The expression “Mens sana in corpore sano” (Sat. X, 356) by Giovenale, written in the 1st century AD, can have several interpretations: the main meaning is that physical exercise is an indispensable condition for the efficiency of the spiritual faculty. This statement is nowadays often used precisely to underline the importance of physical activity for our health and well-being.
Due to the Corona virus pandemic, and the consequent quarantine, practicing sports has become complicated. Gyms and sports centers closed, and leaving the house is strongly discouraged. In an exceptional situation that has affected the whole world such as this one, finding balance is fundamental.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), inactive and sedentary behaviors “can have negative effects on the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals” causing stress. Exercising can be a starting point, not only to maintain physical fitness, but also and above all to better manage stress and keep the mood high, thanks to the production of serotonin through movement. Therefore, WHO “recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.”(1)
We are still able to do everything we want, even in the small space of our homes.
In order to avoid laziness, I advise to set a time for the start of the activity and to respect it as if it were an appointment. I also like to vary the exercises as much as possible, avoiding the risk of getting bored while training (for example, from cardio to HIIT, to yoga, to Zumba…).
The easiest things to do are obviously abs, push-ups, buttocks, and legs training. Those who are luckier and already have gym equipment can use exercise bikes or treadmills. For those who have a large garden or a park near their home, the opportunities can be even greater such as dribbling with a ball, training with rackets (even ping pong!!) riding a bike, skateboarding, running, or even jumping with a rope.
However, two domestic activities above all are available to almost everyone: sweeping with a broom, or going up and down the stairs, perhaps even with a shopping bag or a bottle of water. Many gyms offer their members videos and live sessions on Facebook or even video calls with the trainer. Another thing that I have seen happening more and more often during this quarantine is video calls between friends to train altogether and not get bored.
Here are some useful YouTube channels and profiles, free fitness apps, targeted training programs to keep fit, while staying at home.
YOUTUBE CHANNELS OF ALL KINDS
Here I’m going to propose both YouTube channels and fitness influencers’ profiles that offer free videos with workouts of all kinds. Most of the videos on these pages do not require any types of equipment, if not a mat.
7.4 million subscribers
To reduce stress, an excellent channel is Yoga with Adriene: you can find simple exercises for those who still cannot touch the tip of their feet with their fingers or more complex exercises for those who already know Yoga. Adrienne talks with a really soft voice, perfect for meditation, relaxation, and to find the right balance with the environment surrounding us, strengthening our body, mind, and soul.
Blogilates 5,1 million subscribers and videos uploaded during a 10-year period
“With a wide range of free and short (but very intense!!) workout videos available, Cassey’s channel focuses on abs exercises, butt & thigh exercises, arm exercises, pilates, cardio routines, fat burning workouts, high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT), stretching and flexibility routines and so much more!”(2)
3.6 million subscribers, and 1195 videos uploaded
It is a must if you want to play sports in an alternative way. All types of exercises are offered, ranging in duration from 5 to 45 minutes, for many types of activities, from dance to kickboxing, from the basic level to the expert, just click on the video that best suits you.
Advantages: in almost all the videos there will be three people, each representing a level of difficulty: basic, intermediate, and advanced. This feature allows the user to adapt the exercises to their abilities, even on individual activities and not on a complete level.
MadFit 3.4 million of subscribers
Maddie’s channel has a wide of exercises, from total body exercise to more specific workouts addressed to train focused areas as abs, arms, legs, booty. She also includes dance workouts that are both fun and intense.
BeFit 3 million subscribers
BeFit is the most popular channel in the United States for fitness enthusiasts where you can find workouts of all kinds, from yoga to fitness and burning workouts.
Pamela Reif 3.2 million of subscribers
She is a German fitness influencer, her daily free body fitness program is perfect for training when and where you want, without gym equipment. She posts every week 4 different programs on her Instagram, differentiating between difficulty and timings. Each workout is organized by changing exercise every 30 seconds: in this way you don’t get bored but I can assure you that every exercise will be intense! She doesn’t speak during most of her workouts, but there’s always music. She only speaks during the live video sessions.
Her videos are perfect for sweating, burning calories, making the cardiovascular system work with simple exercises, which can be done in the living room or even in a small space (just being able to lie on the ground and at the most spread your arms).
Other fitness influencers:
As Pamela Reif, there’s plenty of fitness influencers uploading videos on their youtube channels. I recommend Giulia Calcaterra, Heather Robertson, Natacha Oceane, Chloe Ting, and Patry Jordan. They all offer full-body workouts, HIIT and Tabata workouts. Some of them also give healthy food advice.
