The pandemic changed many ways of doing things, from quarantines to remote work and even fitness. A study from Sweden found that most people had decreased physical activity levels along with consequent increased sedentary behavior during this time as well. Physical inactivity increased by 1.5 hours per day compared to pre-2020, which may be partially due to the closure of gyms and sports facilities.
As we re-emerge and resume our "new normal" activities, many people who have gotten used to working out at home are considering returning to the gym. Aside from access to gym equipment and other facilities, working out at the gym is a different experience than doing routines in your living room. We've previously written about spicing up your fitness routine, and something as simple as changing the location can bring significant changes to your fitness journey. Today, we'll explore some of the things you can do to make the transition from home workouts to gym excursions easier:
Don't pressure yourself
One of the main differences between working out at home and working out at the gym is the social aspect that being at the gym brings. Even when you don't know the people working out around you, it can sometimes be additional pressure to keep up with them. It's okay to make that a motivating force for your workouts, but be wary about trying weights or equipment you may not be used to, to avoid injuring yourself while exercising. Generally, don't forget to warm up before getting into heavier exercises. If you're still reacquainting yourself with the gym, you can also try low-intensity workouts to progress gradually.
Build endurance through walking
Contrary to popular belief, walking is a great exercise to help stay fit, burn calories, and even build endurance for heavier workouts. Walking 10,000 steps a day as a fitness goal will give you better aerobic capacity, strengthening your heart, which can help to condition your body before you start working out again. Moreover, the 10,000 steps model can facilitate behavioral change, creating healthier habits and adding to your willpower – all essential considerations as a gym-goer. The best thing about walking is that you don't need to buy expensive equipment for it, and you can start by measuring the time you spend walking daily instead of intimidating yourself with step counts and mileage. Doing so will help you build the stamina for more complex routines at the gym.
Do hotel room workouts
If your holidays are super packed, you can still squeeze in a short exercise in the comfort of your lodgings. Contrary to what some may think, you don’t need a lot of room or fancy equipment to get fit. Some examples of hotel room exercises you can do are squats, push-ups, planks, jumping jacks, and sit-ups. For the best results, you can execute each workout for 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between) before taking a one-minute break and then moving on to the next exercise. Repeat this around 8 times to complete one HIIT workout.
Go with an exercise buddy
We've mentioned the social aspect of working out at the gym. Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences in our workout routine brought about by the pandemic was that we were cut off from working out with a group of people, like going on runs with neighbors and friends. Exercise is "socially contagious" — the more people you see exercising, the more likely you'll want to exercise too. In transitioning from home workouts to working out at the gym, you might find the change of pace easier to deal with when you have a gym buddy. This can be a friend, a family member, or a coworker. Turning your workouts into a social activity makes the routine fun and something to look forward to. Moreover, it establishes a mutual accountability system for you and your exercise buddies. After all, skipping leg day is harder when you have friends texting or calling about what time to meet at the gym.