Gyms are now closed throughout the New York metro area due to the coronavirus pandemic. Frank Gryniak and Daniel Bonilla of Healthplex Fitness Center, which is part of the new SBH Health and Wellness Center in the Bronx, offer some tips on how to stay active during this difficult time.
Q: I’ve been going regularly to the gym and have little space in my apartment to work out. What can I do to continue my workout routine?
A: You can continue your workouts by doing body weight exercises such as pushups, planks, squats, and lunges. Many of these exercises don’t require much room to move. The good thing about these exercises is you can tailor them to your level of fitness. Squats can be modified by sitting on a chair and standing up, lunges can be modified by holding on to a chair or wall on the side, and pushups can be modified by having your knees on the floor. You can also make them much more challenging by changing the speed at which you do the movements, number of reps you do, or adding an explosive component to them by either jumping or throwing yourself off the floor. One type of workout I like to do at home is “Every Minute On the Minute” workouts. Here I’ll start with a set of 15 pushups at 5:00, then another set at 5:01, then another at 5:02. I’ll keep doing 15 pushups every minute for 10 minutes. You can do this for any exercise and after the 5th minute, you really start to feel it.
Q: If I’m now working from home, are there exercises I can do to break up the day?
A: Definitely! One thing you can do to break up the day is go through a light stretch routine every hour or so. Stand up, roll your shoulders back for a count of 10. Then take a large step forward and reach as high and far back as you can with your arms. Do this alternating between right and left leg for a count of 10 on each. This will help open up your chest and lunges and you’ll feel more energized to continue your day.
Q: I was planning on spending more time in the gym to prepare for spring, but now with the gyms closed, how can I start rounding into shape?
A: First make sure you’re eating the right things. A major part of your success in the gym is going to be based on what you put into your body. So develop good eating habits now. You can set aside 20-30 minutes every day for an at-home workout. I suggest focusing on something different every day so as not to not grow bored with your routine. Have something like cardio on Mondays and Wednesdays, strength on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and core and flexibility on Fridays and Sundays. Leave Saturdays as a rest day.
Q: I was planning to start running soon, and anticipated spending time on the treadmill at my gym to prepare. That’s no longer an option, so what do you recommend?
A: I always recommend a yoga routine to my runners. Running takes a huge toll on your body if you’re not properly working on your strength and flexibility. This would be a great time to work on parts of your body that have given you issues in the past. For runners, I suggest zeroing in on common areas of concern for the sport. To do this, focus on improving strength in the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, mid and lower back).
Q: I don’t have any free weights at home and always counted on working out at my gym. What can I do so I don’t regress?
A: You must use whatever you have at home to provide the resistance your body is accustomed to. You can use a backpack full of text books as a weight vest or if you have kids, you can ask them to sit on your shoulders or back while you exercise. This is a good way to get them to pick up healthy and active habits.