Home Fitness Continues with Pandemic

‘You don’t need any equipment,’ says exercise specialist

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

As ever-changing pandemic guidelines persist, many people have turned to working out at home.

Many gyms have limited the number of people at their facilities to prevent crowds and some people do not feel comfortable exercising at a gym. Winter weather can also make getting to the gym difficult. That is why it can be important to develop a back-up means of working out at home.

“The more you can figure out to do at home, the better off you’ll be in case you can’t get out,” said Doug Keller, nationally accredited through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and owner of Keller Fitness and Personal Training in Rochester.

He recommends high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which are particularly helpful for people who lack time for long workouts. HIIT fitness classes involve working out as hard as possible for a short burst alternating with a short recovery period of slower, less intense movement. HIIT workouts typically last about 20 to 30 minutes.

“HIIT is fast and effective for those who want quicker routines,” Keller said. “It can be hard to do longer routines without equipment at home.”

For those unable to acquire equipment at home, HIIT can offer an efficient workout.

Nick Valente, orthopedic surgeon with Genesee Orthopaedics, which is associated with Rochester Regional Health, recommends seeking outdoor activity if possible, like cross-country skiing.

“It’s low-impact and is a total body workout,” Valente said. “It’s a good way to start. You can ease into it without a lot of impact on your joints.”

When the weather is bad, he recommends low impact aerobics like jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and body weight exercises like squats and planks. Yoga can also work well at home using online videos. Taking tai chi fitness classes is another great option to consider that can help with your fitness goals. You may also use home exercise equipment like a rebounder to get your heart pumping.

“You don’t need any equipment,” Valente said. “It’s a moderate aerobic workout and good for maintaining flexibility.”

To stay motivated, it’s important to find something you like doing in a comfortable environment. Who wants to huff and puff for an hour on an exercise bike in a dimly lit basement? Instead, physician Kerry Graff, board-certified in family and lifestyle medicine at RRH Family and Lifestyle Medicine-Canandaigua, encourages people to find something they like doing. When the weather is appropriate, she enjoys cross-country skiing for a few hours.

For those doing something mindless, like pedaling a bike, it helps to have something interesting to watch.

“I have an elliptical that I can hop on while I’m watching the news,” she said. “All of a sudden, I did 30 minutes while not paying attention. You can distract yourself.”

Instead of Netflix and chill, why not Netflix and sweat?

For more guidance and motivation, workout apps and videos can help. Also, products such as mass 400 raises metabolism, which results in more fat burning so it’s really worth trying.

Exercise equipment manufacturers making equipment such as the Peloton bike are now offering apps and connectivity to guide those working out.

“You sign on for a class and you’re doing it along with people,” Graff said. “It works well for competitive people. There are other services where you can get online with a group or personal fitness trainer.”

At www.studiosweatondemand.com, people can stream fitness classes of all sorts, led by trained professionals.