Gym not open? Work out in your backyard!

May 26, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Don’t let your gym’s closure put an end to your workout routine.

A good workout can boost your mood, improve your health and bolster your immune system.

And while you might be used to the weight machines and cardio equipment at your local gym, you don’t need all the equipment to get your heart pumping and build muscle.

“You can use anything that’s around the house,” says A.J. Malzone, a NASM certified personal trainer at Edward Elmhurst Health & Fitness Center.

An empty milk jug, water bottle or other plastic container filled with water or rocks can make a good replacement for weights. And with warmer weather here at last, you can head outdoors to run, walk or bike to get a cardio workout — and some vitamin D — in the sun.

“It’s a very good stress reliever, and this can be a very stressful time,” Malzone says, noting that things like job loss or illness can add to people’s stress level during the state’s shutdown. “It’s good to get your mind off what’s going on and focus on yourself and let that stress leave your body.”

Don’t worry that you don’t have actual weights, a treadmill or stationary bicycle at home to use for your workout. The key is to keep up your exercise routine and keep moving.

“Working out is better than not,” Malzone says. “You can’t maintain the muscle that you have if you’re sitting on your couch not doing anything.”

To help make sure you get in your workout, Malzone suggests writing in your calendar or setting a reminder on your phone for your personal workouts. He also recommends writing out your workout so you know what you will be doing each time, then check off items on your list as you do them.

Malzone offers a few suggestions for your backyard or at-home workout:

  • Warm up. Your at-home workout will be different than your gym workout and you may find yourself using different muscles than you typically use. Be sure to warm up with some jumping jacks or a brisk walk and stretch before you begin.
  • Do lunges (with or without weights). For a more advanced workout for your legs try doing a combination of lunges and squat jumps. You can also do sets of climbing the stairs in your home for a leg and cardio workout.
  • Work out your arms. Grab some weights (or fill some empty water bottles or milk jugs with water or rocks) and do bicep curls, side or front arm lifts or overhead lifts. You can also use a towel held above your head, with both hands spread fully apart, to do a lat pull down. The tension from holding the towel will give your shoulder and arm muscles a workout.
  • Strengthen your core. To work out your core, sit-ups, push-ups and planks all work great and can be done indoors or outdoors.
  • Cool down. Be sure to end your workout by cooling down and stretching your muscles.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, our top priority is the safety and protection of patients, staff, physicians and the community. For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check

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