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Fitness Outside The Box – What Is Possible For You?

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

With the impact of the pandemic and the uncertainty over the past couple of years, people have been forced to think outside of the box and adapt to new ways of staying healthy and fit. Fitness centres and gyms have been closed down completely or reduced to minimal capacity. Not everybody wants to go to a gym, or pound the pavement, but how does one determine the best practice for themselves? The American Council of Sports Medicine recommends that people get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day (150 minutes per week), to improve health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Spending less minutes being sedentary is the next best step!

Virtual training and online classes have become the norm lately and continue to be popular despite the reopening of gyms. The convenience of working out 'in home' despite restricted space or lack of equipment allows clients to benefit from avoiding a commute and gaining back some quality time for themselves and work/life balance.

The key to success with any health and fitness routine is to determine what your goals and objectives are. S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals define the specifics of what you are capable of, given your ability and availability. For example, starting with 20 minutes 3 times per week leading up to 30 minutes five days per week would be a reasonable progression for some.

A remotely directed workout can focus on low to medium-intensity exercises, relying on natural resistance, so they can be performed anywhere and adapted to any age group or physical condition. Workouts range from stretching sessions to high intensity or a combination thereof. One can incorporate fitness equipment, if available, such as resistance bands or dumbbells. It is important to consider all components of fitness whether exercising inside or outside; these are, cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition. With the abundance of information on the internet, it is always best to consult with a professional to determine best practices. For purposes of this article, here is a simple circuit program that can be done anywhere; it incorporates five basic movement patterns; bend and lift, single-leg movement, push, pull and twist. It is recommended to have a resistance band to do a few of the movements in case body weight is too difficult to begin with. ​Medical clearance is advised before starting a new exercise program.

  • 20 Minute Circuit – two sets in total (beginners start with one set for the first couple of workouts)

  • 30 seconds of cardio between each exercise, choose from one or more of the following: Marching, jogging, high knees, stair climbing, jumping jacks, skipping, stationary bike, treadmill

  • 30 seconds of resistance exercises in order:

    • Squat

    • Push up (may need to modify) or chest press with resistance tube

    • Split squat

    • Standing row - with resistance band

    • Standing rotation - with resistance band

It is important to do a WARM-UP for a minimum of five minutes prior to doing the circuit. Also, incorporate a cool down for 2-3 minutes before stretching all muscles worked in the above exercises. These include quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calves, chest, back, and sides. The correct movement patterns for resistance exercises and their respective stretches can be found on reliable reference sites such as The American Council of Exercise and The American Council of Sports Medicine.


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