9 Free Ways to Work Out From Home

A senior stretches her legs while on a yoga mat during a workout at home
Photo by Rido / Shutterstock.com

Gyms around the country have shut their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And while these closures are meant to protect everyone’s health, they do make it more difficult to maintain your fitness routine.

Of course, you can always dust off that old bike in the basement or go for a jog outside, but those are far from your only options. Many of the major fitness chains have quickly stepped up to the plate, creating remote workout programs to keep you active.

Not tech-savvy? You can still get a good muscle burn using a few household items you likely have on hand.

The best part is that all of the following at-home fitness solutions are completely free and accessible. You won’t need much more than an internet connection and a little free space to move around.

Note: While it might seem like a great time to start a new exercise routine when you’re stuck at home all day every day, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new workout or doing any particular exercise for the first time.

1. Roll out your yoga mat

If you’re missing that weekly moment of zen, yoga studio chain CorePower Yoga is offering a limited library of free yoga videos. Visit CorePower Yoga’s on-demand website to view the selection and keep up with your practice.

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, which includes free access to Prime Video, you can watch select yoga videos for free on Amazon. You can identify these videos by the “$0.00 with a Prime membership” note on them.

Of course, you can also use your yoga mat to perform any floor-based exercises, including crunches and push-ups.

2. Log on to Facebook

Yes, exercising can be as simple as logging on to your favorite social media platform.

In response to the worldwide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Blink Fitness is hosting free workout sessions on Facebook Live at 8 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Meanwhile, Planet Fitness is hosting free “home work-ins” on Facebook Live daily at 7 p.m. ET.

In both cases, anyone can watch these videos, not just members of Blink Fitness or Planet Fitness. Trainers will film each workout live, but you can watch the videos at a later time instead.

3. Download the FitOn app

FitOn’s workouts are always free and always available. After creating a free account and specifying your fitness goals, you’re granted access to the FitOn workout library.

You can stream FitOn videos on your TV, computer or smartphone.

4. Keep up with Orangetheory’s At-Home Workouts

This global fitness franchise has created “At-Home Workouts” so its members can stay in the Orange Zone during this pandemic. That said, you do not need to be an Orangetheory Fitness member to follow along.

Check Orangetheory’s YouTube channel to find a new workout each day.

5. Make use of exercise bands

The key to building or maintaining muscle is adding resistance with weight or exercise bands. The latter are elastic loops that create tension.

To use effectively, wrap a band around your joints — wrists, knees or ankles — and perform an exercise as you normally would while keeping tension on the band at all times. Resistance bands are made with different tension levels, so you can go “heavier” or “lighter,” as needed.

6. Pick up heavy household items

You may not own dumbbells, but you likely have some heavy items lying around the house that will work just as well. If your doctor is OK with you doing weight-based training, some ideas include:

  • Using canned food or drinks to do bicep curls and overhead shoulder presses
  • Grabbing a gallon of water that you can pull for back rows
  • Holding a thick hardback book at your chest while doing sit-ups

7. Climb stairs

Stairs are a great way to do interval training, which is where you spike your heart rate for a short period of time and then let it fully recover. If your doctor is OK with it, you can try it yourself:

  1. Move as quickly as you can up a flight of stairs.
  2. Slowly walk back down to catch your breath.
  3. Repeat for a few rounds.

8. Grab a towel and glide

A basic hand towel is all you need to perform a number of slow and controlled body-weight exercises. Here are 21 ideas to get you started.

Note that towels glide best on hardwood and tile floors. However, if you have carpet, you can swap the towel for a paper plate. This isn’t the workout for anyone with any balance issues, though.

9. Play cards

Using a standard deck of cards, assign one exercise to each suit and use the value of the card to determine your repetitions. For example, hearts could signify crunches. If you draw a 10 of hearts, you would then perform 10 crunches.

If you’re using the jack, queen, king and ace cards, assign them 11 reps (jack) to 14 reps (ace), respectively.

To really challenge yourself, try to make your way through all 52 cards or split the deck with a workout partner.

Do you have any at-home workout ideas of your own? Share them on our Facebook page or in the comments below.

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