Tips to work out at home

Tips to work out at home

Experts tell you how to stay fit when you can’t go to the gym

Use household items such as water bottles if you don't have access to weights. In picture: Hitesh Chhabria.

With gyms closed, many fitness enthusiasts have taken to working out on their own at home.  

However, without the physical presence of a trainer, it is easy to injure yourself. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Pick a space

Choose a part of your house that is clear of obstructions. Of course, empty rooms are a luxury most people don’t enjoy, so clear out whatever furniture you can. Ensure there is enough space for you to move around without hitting something.

Get equipment in order

Even at home, put on your gym wear. “For most workout programs, slippers, sandals, and socks with good grip are advised. So make sure you have the right footwear for your activity,” says Hitesh Chhabria, assistant technical training head, Gold’s Gym.

“Use items you have around the house such as water bottles, stairs, socks, backpacks and chairs. Don’t underestimate body weight workouts,” says Shashank Singh, co-founder at @wefitone and World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) athlete fitness expert. 

Choose the right workout

Choose a regime, duration, and intensity level that you know you are capable of. “Don’t try anything and everything you see on the Internet. Stick to basics,” says Shashank. Take it slow and work your way up. Talk to a trainer at your gym or a friend who works out regularly for insights into where you can start.

Yoga and walking are safe exercises to start with, says Raina Ranney, sports and musculoskeletal physiotherapist.

“You can put on your fitness tracker and set a step goal for the day or allow yourself 30 minutes of continuous walking a day, four or five times a week. If you want to strength train, start slow with body resistance or very light weights. Limit high-intensity interval training to 2-3 times a week to prevent injury,” she adds. 

Warm up and cool down

Whatever the workout regime, a proper warm-up and cool down is critical to reducing the risk of injury. “A warm-up will prepare your cardiovascular system and muscular system for intense exercise and help reduce muscle soreness,” says Raina.

Hitesh says one should start with 15 to 20 minutes of dynamic low-intensity movements such as spot jogging, skip jumps, high knees, jumping jacks, or air boxing. Stretching at the end of your workout is important to help prevent muscle soreness, stiffness, and future injuries. 

Hydrate

Drink water before, during, and after any type of workout to avoid cramps, fatigue and other cognitive issues.

Dehydration can result in cramps, dizziness, and even fainting, says Shashank. 

Post-workout

Nutrition: “What you eat plays a key role. Consume foods rich in micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and electrolytes to reach your daily required calories,” says Hitesh. Those hoping to build muscles, protein is integral to your diet.

Sleep: Sleep affects everything from healing, recovery, metabolism, muscle growth, weight control, and mental health. Remove distractions such as mobile phones and bright lights at least 20-30 minutes before going to bed.
Less sleep means less recovery for muscle, leading to muscle loss. It can also result in overstraining of muscles leading to injuries.

In the case of aches or pain

Stop immediately.

Place an ice pack or even a frozen bag of peas over the affected area at intervals of 10-15 minutes. 

Attempt to repeat gentle movements as they stop stiffness from setting in and promote healing.

Once the pain eases, do some soft stretching.

If pain persists after 48 hours, visit a physiotherapist.