Although some gyms are reopening with restrictions, many Arkansans continue their fitness routines at home. The demand for streaming group exercise classes, virtual personal training and mobile health applications has never been higher.
This paradigm shift is a great way to slow the spread of the virus, and home fitness is here to stay — because remote work clearly will be more common moving forward. This week, I will present a few keys to a successful home-based program and will introduce an exercise that fits perfectly into this category.
Group dynamics are powerful. In general, people accomplish more within a group than they would on their own — and fitness is no exception.
The social element of a traditional community fitness environment is difficult to re-create at home. Anyone can print off a workout, watch a YouTube video or dust off the old treadmill in the basement. Access to information is not the sticking point with home-based programs — it is about trying to generate the motivation and inspiration that will result in doing your program faithfully long term.
For this reason, I think it is important to find a way to bring in a social element that will help drive the feeling that people expect you to show up — "accountability."
That feeling of accountability can be achieved in several ways, and the method of social engagement will be a personal decision based on individual factors. Some will succeed by using technology (mobile apps, livestreaming, etc.). Others will work out with a buddy they can trust to be as hygiene-conscious as they try to be. A few will go all-in and buy the expensive home equipment that comes with a built-in trainer.
Whatever the solution is, make sure it fits your personality, lifestyle, budget and — most of all — drives adherence.
Workout accountability with social engagement is most successful when appointments are made — and kept. Maybe the schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. Others could be more motivated to complete their workout via livestream during the lunch hour. The time and day of each appointment need to be set in advance so that one can mentally and logistically plan.
This week's exercise is a great addition for any program featuring social engagement, simply because it's appropriate for almost any fitness level or goal structure. The Porch Lunge helps to strengthen the hips, quadriceps and hamstrings with one simple home-based motion.
1. Facing away from the porch, step back with the right foot and place the right toe on the porch.
2. Lunge down by bending the left knee and hip until the left knee reaches 90 degrees.
3. Slowly reverse direction and return to a fully extended position.
4. Complete 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
The Porch Lunge can obviously be performed without a buddy or a livestream workout coach — but my advice is to start thinking about more ways to bring some social engagement into your overall program. I am confident that more goals will be reached as we work alongside one another (virtually if necessary), and Lord knows we've had enough time for self-reflection lately. Let's do it together.
Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.