BWB’s How-to For Turning Your Home into a Fitness-Friendly Hub
Everyone seems to have become a fitness expert since quarantine began, but the best & safest form of fitness is according to you.
For several people, confinement has become a “no excuses” time for hyperproductivity. With nowhere to go but home, many believe this is the time to conquer massive to-do lists. Learn a new language! Write a book! Lose twenty pounds! While some are taking their goals to social media, others are creating expectations for their audiences as well. You’re not doing confinement right if you don’t come out with washboard abs, a cinched waist or a flat tummy. What else would you be working toward with all this newfound “free” time? But last time I checked, there is no “right” way to spend your quarantine. We’re living through unprecedented times, remember? The entire planet is in a state of limbo, and nobody knows what’s coming next.
You can practice self-care by changing your diet or becoming active, but a sound mind needs to come first.
More time at home doesn’t eliminate external distractions — especially when there is a global pandemic just outside your doorstep. In addition to staying inside as much as possible to protect others, you have one other quarantine responsibility: self-care. You can practice self-care by changing your diet or becoming active, but a sound mind needs to come first. There is a big difference between caring for yourself and pressuring yourself when it comes to fitness. In other words, fitness becomes less of a healthy mind-body practice when it is a form of punishment or strict discipline. Exercising isn’t about getting that bikini body — besides, there’s not many people around to see you! Instead, fitness is a lifelong journey of learning how to use your own body and feel strong in your skin.
Trust Your Gut (and Love It No Matter What)
A few months ago, I learned about intuitive eating from Rhaya Jordan, the nutritional consultant at Bamford. Alternative to crash dieting and restrictive meal plans, intuitive eating offers a refreshing approach to individual wellness and nutrition. Similar to Marie Kondo’s mantra for sorting through clutter, Jordan’s nutritional philosophies encourage people to toss away the foods that bloat and keep the ones that energize. Throughout my time in quarantine, I have found myself approaching fitness in a very similar way; I workout when I want to and how I want to!
Fitness is something you need to define for yourself because everyone has something to say about it. My social media feeds have become meandering seas of fitness regimens, online gym packages and booty blast programs. From Instagram to Tik Tok, from Blogilates to Chloe Ting, from yoga to HIIT, the internet is exploding with fitness trainers, Instagram models and exercise plans that all claim to be just what you need. And no one can really know this but you! Intuitive exercising is not only about choosing the right exercises for yourself, but also understanding your own limits. If you’d rather sleep in than go for that run, I’d say that’s exactly what your body needs.
Repair and Recover
Rest days are just as important as active days, especially when it comes to preventing injury. In other words, it’s much better to stay humble than to hurt yourself! You should never feel guilty for skipping a day, two days, three days — take your time as you need it! Exercising is just as much of a mental activity as it is a physical one. If your mind isn’t in the right headspace, that workout probably won’t do you much good.
Stretching your lower back everyday is the best way to prevent chronic back pain.
If you exercise frequently, it is important to roll your muscles out so they don’t remain tight or sore. In fact, a good roller can help massage fatigued muscles and release tension in your back. Working from home probably has not been too kind to your spine, so tools like these can help you realign. For a simple tension-releasing exercise, lay on a yoga mat and grab your feet. Then, just rock back and forth! The instructors at Yoga to the People always say that this is the cheapest back massage you’ll get in NYC. In particular, stretching your lower back everyday is the best way to prevent chronic back pain.
In addition, heat therapy is a great way to soothe muscle pain and boost circulation. If you are using a heating pad, you typically should not apply it for more than thirty minutes. Alternatively, you can use a hot towel as long as you are cautious. Soak a towel in boiled water, wring it out, and let it stand until it reaches a temperature that you can comfortably withstand.
Keep it Flowing
Regardless of your preferred form of fitness, you should take time each day to stretch and massage your body. Even as confinement periods begin to lift, many of us will still not be returning to all the places we used to frequent. As a result, we will be walking or moving less than we would normally prefer — but we still have to keep that blood flowing! Circulation is important because it keeps our brain oxygenated, stimulates cell growth and even promotes a glowing complexion. Other than exercising, you can keep your circulation up by elevating your feet while you are working or relaxing during the evening. You might even do both of these things in the same room if you live in an NYC apartment like me!
BWB loves a good French Facial massage, but now it’s time to start massaging everywhere. For example, massage your scalp in the shower! Then, take some of Bastien’s tips and massage your feet before bed. We love the ReFa Face Roller, but they also have a body roller that you can use on parts of your body with larger surface areas. We’re talking thighs, stomach, shoulders — you name it! In addition to stimulating circulation, this device also helps naturally firm, tone and contour your body. Hello, handheld workout!
It goes without saying that hydration is key to circulation because drinking water supports so many bodily functions. In addition, ensure that you’re getting your daily intake of Vitamins E & B and iron! If you’re looking to boost these nutrients naturally, turn to herbs and spices like black pepper, ginger, thyme and cayenne.
Your Home Turned Office Turned Gym
There’s no reason why exercising at home has to become monotonous or boring. Even as gyms and yoga studios begin to open back up, working out at home remains the safest alternative for maintaining public health. If you are growing tired of yoga or exclusively bodyweight exercises, you can incorporate fitness tools into your regimen that take up little space in your apartment. For example, resistance bands are inexpensive, small and perfect for taking basic pilates and HIIT movements to the next level.
As always, you should use a yoga mat to protect your spine and wrists when you are doing floor exercises. Luckily, I have kettlebells and dumbbells at home that help me increase the intensity of my workouts. If you don’t have weights at home, get creative! I’ve seen exercises with everything from wine bottles and soup cans to rice packets and crates of protein powder. Whether you live in an apartment, a condo or a house, your home has had gym potential all along.
Stay safe, rest up and share your fitness set-up with us on Instagram @beautyandwb!
Teresa Deely is graduating from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.