As the country steels itself for a wave of restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, gyms were shuttered as one of the first public spaces to close down.
“I’m pretty sure most of the members are and my clients are definitely bummed about that,” said Mike Pere, a personal trainer at The Gym.
Gym regulars and regular Juneau residents alike will have to adjust to curtailed workout routines brought on by quarantine and isolation in their own homes. But how can we all avoid packing on weight as we collectively rediscover the joys of binge-watching TV during the week and not walking during the workday.
Working out in the comfort of home
“Run, bike. I would advise a walk,” Pere said. “Go out and take a walk, away from people, as long as you’re well. Take a 20-30-minute walk.”
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, said Jess Brown, City and Borough of Juneau wellness coordinator. Moderate activity can be as easy as walking for 30 minutes at a time.
Sarah Lewis, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks cooperative extension services, also suggested doing things like going on scavenger hunts for things outdoors or playing games like Pokemon Go.
Snowshoeing, biking and cross-country skiing are also good activities that people can do independently or with few other people while maintaining good social distancing protocols.
“There are two different categories: Cardiovascular and resistance. Both are equally important. You should do 20-30 minutess of one a day,” Pere said. “As far as the resistance training itself, to stave off muscle atrophy, the easiest way is to do body exercises. Squats, push ups, sit ups.”
Pere said that most simple body weight exercises can be done at home with no equipment. Basic items like tables or bags can be used to do inclined sit ups or to fill with weight. Pere recommended doing these exercises slower than normal to increase the effectiveness, or holding in the up or down positions for more tension.
Adjusting diet for circumstances
There is more to maintaining one’s health than just exercise, though.
“Beans are incredibly nutritious. In fact they are a staple of the ‘blue zones’ where people live the longest. Also, canned vegetables and frozen fruit and vegetables (are good),” Brown said. “All that I’ve read indicates food availability shouldn’t be terribly impacted. There seems to be an abundance of fresh produce in the stores, take advantage of it.”
Things like beans, tuna and frozen vegetables will keep for a long time, Pere said, as well as helping to prevent accidental weight gain.
“If you are a stress baker, resist, or switch to batch cooking healthy meals to get that kitchen fit,” Lewis said. “If you have baking on the list of activities you plan to do with your kids, change that to healthy cooking and, again, move away from baked goods.”
Other healthy practices
Lewis also recommended using curbside pickup services at places like Fred Meyer, both to minimize social contact and to reduce chances of impulse buying. Maintaining a regular schedule is also good, Brown said. Building time for a walk or exercise into a regular routine can help keep you healthy and hearty.
“Make sure you get enough rest. It’s important to get plenty of rest, especially in these stressful times,” Pere said. “I would advise everyone to get quality sleep.”