When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?  In many cities, gyms are closed, public gatherings are not permitted, and “social distancing” is the new hashtag on most social media outlets, but that doesn’t have to stop you from keeping your physical health in check.  From musicians to comedians, chefs to universities, live and pre-recorded classes are being offered to learn new skills or build on one you have already started to develop. In the fitness world, there is no exception as famous instructors from all over the world are offering their expertise online to keep people moving.

One way to stay active while the gyms and even some outdoor options like golf courses or public parks are currently closed, is to incorporate body weight exercises.  Mat Pilates has become quite popular over the years and you don’t need any equipment except yourself and a mat. No special footwear or resistance bands, no weights are required and you can do it all in the comfort of your own home at your leisure with a simple internet connection.  Pilates is beneficial for developing slow twitch fiber muscles which are useful for activities requiring endurance; multiple flights of stairs, carrying heavy grocery bags, long distance running or biking. You’ll know that you’re building endurance when the muscles start to produce lactic acid, that burning sensation and fatigue, but if you push through and keep going, and you’ll increase your slow twitch fiber muscles.  These kinds of muscles produce large amounts of energy over a long period of time.

Another approach to alternative ways of staying active outside of the gym is to learn a new skill. Have you ever wanted to learn a new style of dance or even dance at all?  Take up dance in the form or Salsa, Ballet, Hip-Hop, the options are endless with the internet at your fingertips. Dancing is an excellent form of exercise and often doesn’t even seem like work because it is so much fun! Dancing is not only beneficial for your heart health as it is a great source of cardio, but it will also produce endorphins that give your mood a boost of happiness.

Maybe you have been working from home and need to step outside for a bit and get rejuvenated with fresh air.  Bike riding, jogging, HIIT workouts and yoga are just a few options that are easily accessible outdoors. Take this time to enjoy the outdoors to slow down and get creative.  All of these activities can also be done with partners or the whole family, so encourage one another to get moving and stay healthy together.
Even though there is a lot of uncertainty, focus on what you can control and try to enjoy a different approach to staying fit.  Remember, exercise is not just to keep your muscles healthy, it is profitable for your mental and emotional health as well.

By Leslie Sosa

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