Wednesday, 28 April 2021

How my exercise routine has changed over the last year

As restrictions ease, our gym is now open again. But we've not been going regularly for a long time - we stopped visiting in March 2020 when the speed of coronavirus ramped up, and we only went back for a few tentative visits in October before they closed again. 

So a few months ago we made the difficult decision to cancel our gym membership. It was a shame, because we've been members for years, but we are hesitant about the covid risks and it's a lot of money to pay if we aren't going regularly. I do feel bad, because even though they are a big national chain I know that they will have suffered from the closures. 

It has worked out well for us though. Luckily we didn't have to pay any membership fees while they were closed, and so we have saved a significant amount of money. We have put some of this towards our own cross trainer, and also bought a few other pieces of exercise equipment - sports bras, leggings, new trainers, exercise mats, resistance bands, all sorts of things which are now in daily use!

Exercise equipment in a basket at home

At the start of lockdown we replaced our gym workouts with running. We both ran nearly every day, although we tailed off a bit as the summer drew on. But when the children went back to school in September I picked it up again and was running regularly three times a week.  

As the weather got colder in December I investigated home workouts on YouTube. I started with Joe Wicks after the success of his PE with Joe videos over lockdown. I found his workouts really tough at first but soon I could manage them without too much trouble, and I increased the intensity by adding weights. But I found that it was becoming a bit repetitive, and I also wanted to work out to music. 

I had a brief fling with YouTube dance workouts, but I never found them very satisfying as I spent most of the workout trying to follow along with the moves and failing miserably. So I settled on HIIT workouts to music, and with so many to choose from it's easy to keep a bit of variety.

I also found that I wanted to do some more targeted workouts, and I was really impressed with the difference that they made. I've been doing some two week ab challenges which really have helped to tone up my stomach, and I've noticed a huge difference in my leg flexibility after I started a ten minute daily stretching video in February. These are exercises that I wouldn't have thought of doing if I was still going to the gym. I have also developed the habit of exercising throughout the day rather than cramming it into one intensive session. 

The one thing that I will miss about the gym is the swimming pool. I enjoyed a swim after a workout, because as well as the exercise I find it a good way to stretch out and relax. Our local public pools are busy and expensive, and I can't see us using them. So I think it is very possible that we will pick up our gym membership again in a year or two, especially once the infection rates are down. 

My exercise routine is another one of those everyday things that has had a massive shake up due to the lockdown, and it's been a really positive thing for me. 

Cross trainer screen at home

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