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Building a functional workout from home

With all the restrictions and the issues surrounding COVID-19, do you ever feel like life will never again be normal as we knew it? Are you tired of being cooped up at home and not being able to work out? Do you feel like you don’t have the equipment to get a good workout from home? Well, don’t despair!!!! You have more equipment than you think and you can get a functional workout from home just as easily as you can at the gym. If you have some heavy cans, or an empty milk container (1 gallon size or even 1/2 gallon size), combined with walls, countertops and body weight, you are set!!!!!

So, as with any exercise program, always check with your medical provider to ensure it is safe for you to workout and at what intensity you can safely workout. Once you are cleared by a doctor, then you can start slowly. You can simply march in place to warm up or do knees to the chest. After about 5 to 7 minutes, you can slowly stretch out the large muscles, but don’t stop moving completely. For quadriceps, you can stagger your stance with one leg in front, one leg behind, and slowly lower the knee of the forward leg towards the floor until you feel a slight pull on the muscle. This should not cause pain.

You should have the heel of the foot on the back leg raised as you lower the knee to the floor. After 1 set of 8, switch legs and stretch the other quadriceps muscle. If you feel off balance, you can hold on to a counter top or place your hand on the wall for stability. To stretch the hip flexors, you can remain in the split leg stance and slowly move the body forward. Again the heel on the back leg should remain elevated and you slowly push the pelvic girdle, or the hips forward. Be sure to stretch both sides of the body equally. To keep the heart rate elevated, if you are not holding the wall or on to the counter for balance, raise your arms over your head as you start to lower your body for the quads stretch or reach forward when you are doing the hip flexor stretch. To add the calves to the stretching routine simply lower the back heel when returning to the neutral or starting position.

Once you have warmed up and stretched the muscles, if you have the milk container or the cans close by, then you can begin some functional strength training. If you have two empty milk containers, this will allow you to work similarly to having dumbbells for bicep curls at the gym. With the empty milk containers, you can also make the workout harder as you gain strength by simply adding some water to the empty container, but be sure you have lids to prevent any spills. As you add water, you add weight or resistance and build muscle and strength. With the cans or milk containers, you can do most, if not all, upper body work for the shoulders, the biceps, the triceps, the pectoral muscles of the chest, and the lats and trapezius muscles of the upper and middle back region.

Bent over rows work the latissimus muscles and if you stand neutral, feet about hips width apart, hips tilted slightly forward, abdominals tight, then you can take your choice of “weights” and lift them from below the abdominal area to just under the chin for work on the trapezius muscles. This helps strengthen the shoulders and neck region of the body. For abdominal muscles, you can perform crunches from a standing position or you can get on the floor if your flexibility permits you to do so. If you have a stability ball or if you prefer to sit, you can also work the abs by simply tightening the core area and leaning forward.

As we continue this week, we will also examine some household chores that can double as exercise. This will allow you to feel more comfortable working out indoors at home until the weather permits you to return to outdoor workouts. If you do not mind the cooler temps we have now in coastal Carolina, you can always opt to put on that heavier coat or layers of clothing and do your cardio outside with walking or jogging. The possibilities are endless and you don’t have to sacrifice health and well-being because we are limited on where we can perform our fitness routines.

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Melanie Meade

Ms. Meade has over 20 years in the business sector. Ms. Meade also has experience as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instruction, and as a psychology instructor. Ms. Meade is an avid fitness enthusiast and works hard to maintain healthy lifestyle practices.

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