Aussies have lifted their game to keep fit, many mastering the art of the home workout after gyms were forced to close — and the habit could be here to stay.
Aussies have lifted their game to keep fit, many mastering the art of the home workout after gyms were forced to close — and the habit could be here to stay.

It could be time to ditch the gym

Aussies have lifted their game to keep fit during lockdown, many mastering the art of the home workout after gyms were forced to close.

Gyms have reopened across the country but numbers are strictly limited and many fitness fanatics have found the tools they need to stay in shape are within their own four walls.

Personal trainer Holly Asker said all you need to get the heart pumping and banish the iso kilos is enough space in your living room do a plank.

"It's been quite amazing to see people adapt," she said.

"People who weren't previously runners are running, people are setting up full gyms at home. I know a builder who built himself a chin-up machine in his house."

 

Personal trainer Holly Asker said all you need to get the heart pumping and banish the iso kilos is enough space in your living room do a plank. Picture: Rob Leeson
Personal trainer Holly Asker said all you need to get the heart pumping and banish the iso kilos is enough space in your living room do a plank. Picture: Rob Leeson

 

She said the option to exercise from home had allowed many workers in the 9-5 grind to fit exercise into their day more easily.

"I think people have enjoyed being able to jump out of bed at 7.30am and exercising at 8am before starting work," she said.

Ms Asker said a workout routine of classic exercises like squats and sit ups was ideal to begin with.

Dumbbells for those who like lifting weights and a skipping rope could also make welcome additions to a routine, or you could mix it up with yoga and pilates, she said.

The fitness coach suggested switching your devices off, moving any furniture to clear enough space and signalling to anyone in your household not to disturb you.

She also said finding the will to hold yourself accountable was important and pumping music or instructional videos could help.

"When the weather is cold, pop your heater on for a little bit to get your extra sweat on," she said.

"But make sure you're kind to yourself; if you have five minutes left and you only get through three, that's OK.

"You don't have to be an Olympic hero during lockdown, just getting that mat out is building towards something."

Association Professor at the University of Sydney's faculty of medicine and health Dr Kate Edwards agreed that when it came to exercise anything was better than nothing.

"Anything that you do is a really good thing," she said.

"People think of exercise as running or cycling when we know that strength work is really important for the health benefits of exercise."

Dr Edwards said the World Health Organisation recommended about 150 minutes a week of moderate or 75 of vigorous exercise, as well as two sessions of muscle strengthening.

"Moderate intensity is where your heart is beating faster and you could be talking to someone but you couldn't sing a song," she said.

"Or we could do less and do 75 minutes of vigorous exercise where your heart is beating pretty fast and you couldn't hold a conversation."

 

 

Dr Edwards said Aussies could get the benefits of exercise through both workouts and making even small behavioural changes to get moving more.

"There's lots and lots of sorts of thing you do at home with your own body weight and things we have at home," she said.

"Even sitting up and standing up from your sofa and standing to get some water and coming to sit back down again, even things like that are really good so we're not sitting down all day."

She said it would be interesting to see how Aussies got their fitness fix in the weeks and months ahead, especially as gyms reopened and restrictions continued to change.

"I think there are going to be a mixture of people who love the gym and love the routine," Dr Edwards said.

"Those people are going to be feeling a huge around of relief, but there's also going to be a cohort who realise they don't have to go to the gym. Some will realise they didn't enjoy the gym and realise they were shelling out for something that doesn't suit them."

Ms Asker agreed the cautious reopening of gyms would change how people exercised.

"People will realise they're very capable of mixing it up more," she said.

"Some will want to go back to the gym because they need the motivation and you feel proud and inspired when you booked into the class and you've ticked the box.

"It'll be a mixed bag."

Originally published as Why it could be time to ditch the gym


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