“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together–spirit, soul, and body–and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, The Message)

Social distancing as a result of the Coronavirus is changing everything we do, including how we exercise. In addition to our spiritual health, our physical health is also important, but how can we stay in shape in the midst of a daily routine that’s been turned upside down?

Jan Averwater, Director of Family Fitness & Wellness at Christ Church, said there are numerous ways we can do this at home, and working out makes improvements not only in our health but also our attitude. “As we stay indoors (as recommended by the CDC and WHO), we get anxious, and taking just a few days off of a workout routine can cause us to lose some muscle mass, weaken our cardiovascular system and lose flexibility and balance,” Jan said. “But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are many activities you do each day that burn calories, build muscle and increase flexibility.”

Jan set up a challenge for her fitness class participants, and she emails a workout to them three days a week. If you would like to be part of her challenge group, email Jan, and she will add you to the email list.

Jan offers these tips for working out at home:

Walk in your neighborhood. Start out with short distances and work up to a mile and then two miles. Walk three miles and you have almost completed a 5K. To turn this into a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) circuit, challenge yourself to jog or walk at a fast pace to one mailbox or light pole and then jog or walk at a medium pace to the second mailbox or light pole. Repeat for eight rounds, alternating the fast pace and the medium pace.

Indoor Cardio: Same routine up and down the stairs, again interval your speed with fast and medium paces. Go up and down stairs skipping a stair at a time; this turns it into a cardio lunge. Go up and down the stairs sideways working your abductors and adductors (inner and outer thighs).

Strength Training | Upper Body: You have everyday items in your house that can be used as weights. Cans of food can be used as free weights. Bicep curls, triceps, chest presses and flyes can all be executed with cans of food. Jugs of water and milk can also be weight-bearing props. Do push-ups on the floor or against the wall.

Lower Body: Use chairs to work on sit/stand squats. Cross your arms over your chest and lower your body almost sitting on your chair, but before you land, stand back up. Repeat 20 times for three sets. 

Stand behind your chair and lift one leg out to the side, working your abductors and adductors (inner/outer thighs); change legs. This movement can also be held in position for balance; hold for 30 seconds. Repeat leg raises to the back of the chair. 

Lunges: Step back with one leg, bending both knees while lowering the back leg (knee points toward the floor). The front leg is positioned with the knee over your front ankle as you lower. The front leg is the power leg, so push up. Weight is on the heel of the front leg as you stand and switch legs. Stand behind the chair and raise up on your toes working your calf muscles.

Upper Body and Lower Body: Do 20 repetitions and three sets of each exercise.

Flexibility: Stretch, stretch, stretch – use towels for an added resistance stretch.

Keep in mind that housework and yard work are workouts, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you are missing your gym workout!

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