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Exercise: How Coronavirus has changed the way we work out

This pandemic has changed many things, from how we socialise (Zoom call anyone?), to how we eat (is that another loaf of banana bread?), to how we work (in our pyjamas). And it’s also had a significant impact on how we exercise. Gone are the days of hitting the gym, sharing sweat in the yoga studio or getting face-to-face in the water polo pool. These days, our workouts happen at home, and they happen alone. Fedhealth shares more.

The last time home workouts were this big was probably in the 80s, when Jane Fonda and her high waisted leotards were the order of the day. These days it’s less about the VCR and more about working out in front of our laptops or phones, as our chosen instructor talks us through it. Personal trainer Ashleigh Iovino has gone from coaching people in real life to providing virtual workout programmes, and the growth in popularity has been immense.

“When lockdown was announced, people had no choice but to look for other ways to stay active. I launched a 21-day lockdown challenge (1 home workout per day) and the response was amazing,” she says. She adds that many people on her programme had never tried home workouts before, but now say that they feel fitter and stronger than ever.

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The benefits of home workouts are multiple:


  1. Time saving

Got 30 minutes to spare before you start making dinner? Normally you’d write off doing any exercise as you don’t have time to drive to the gym, sit in traffic and pay for parking. But home workouts can be done immediately, right there where you are. Capetonian Caryn Trott says that doing online workouts has saved her a significant amount of time, plus she’s trying out forms of exercise she’s never done before.


  1. Better strength

If you love running or cycling (for example), those cardio sessions were probably what you used to focus your weekly exercise regime on, neglecting to build your strength. “Before kids I went to the gym five or six times a week but that slowly waned as I spent longer hours working and supervising the children,” says Joburg mom-of-two Funso Fatunla. She says that when lockdown happened, she rediscovered strength work at home using online tools, with little or no equipment needed.


  1. More variety

The online world of streaming classes is our oyster. Be guided through a yoga class by your favourite instructor from her home in Bali, or do a HIIT class with the kids, led by Joe Wicks in England. “Online exercise classes are convenient, hygienic and allow for so much variety”, says Ashleigh.


Getting the most from your home workout

So how do you maximise your home workout, so you enjoy the most benefits?

  • Keep it simple: You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment  a mat and dumbbells are a great starting point.
  • Mix it up: Now that we can exercise outside, Ashleigh recommends three or four home workouts per week and two runs/other cardio sessions in the outdoors.
  • Look around: Do your research and find a coach/trainer/gym that is now offering virtual classes or solutions. There are so many options so take the time to find the combination that suits you, whether it’s Pilates, HIIT or even Barre.

There’s no doubt that this shift in the way we exercise and keep healthy is not a short-term change. So, dust off your dumbbells, pull on those legwarmers and learn how to self-motivate as you generate sweat and get those endorphins pumping  all in the comfort and safety of your lounge.

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