ZUMBA AND DANCE WORKOUTS
Many of the already mentioned channels, such as Madfit, PopSugar, or Pamela Reif offer also dance workouts. There are two other channels that I know that have good dance videos.
Trainieren Dance – Tanzen Zumba 7.3 k subscribers
“If you want to lose weight while having fun with Zumba and dance to the best beats with choreographies for cardio workouts. On the Train Dance – Dance Zumba YouTube channel you will find everything you can imagine to do”(3), from 2 minutes to 30-minute videos.
조싀앤바믜 Josh & Bamui 604K subscribers
This channel offers mainly K Pop and Pop dance workouts to lose weight, but has very creative dance workouts such as “hand clap” choreographies.
YOUTUBE CHANNELS MADE BY MEN
This channel offers a huge variety of workouts and other kinds of videos, from stretching to “how-to” videos where you can find an explanation on how to do an exercise in the correct way. They have both workouts with or without equipment.
5.7 million subscribers
“Join Chris Heria as he shows you body workouts of all kinds that you can do anywhere such as your home or even your office! In his videos he reveals secret techniques, programs and step by step guided tutorials and exercises.”(4)
Ulissesworld 534k subscribers
This profile channel offers workouts to train back, arms, chest in both the house or the gym. Ulisses also provides some videos on meal plans and correct alimentation.
Leap Fitness Group
Not an app, but an entire series of them dedicated to more or less specific workouts, based on the goals you want to set. The different applications offer different paths based on gender, age, level of difficulty, and objectives to be achieved.
Advantages: it is not necessary to have specific equipment to perform the exercises (if not a mat), it is useful if you want to keep fit at any level, you do not have to register.
Nike Training Club
The app of the famous brand offers a wide choice of workouts for specific levels and needs. From beginner to advanced, you can also train for less than twenty minutes, up to longer sessions from 30 onwards. Not only strength and endurance exercises, but also yoga and mobility programs, useful for controlling stress levels.
Advantages: once registered, the app will request the type of membership and the frequency of training, also giving the possibility to customize your plan and objectives. The app is completely free. Through geolocation, the user can be advised of workouts organized by Nike Trainers: real face-to-face lessons with a specialist.
30-day fitness challenge
An app designed to train from home. The goal is to get fit and tone the muscles, without equipment and training at various levels of difficulty based on age and initial physical preparation. The app is free, but you need to subscribe if you prefer a personalized program.
An app to lose weight and train with many different workouts focused on different muscle groups that allows you to tone your body while comfortably at home. It allows you to create customized plans specifically for your routine by simply putting your stats and goals. In its free version, it provides you with:
- Workout Collection Workouts: Free and ready complete workouts
- More than 180 exercises illustrated in HD video, with instructions, without tools, and to be done at home at any time.
- A personalized workout with the free function of the Workout Creator: choose which muscles of the body to train and you will have a training for abs, buttocks, arms, legs, chest, and total body.
The Tabata protocol is a training method, conceived in the 90s by the Japanese scientist of the same name, which falls within the set of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It consists of performing seven or eight repetitions at maximum intensity, alternating with ten seconds of passive recovery. The series lasts approximately four minutes. I don’t have a specific app for this, but there’s plenty of them.
This is not a real training app, but looking at videos around social media I have noticed more and more that people use Tik Tok also to post very short training videos. Also, imagine preparing a dance video for Tik Tok over and over until you have the perfect one, I think that can be an equivalent to one or two videos of dance workouts and Zumba.
The last thing I’m gonna talk about is video games. There are many games, for example for the Wii console, such as just dance, Wii fit, or Wii sport, that require a lot of movement, making training super fun. You can also play with your family and spend a nice afternoon!
I hope that these suggestions will be useful and have increased in all of you the desire to do physical activity in this boring days of social distancing. Remember that it is important to do some physical activity every day, especially when we are confined in a limited space, moving from the chair of our desk, to the dining table to the sofa to the bed. It can also be a good way to take a break and have fun with your friends and family. Stay safe and have fun!
SOURCES & CITATIONS
1. World Health Organization, “Stay physically active during self-quarantine” http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-technical-guidance-OLD/stay-physically-active-during-self-quarantine
2. Blogilates https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIJwWYOfsCfz6PjxbONYXSg
3. Trainieren Dance – Tanzen Zumba https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbRVl6u3FI38rWAqxAwMHeQ
4. OFFICIALTHENX, TheMiamiTrainer https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMiamiTrainer