It may be difficult to hit up some of your favorite usual spots to break a sweat, but you can — and should — still get in some outdoor time even during the days of social distancing.
“Active rest days are important to continue because exercise — even low impact — can help improve circulation, which can help your immune system by allowing immune cells to move freely throughout your body in order to be effective and efficient,” explained Daniel Giordano, PT, DPT, CSCS, at Bespoke Treatments. “Exercise may also help to decrease the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, and increases the release of endorphins and enkephalins, which can improve your mood and decrease your perception of pain.”
Luckily, you don’t need much at all to squeeze in a meaningful low-impact workout these days. Head out to the backyard for bodyweight moves, and lace up with some multipurpose trainers such as the UA Charged Breathe TR 2 Training Shoes ($80) that can tackle both high- and low-impact days. In fact, you can even work up a sweat during your next neighborhood walk. We asked Giordano to share a quick workout you can do with nothing but that old bench you may find hanging around your backyard or in your parents’ garden.
These five moves specifically may help with hearth health, strength, and endurance and even decrease pain, he explained. Complete them in order to work larger muscle groups first while finishing with smaller ones. Aim for five repetitions per move, progressing up to 15 reps each if you can. Perform one to three rounds of the entire flow to see maximum benefits.
Bench Sit to Stand
Focus on hinging your hips, pushing your butt back and then down to touch the bench seat and sit down. As you stand up, focus on pushing through your midfoot to your heel, and stand straight up toward the sky, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move.
Bench High Plank
Place your hands on the bench seat in line with your shoulders. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, with your core, glutes, and quadriceps tight while looking straight down in the plank position. Slightly lift your abs away from the bench, and hold the plank. Start with a 10-second hold, and progress up to 60 seconds while maintaining good form.
From your plank position above, proceed to a push-up. Keep your elbow pits facing forward toward the bench with your elbows slightly tucked. Lower your chest toward the bench, pause, push up, and return to the starting position.
Bench Assisted Calf Raises
Place your hands on the bench back. With your feet shoulder width apart and knees straight, push your weight up onto your toes, raising your heels. Pause at the top for three seconds, then lower your heels to the ground.
Bench Assisted Soleus Raises
Assume the same standing position as the calf raise. This time, bend at your knees and push up onto your toes, raising your heels to stretch the soleus. Pause at the top for three seconds, then lower your heels to the ground.
Note: If you choose to use a public or park bench, please make sure you’re taking proper precautions to sanitize your hands or wear gloves. And as always, avoid touching your face and wear a mask if you’re in public per CDC recommendations.