Keep moving, stay healthy

After three months of sheltering in place, we have developed some degree of cabin fever and crankiness; psychologists refer to it as “quarantine fatigue” — the stress that comes with constant uncertainty and anxiety. Plus, weeks of cooking and baking might be taking a toll on our waistlines. Getting regular exercise is great way to combat both issues. Dani Johnson, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, says that even a little bit of movement throughout the day can help people who are staying at home feel better and get stronger. She recommends getting up and doing squats during TV commercials, heel raises as you wash the dishes or brush your teeth, or rack up some push-ups while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew or a pot to boil. 


For those who need motivation to exercise or even a trainer or instructor to guide them through a workout, local and nationwide gyms and studios offer prerecorded, on-demand classes for every possible type of exercise, even dance, from ballet to hip hop. If you don’t think you can manage a whole class, there are workouts that are as short as four, seven, 10 or 20 minutes long. Just look on YouTube for the type of routine you want. 

Virtual workouts and classes stream in real time, on the apps Zoom, Instagram Live, and Vimeo and take place at set times just like actual fitness classes. These apps are easy to download on your computer, tablet, or smart phone and let you be part of a virtual “group” class if you will, with an instructor who provides live, real-time instruction, demos, and encouragement, and who, if you choose to keep your video on, can watch and coach you.


If you’re not a runner or cyclist, there are ways to get cardio exercise online. Many gyms are offering high intensity interval or HIIT workouts that combine short burst of cardio exercise like burpees and jumping jacks with other exercises like pushups and crunches. HIIT workouts are good for all-over fitness, and you can find short and long sessions online. San Francisco gyms including the YMCA, Crunch Fitness, Core Power Yoga, and BodyRok are offering live streaming total body workouts that include dance, kickboxing, and Pilates. While you might use a set of dumbbells, resistance bands, or machines if you did these workouts at the gym, most instructors offer options on how to use household objects like detergent bottles as weights or simply how to use your own body weight effectively. 


Many of the city’s popular barre workout studios including the Bar Method, the Dailey Method, and Pure Barre are offering on-demand and live streaming classes. No bar is necessary; you can hold onto the back of a chair or a countertop to do one of these challenging workouts that focus on lengthening and strengthening muscles, especially the core and lower body. Some of the exercises are done on the floor, so it’s nice to have a yoga or exercise mat, but a carpeted space will do. 


Yoga studios all over the city are offering a huge variety of online classes, both on demand and streaming. Yoga Tree and YogaWorks offer virtual classes by national regions, but if you join the online platform, you have access to all of its classes everywhere meaning that you can take a 9 a.m. class taught in Washington, D.C. at 6 a.m. here in California. But you can also take a class from a teacher you already know and love in the Bay Area. Yoga is an excellent way to stretch and strengthen muscles while also cultivating mindfulness that can help relieve stress and tension by using breathing techniques and meditation to help quiet the mind.

One thing to note: while exercise videos on YouTube are free, most live Zoom workouts come at a price: anywhere from $8 a class for an hour-long ballet lesson from a teacher with the San Francisco Ballet, to $20 for a streaming yoga class. YogaWorks charges $99 per month for unlimited access to all of its streaming classes. But because these facilities and organizations have been closed during the pandemic, many are offering a week or two of free classes to entice participates to get hooked and purchase a monthly membership or pass. This makes it easy to shop for the right workout without spending a dime to start. Also, some yoga teachers and fitness trainers are offering pay-as-you-go Zoom classes, asking participants to contribute what they can via Venmo or PayPal.

Run, walk, ride, boogie, squat, or bear crawl your way to a post-Covid 19 body that will be ready to hit the beach when that time finally arrives.

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