Exercising under quarantine
March 12, 2020 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm under self-imposed preventative quarantine with my elderly mother. I'm used to going out and exercising multiple times per week. I'm looking for recommendations for limited-exposure ways to keep my body busy for the next 4-8 weeks.

Mom is 76 with many health complications that put her in a very high-risk category. I've moved in to act as her liaison with the outside world and limit her exposure as much as possible. She's able to manage most self-care so leaving for a few hours isn't an issue, but exposure risk must be minimal. Current living situation is a privately-owned house in a small midwestern town, with access to a relatively large family farm.

I typically lift basic weights twice a week (Stronglifts 5x5) and do 1-2 hrs of cardio twice a week. I have found that I need this level of exercise to keep my mental health on an even keel.

I was thinking that I might be able to leave the house after dark (9:30-10pm) and take a two-mile walk through the center of our small town, up to the cemetery and back, and hopefully not encounter anyone along the way. Alternately I could drive 15 minutes from our house to our family farm and go for a walk through our fields -- the farm is more or less unoccupied so I would not encounter anyone, not even family. Do either of these sound overly risky for exposure?

I would also welcome recommendations for in-house exercise, specifically good body-weight routines or interesting challenges. Not super interested in dancing or zumba or trainer-led videos.
posted by rocket to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
There's a giant rabbit hole of bodyweight stuff on the internet, but for the weights, have you considered resistance bands? They're fairly cheap and effective.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:42 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Unless you're in a crowded area (like a pack of runners, which is why large races are being cancelled), the risk from outdoor exercise seems extremely low. If you do see someone, it shouldn't be hard to stay 6 feet away. "...exercising outdoors would 'dramatically reduce any chance' of getting the virus [compared to going to a gym]...Currently, there are no restrictions in place that would prevent people from going outside in the United States. Go for a run, hike or bike ride, she suggests."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:49 PM on March 12, 2020 [25 favorites]

I really like fitnessblender.com. They used to do more blog-type posts; now they seem to have largely switched over to videos (which are also not my style), but each one also still has a robust bloggy description and includes a concise text listing of the exercises and timing/reps/sets for that routine. One of the search filters you can use browsing the workout videos is "no equipment."
posted by solotoro at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can go for a run during the day, cross the street when passing people if you want to be extra cautious.
posted by mskyle at 1:03 PM on March 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

You might look at the Down Dog exercise apps with videos for yoga, yoga for beginners, HIIT, barre, and 7-minute workout. In an epidemic special they are free in March.
posted by medusa at 1:18 PM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you can handle the bro-ness, "prisoner" exercise books (I think Convict Conditioning is the classic?) focus on bodyweight-only exercises.
posted by telophase at 1:28 PM on March 12, 2020

Is running out of the question? You touch nothing, come into contact with nobody.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Darebee has tons of options for bodyweight and cardio which can be modified to your needs. They also have an app.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:47 PM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Go for long walks in the evenings! Go running/jogging, take hikes, go for leisurely bike rides through your neighborhood or further afield! Also, if you have an entire backyard to yourself, you can definitely figure out a workout routine. (And if you're not averse to a single social interaction, I bet you could find an affordable workout machine--exercise bike, treadmill, one of those complicated weight bench setups--on craigslist.)
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:49 PM on March 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I bought this 12lb medicine ball with handles and this knee/elbow pad and with it have constructed an in-home Pandemic Workout Routine to tide me over until I can work out with my trainer again. And also am running now instead of Zumba.
posted by egeanin at 3:44 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Someone here recently tipped me off on shovelglove, I like it!

But also running outside in your situation is fine.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:28 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would feel pretty safe about going for long walks/runs in your neighborhood at quiet times of day. My parents are in a similar situation as your mom (although even older) and although they're being very cautious and live in an area with a high number of cases, they're going for walks at night.
posted by pinochiette at 4:34 PM on March 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I walk early in the morning, was doing it before dawn when I had to get to work early but am now doing just at dawn. I was just reading something about vitamin D possibly helping our immune systems so consider walking in daylight. It's also easier to see people approaching.
posted by mareli at 5:15 PM on March 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd be concerned about exercising late at night because it is likely to interfere with sleep quality, unless you go to bed hours later. Good sleep is essential to our immunity, so you could be robbing Peter to pay Paul by exercising late.

I'd feel perfectly safe exercising outdoors in the middle of the day, since the chances of touching anyone or getting within 6 feet of anyone is pretty much nil unless you're running through a crowd. And even then an infected person would literally have to touch you or cough/sneeze on you, or interact with you for 15-20 minutes inside of six feet, in order for you to be at risk. None of that is going to happen jogging past someone.
posted by Zaire at 1:07 AM on March 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'd walk a few circuits near home rather than drive. No need to fuel the vehicle, no problems about calling for assistance in an emergency (AAA in the U.S.), close to home if I get a message to run back quickly.
Jumping ropes are good exercise. Hula hoops work, too. Not a fan of mini trampolines.
Water bottles make good low resistance weights. Carry them and drink the contents as you walk.
posted by TrishaU at 2:37 AM on March 13, 2020

I am a fan of The Official 7-Minute Workout App. It has a variety of body-weight workouts and it will combine them to generate a workout session for you based on your general fitness level. Despite its name you can use it to generate workouts that are longer than 7 minutes.
posted by yankeefog at 3:28 AM on March 13, 2020

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