Stuck Indoors? You’ve got Options

With the right equipment and some creativity, the entire family can stay fit and avoid boredom.

Stuck Indoors? You’ve got Options

Even if it’s not long into the pandemic’s shut down, you’re probably already getting a dose of cabin fever. You’re missing your gym and your normal workouts, your kids are bouncing off the walls with too much pent-up energy, and you need some sense of normalcy. We’re here to help.

First, let’s talk about you and any other adults in the house: Now is a great time to build up that at-home gym you’ve always wanted. You’d be surprised at how affordable it is to put the pieces in place for complete cardiovascular and strength training workouts.

Next, let’s talk about the kids and how to keep them occupied--whether on their own or as a whole family: A few new games and activities for inside (or in the backyard!) will give everyone something new to try and keep monotony (and too much screen time) at bay. 

The home gym

With a little dedicated space in the house, you can set up your own gym—no membership needed! Just like a commercial gym, you’ll ideally put in a mixture of cardiovascular and strength equipment, maybe even with some yoga gear thrown in to keep your muscles moving freely.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week; alternatively, that could look like 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (think running or intensive cycling), or a combination of both. The most important factor in achieving this? Figuring out what type of cardio activity you like best—that’s how you stick with it.

Decathlon has a wide array of cardio equipment to keep it interesting. Like to use the elliptical at the gym? There are several models to choose from. The same goes for treadmills and even indoor bikes, if that’s more your jam. Rowing machines are also available. You can use any of these for steady-paced workouts or, if you want to take things up a notch, a little googling will land you on a variety of higher intensity options.

Indoor cardio time is also a great chance to catch up on movies and TV you’ve missed. Design some new playlists to keep you inspired, too—music is a proven boost to physical performance, helping distract you from the pain or helping you increase the intensity.

On alternate days—or combined if you need the fix—add in some strength work, too. The Mayo Clinic recommends full body sessions—hitting all major muscle groups—at least two times per week. Trick out your home gym with a combination of kettlebells, dumbbells, pull-up bars and the like. Another look around the web will help you land on good approaches to keeping your muscles engaged with new and different workouts.

The kids

You’ve more than likely heard that kids should be physically active at least 60 minutes per day. And in the midst of the pandemic, the odds are your kids aren’t achieving that. Your backyard is still fair game, however, and you can set up soccer goals, net games like volleyball or golf practice nets, and even t-ball. Get creative and make your own obstacle course for everyone to race.

After everyone’s had a chance to shake off some excess energy, try a backyard camp out. Using the two-second tent, you’re ready in an instant. Add in sleeping bags, some board games and some snacks, and you’re set for the night. Not the right weather for being outside? Bring the show indoors.

Try darts, billiards, or table tennis to keep things fun. Turn your dining table into a table tennis match. A mini backboard for a game of indoor basketball is another option. With no March Madness to follow this year, set up your own brackets and see who in your family can come out on top. 

While the pandemic has us all feeling a bit stir-crazy and isolated, remember that everyone’s in this together. Reach out to friends to see if they want to work out virtually with you—set up a weekly schedule when you can all hit the home gym at the same time. Send motivating notes, share playlists, do whatever it takes to get it done. You might even come out the other side of this fitter than before.


Amanda Loudin is a Maryland-based, award-winning journalist and content creator. Find her on Twitter or visit her website for more.

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