by Roger E. Adams, PhD, CISSN, ACE-CPT
Disclaimer: Consult with a healthcare provider before starting an exercise plan or program.
With COVID-19 disrupting our lives, our daily routines have changed to adapt to social distancing and health guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. Going to the gym, taking a yoga class and group exercise classes have been put on indefinite hold for many of us. Without them, there is a gap in our routine that needs to be filled. These changes have been difficult, leading many people to give up on their workouts altogether.
You may have noticed the surge in at-home fitness equipment advertisements for fancy equipment that can be very expensive. What they don’t tell you is that you don’t need to spend that much money to have access to great workouts and live a healthier life. High-end exercise equipment retailers may dominate our social media feeds, but there’s no reason to spend all of your savings if you know where to find other options for at-home sweat sessions.
It’s time to start taking advantage of the digital options that are now available to us. There are many great workout apps and online classes that you can stream or access on-demand to do at your leisure for a fraction of the cost of that gym membership. These workout tools have surged in popularity due to their low cost and their ease of use, portability and variety.
Before you download every app and/or purchase streaming services, you should consider:
Look for workouts that are an outlet for your stress and anxiety. Sometimes, breaking from your daily work routine can help your mental health tremendously and make you more motivated.
When I begin working with clients, and we develop their wellness goals together, I ask them to identify what physical movement they really enjoy. I do this because regardless of the latest trendy workout, you won’t commit unless you find some enjoyment in it.
As you are considering your fitness goals, here are different kinds of workouts that have apps and services you may want to consider:
Once you have identified the kind of workout you want to try, the next step is to find an app that is right for you. Here are types of fitness-related apps for you to consider:
Personal trainer apps – These include ready-to-go exercise routines via videos, illustrations, three-dimensional models or just text. Many of these allow you to choose a workout that matches your personal preferences, set a difficulty level and start training muscles from the comfort of your home.
Some highly-rated personal trainer apps include:
Logbook apps – Allows for planning and recording personal exercise routines. These can be a great solution for self-directed training, so they may be better for those that already have a fitness plan in place or don’t need as much guidance.
Here are some great apps to keep you on track:
Gamification apps – These apps can be very successful at increasing your physical activity by making exercise fun through gameplay. They use gamification features and social elements to motivate users. Some of them even link to other users using the same app so you can socialize and motivate each other while remaining safe and socially distant. These apps can include prizes based on your levels of success.
Some popular gamification apps include:
Fitness activity tracking apps – These apps track all sorts of activity, including steps, stairs, hours slept, distance traveled and calories burned. Some of the newer ones even monitor heart rate. While these don’t create workouts for you, they do a great job of tracking how active you are during the day, your step goals and your heart rate.
Helpful fitness activity tracking apps include:
If you are more inclined to work out inside or have a dedicated area of your home for workouts, a streaming service on a tablet or television may be a better option for you. The cost for streaming services is normally very similar to what you would pay for a workout program on a workout app. They also have their own set of advantages:
Subscriptions – You pay a small fee that is much less than the membership you would be paying at a crowded gym. These subscriptions are usually pay-as-you-go so you don’t have to make a large commitment of time or money. They make it easy to cancel and overall are hassle-free.
Popular fitness subscriptions include:
Real-time group workout options – If you prefer the motivating setting of group fitness, some streaming services have real-time group options that let you be part of a virtual group from the safety of your own home – no mask or gym required. No more rushing through traffic and panicking to make that gym class on time – now just log in and get your workout in!
Some of the fun, real-time group workouts you can attend include:
As you can see, anyone can find great at-home workouts for little to no cost. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of digital choices out there to keep you motivated and focused on your fitness goals. But before you dive in, as with any goal, planning is always key. First, identify what your fitness and wellness goals are. Second, select the types of activities and exercises you enjoy. Only then should you consider workout apps and streaming services. Fitness should be enjoyable and something that you want to commit to.
Sometimes the hardest part of doing something new is getting over the overwhelming amount of choices and diving in. I’m not suggesting that you won’t miss the social aspects of working out around people, but making your workout fun and comfortable is possible.
What’s important to remember is that your new life and circumstances don’t need to look like your pre-COVID-19 routine to be healthy. There are a lot of options out there, so don’t get discouraged!
About the Author:
Roger E. Adams, PhD, CISSN, ACE-CPT, is the owner of eatrightfitness, an evidence-based private practice focusing on weight management, sports performance nutrition and wellness coaching, located in Oklahoma City. He has more than 23 years of experience working with clients in person and remotely to achieve better health and fitness. Additionally, Dr. Adams speaks at business seminars, health fairs, and nonprofit organizations about the ever-changing field of nutrition and fitness. Dr. Adams holds a doctorate in nutrition from Texas Woman’s University and is a certified personal fitness trainer by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He is also a certified sports nutritionist by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), as well as an active member in the Obesity Action Coalition; The Obesity Society; the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition; Nutrition Entrepreneurs; and the weight management dietetic practice groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Recently, Dr. Adams became a Master Instructor with the ISSN and teaches internationally to educate health professionals on the importance of diet and exercise. More information about Dr. Adams is available at EatRightFitness.com.
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