hips.”
- Spine twist supine
“Lie on your back, with knees bent in a lister “tabletop” position. Arms extend open to a “T.” Inhale as the legs go to one side — only so far that you can keep knees squeezing together and shoulders anchored — and then exhale through center and switch sides. This is a great strengthening exercise for the obliques and inner thighs, and helps with spinal mobility as we are finding ourselves more sedentary.”
“This can be done on hands or forearms, and to spice things up, side planks are a great variation. What is key here is to think of a plank as full body integration. This means we want to be active through our bellies, our legs and our upper backs — lots of energy and strength here. As for cardio, if you can get outside, all of the things us mountain dwellers love are great — hiking, skinning, biking. If you’re inside, never underestimate the value of jumping jacks.”
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