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By: John Adams, author of Dadbloguk.com, LinkedIn Changemaker and dad of two young daughters
Posted on: Jan 26, 2021

Fitness Inspiration for the Start of 2021


From at-home workout advice to fun for the whole family, John Adams gives us fitness ideas and encouragement to start 2021 with active habits.

It’s a new year and many people will be looking for a new fitness routine after the Christmas period. While it may be a New Year, COVID-19 is still an issue and many of the challenges we faced in 2020 remain. How can you keep yourself fit and active in this environment, where gyms and swimming pools are often closed and sports teams can’t meet?

To help you meet your fitness goals, I’ve put together some ideas for you, many of which I have been doing myself. Crucially, I have selected activities that will cost nothing and require minimal fitness equipment. I hope they give you some inspiration so you can manage to keep fit and active, despite the challenges posed by Coronavirus.

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Keeping fit and active is essential

The first point to make is that getting some exercise and staying fit is essential. You don’t have to run Marathons, but doing some exercise each day, ideally in the fresh air, will do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Living under strict COVID guidelines can be very demotivating. When you can’t meet friends or undertake your usual activities, it’s easy to fall into a trap where you watch box sets on the sofa. That’s not a good habit to get into. Even if all you do is go for a short walk each day or get in a short at-home workout, you will reap the health benefits.

Jump rope (skipping)

I got into jump rope when we were first put into lockdown in 2020. Until that point, I had shown no interest in jump rope. I didn’t appreciate just how good it was a method for getting a thorough cardio workout.

I very quickly learned that just 10 minutes spent using a jump rope provided a thorough work out and burned off a huge number of calories. If you haven’t tried it before, I recommend it. A good starting point is this beginner’s workout on the PopSugar YouTube channel.

The beauty of jump rope is that you can do it almost anywhere, whether you have access to a large park or live in a small apartment. Better still, the only equipment you need is the rope itself and these can be bought very cheaply.

Try Pilates

If you can’t get outside for some reason, Pilates might be a good option. All you need for a Pilates session is an exercise mat and done properly, this will give you a good bodyweight workout while also helping you with posture alignment and building abdominal muscles.

You’ll find lots of videos on YouTube that will introduce you to Pilates (see this video from The Live Fit Girl). Just remember to start small and work up. Some people assume Pilates is a gentle exercise, but it is designed for building muscle strength and improving stamina - so be realistic.

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Making exercise fun

The best form of exercise is when it’s dressed up like a fun activity. This can be particularly important if you want to exercise as a family or need to encourage children to stay active (no easy task if they have been remotely schooled for several months).

An activity like Geocaching is a great way to get exercise. This is a bit like a treasure hunt, but you use your cell phone to locate the treasure (called a Geocache). You can download the app for free, and you’ll get outside for several hours each time you go on a geocache hunt. My kids love this activity and it is a great way to stay fit.

Another great family exercise is Pokemon Go. Like Geocaching, it combines tech and spending time outdoors so it has greater appeal to youngsters.

Use a fitness tracker

There’s a reason I’m putting fitness trackers on this list. Many people are working at home instead of in a workplace. When you work from home there can be a temptation to keep working and forget to take time away from your screen on other activities.

A fitness tracker will encourage you to make sure you walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Some fitness trackers also enable you to set reminders so you get exercise and take screen breaks at appropriate times.

Once upon a time these pieces of kit were very expensive. These days they can be bought very cheaply and you’ll even find most cell phones have basic fitness tracker functionality.

A final word

The fitness ideas I’ve listed here are simple and, as I said at the start, require minimal financial outlay. Just make sure that any activities you undertake are allowed under the laws and rules where you live (an activity like Geocaching, for instance, could result in you travelling into different areas where there are different rules).

Do also remember to take it easy. If you haven’t exercised for a while or you’re trying a new activity, start small and build up. The last thing you want to do at the moment is end up in hospital with a fitness-related injury.

With that said, I wish you all the best for 2021. With vaccines approved and being rolled out, there is hope this will all be history in the coming months. In the meantime, do remember to get some exercise each day to keep your mind and body fit.