Staying active while staying at home

Staying active while social distancing can maintain physical and emotional health. COURTESY PHOTO

Oregonians are being asked to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” right now. While many group activities are being postponed and canceled, local personal trainers are stepping in to keep people moving.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

Options for people to keep moving are short walks around neighborhoods, choosing to bike or walk when they do go to the store and short stints of exercising, stretching or weight-lifting at home.

Tracy L. Merkley, local personal trainer and author, is hosting group classes and private training sessions via Zoom Video Communications, an app for computer or mobile device that allows for video conferencing. People can purchase these trainings through

“I hope everyone is doing OK with the crazy and tough world situation,” Markley said on the “Tracy Markley’s Fitness” Facebook page. You all are aware that most fitness studios had to shut down for a time being. (These classes) will be like old times, but with social distancing.”

Below are some tips gathered from Metro Creative Connection on how to work out at home:

Body weight exercises

Body weight exercises include push-ups, planks, squats and lunges. Alternating incline and positioning of the body when performing some of these exercises is a great way to work various muscle groups.

Get outdoors for cardio

A mix of cardiovascular activity, which puts a strain on the heart and lungs to build up stamina, can help people lose weight when paired with strength training exercises. Take to the great outdoors near home to get in a good cardio workout, including bicycling and playing rowdily with kids or pets.

Walking can constitute a cardio workout if one goes at a brisk pace of around three miles per hour. Walking on an incline also can constitute vigorous exercise that’s on par with running or biking, particularly when it’s a steep hill.

Inside, people can do lateral shuffles between two points on a floor, set up a circuit of jumping jacks or skip rope to keep your heart rate up.

Set up a home gym

With a few barbells, dumbbells and a weight bench, it’s easy to create a home gym in a basement or garage. Extra equipment for resistance training equipment or an elliptical machine can be added to make the gym more complete.

A home gym also can be a place to do strength and stretching exercises like yoga or Pilates.

A big part of this is dedicating a workout space. Areas away from the bustle of the household are great spaces to devote to home gyms.

The fewer the distractions, the more likely a person will commit to their exercise regimen.

Specialized equipment

While it may not be within everyone’s means to purchase all new equipment, a few key pieces of equipment may help. These include elastic resistance bands, a set of dumbbells and stability balls. These items won’t use up a ton of room for storage but will still allow people to work on strength and core muscles.

While people are asked to limit their time outside, home gyms can be a convenient way to maximize physical activity and help people maintain muscle mass. Staying fit can also improve physical strength, reduce seniors’ fear of falls, increase confidence and improve sleep.


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