Don’t Let the Shutdown Stop Your Workout

Janet Tiberian Author
By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
April 15, 2020
Don’t Let the Shutdown Stop Your Workout

During the coronavirus shutdown, you might not be able to go to the gym or to your pool or to your yoga class, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Exercise virtually. 

Many fitness professionals are helping Americans begin workouts, as well as continue staying active through the help of mobile apps, cable television, interactive platforms, streaming services and virtual fitness events. Here are just a few ideas to help you keep moving.

Mobile Apps 

First, identify what are you trying to accomplish during the shutdown. Are you trying to maintain a walking program? Maybe you want to stretch to counteract tight muscles from sitting all day. Or maybe you want to manage your weight. 

There’s probably an app for that. Simply browse the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to find one that meets your needs. Some apps display advertisements and some charge a monthly fee and others you pay for when you download them.

Apps provide many options for users. You can work out alone or with a trainer; you can even find a workout buddy. And you prefer working with a trainer, there are apps that specialize in specific areas such as strength/conditioning or balance/coordination. 

Many studios, gyms and fitness services also have their own app that you can download to continue training. Some of these apps require a membership or subscription.  

Need some suggestions? Check out these five:

  • Pocket Yoga – provides yoga workouts, breaks down poses and provides support. 
  • SilverSneakersGo – guides you through strength, aerobic and flexibility workouts designed for people 65 and older.
  • Tai Chi for Seniors – teaches you Tai Chi, credited with improving balance and coordination and easing stress. 
  • Instant Heart Rate – monitors your heart rate, helping you stay within a safe heart rate zone.
  • MyFitnessPal – enables you to set daily fitness and nutrition goals, track workouts, steps and calories. 

Looking for something more challenging? Dozens of apps exist for more intense workouts.

Smart TVs

Your TV may also help you get some exercise. If you have a recent model TV or Smart TV, you can probably download exercise apps or stream video from online sources to it as well.

Most Smart TVs include YouTube on their app page. YouTube is a great resource for fitness classes and information. Need some suggestions? Check out these three YouTube channels:

  • Fitness Blender – offers free workouts and programs for all levels plus meal plans.
  • HASFit – has more than 1,500 videos, many of the dedicated to older adults with limited mobility.
  • LiveExercise – focuses on workouts for beginners, seniors, overweight and impaired. Little to no equipment is needed. 

As for downloadable apps, Daily Burn, Spotify and Fitness VOD (for Samsung televisions) have libraries of workouts.

For a wider variety of classes, you may have to stream classes from an app for your TV. Like watching a DVD, most streamed content isn’t interactive, so it’s great for activities that don’t require participation, like group exercise classes. 

You can stream almost any type of class you want -- barre, Pilates, yoga, various types of strength training and dance. Some streamed classes require a fee or monthly subscription, so make sure you should understand the terms and conditions involved in streaming a class. 
If you don’t have a smart TV, you can make your TV smarter with a streaming player like Roku or an AppleTV. Both players offer exercise apps or channels. You can order them Amazon. 

You can also use your laptop, tablet or smart phone to access much of the same exercise content.

Interactive Meeting Platforms

Before the shutdown, meeting platforms were mostly used for business. But now many Americans are using the platforms to connect with people from all aspects of their lives, including working out.

Some platforms require the organizer to pay an account fee, while others are free. And most of these platforms were designed for business purposes, so lending them to your needs may take a little ingenuity, but it can work. For example, the dance and fitness industries have embraced Zoom and Skype to continue offering classes. If you take classes at studio, check with the owner if this is an option.

You can also use these platforms or video chat on your smart phone or tablet to exercise with a friend or family member. Again, this might take some experimenting to get it right – and if you’re going on a virtual walk with a friend, it might make more sense to do it over a phone call so that you’re 

Virtual Fitness Events

If training for a road race was on your radar this spring, don’t put it aside just because you’re quarantined. Train and compete virtually. 

Virtual Strides, Virtual Runs, Gone for A Run and Run The Edge are just a few companies that offer virtual fitness events like 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons and ultramarathons. These companies were born before the COVID-19 pandemic and are popular because they enable fitness enthusiasts of all levels to train at their own pace with the support of an online community. Each operate in different manners, so you’ll need to do some research to find the model that best suits your needs. For instance, some companies have you register for specific events, while others involve memberships. 

Of course, it’s safer to run on a treadmill right now. But if you don’t have one, you can still run outside, just take precautions. Keep to tracks and sidewalks that aren’t heavily trafficked and wear a mask. Make sure you shower and wash your clothes after your workout especially if you’ve been running near others. 

Other Home Workout Possibilities

As a member in an MDVIP-affiliated practice, you also have access to Perfect Fit workouts on MDVIP Connect. 

Simply log into your MDVIP Connect account and click on the MDVIP Workouts tab. You’ll find pre-designed workouts for improving aerobic endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, core strength, range of motion, balance and posture.

We also developed four types of routines: Balance, Seated Exercises, Weight Loss, and Strengthening & Stretching. Routines for Weight Loss and Strengthening & Stretching are broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. You can also select routines for use with gym equipment or without.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning or revamping an exercise program. And because your MDVIP-affiliated physician has access to Perfect Fit Health’s pre-designed programs, he/she can help tailor these workouts to meet your specific issues.

Need help logging onto MDVIP Connect? Just follow the instructions on the screen for resetting your password or getting your account set up.

And, while you’re on MDVIP Connect, take the opportunity to check out our healthy recipes, condition-specific meal plans and extensive library of health education articles. 

Always check with your doctor before beginning or changing a workout. Don’t have a physician? Consider partnering with MDVIP. MDVIP-affiliated physicians have the time and resources to help you develop a personalized wellness program that includes exercise. Find a physician near you and begin your partnership in health » 

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About the Author
Janet Tiberian Author
Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES

Janet Tiberian is MDVIP's health educator. She has more than 25 years experience in chronic disease prevention and therapeutic exercise.

View All Posts By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
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