How to Get That Workout in When the Gym Is Off Limits

Let me start this off by saying, I absolutely hate working out at home. I tried it years ago when I first got into fitness, and while I enjoyed it, it had zero benefits for me. I saw way better results from visiting the gym once per week for an hour than working out at home every day.

That said, with the COVID-19 Shelter in Place Orders now active all across the country, gyms are officially off limits for most of us. Planet Fitness and most other public-access gyms closed their doors weeks ago. With people not taking social distancing seriously, experts predict that it may be late summer before we see the doors re-open.

So, what can you do to ensure you don’t fall into a lazy and sedentary lifestyle after weeks or months or years of building yourself up to become more active?

Play on the Wii

When I came to America in 2015, I brought my old Wii with me, but it has been sitting in my closet since we bought this house four years ago. Guess what still works like a charm? I’m now doing Wii workouts again and bought a second controller so Mom can play with me. She loved playing the bowling game with me in Jamaica when she visited.

If you don’t have an old Wii game hiding away in your closet, you can find full sets online that are used or even refurbished for under $140. This is also an excellent way to keep rowdy kids occupied. I have owned mine for about seven years and bought it used in terrible condition. These things last.

Do Yoga Outside

Yoga looks so easy: it’s not. I’ve tried it a few times and suffer tremendously with every attempt. I don’t do yoga often, but I do have a yoga mat. Every so often, I take it outside and do some stretches. Now that my Wii is up and running again, maybe the evil fitness coach in the My Fitness Coach game can teach me some new moves.

Your yoga mat will come in handy for other things as well. I use it as a cushion outside when doing squats, jumping jacks and high knees, barefooted. It’s also the mattress beneath my blanket when I go out to my makeshift patio to read a book and relax on my day off.

Wear a Pedometer

You can find several free apps in the Play Store and iStore to install on your phone. They track your steps and encourage you throughout the day to make it to between 8,000 and 10,000 steps daily. As handy as these are, who literally takes their phone with them everywhere they go? Not even the biggest phone addicts do, so it misses steps. A great solution is to get wearable fitness gear.

Everyone in my family currently has a pedometer watch. Dad has the Fitbit Versa 2 and I recently bought the Fitbit Inspire HR. If you have an under-30-dollar-budget, Lintelek fitness trackers come highly recommended. I got my Fitbit on sale for $30, so keep an eye out for deals too. It tells me when I’ve been sitting for too long and gets me up for 10 minutes or so.

Take Long Walks


I am amused by people who go hiking during Stay In Place Orders and wonder why everyone is on the trail. If they weren’t there themselves, they wouldn’t see them. Everyone is now heading out to trails they didn’t even know existed before with that same mindset. If your parks are open and you are insistent on going hiking, do yourself a favor. Pull the trail up on Google. It can tell you the least-busy times to visit.

Another option is simply to walk on your own property. If you have a large property, you’re all set. My yard is suburban-sized, so I walk around it three times every afternoon to get a jumpstart on my steps, get some fresh air and soak up the sun. Mom and I also used to go walking at night in the ‘burbs within our subdivision and we still do that. There was no one but us out back then and there’s still no one but us out now.

Build a Home Gym

This is the most expensive option, but it can also happen purely by accident, over time. That was the case for my family. We acquired fitness equipment bit by bit over the past few years and we can put them to better use now. Dad has a boxing set and weighted ropes. Last Chrismas, I bought Mom this squat machine after she stopped going to the gym. It costs only $90 and she loves it.

I have a yoga ball, yoga mat, one small weight and the evil fitness instructor in the My Fitness Coach game. You don’t have to go big and expensive when you invest in gym equipment. You’d be surprised by the high-quality objects you can pick up at thrift stores, Walmart and online. Like us. you might even have equipment hiding in various parts of the home.

Participate in PF Work-Ins

Even if you have no gym equipment and no Planet Fitness membership, the company has opened up its work-ins for everyone, everywhere. I’m a Planet Fitness member and get their emails directly, but this link to their Facebook workouts should work for you too.

The workouts are generally about 20 minutes long and you can either tune it while it’s happening or catch the videos later. I’m sure you can also find a lot of videos on YouTube if you want something more high-intensity.

What have you been doing to ensure you don’t fall into sedentary traps during the coronavirus quarantine? Share them with us in the comments below so everyone can benefit!

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32 thoughts on “How to Get That Workout in When the Gym Is Off Limits

    1. Thanks! Parks are currently closed. When open, since everyone is flocking to them now, they’re not good options for social distancing.

      1. They just recently closed some of them here. There are a few parks still open. But even if they are open or if you’re in public at all, social distancing is essential! 😉

    1. That’s great! I also highly recommend a pedometer, even if you get the free one on your phone. Mine has been very insightful. 😅

  1. I laughed yesterday to see my granddaughter with earphones in and ipad in hand walking up and down the sidewalk between our houses. She was getting her steps she told me. Interestingly the next town over(the wealthy one) seems full of people trying to game the system. Here people are very compliant.

    1. Game the system in what way?

      It’s important to get those steps in! I tend to fall behind on workdays because I spend a lot of time working at my desk. I need to add more people to hold me accountable. 😅 Let me know if you decide to get one!

      1. They keep gathering and think they won’t get caught because they are so “Special.” Did you see that little bicycle device so you can pedal while you sit? LOL

      2. People like that in times like these are sickening.

        No, I didn’t see that one. I know the regular stationary bikes though.

      3. What should I look for to find it? So far, it’s showing me actual bikes. 😅

      4. I think they’re listening to our conversations because they started popping up as recommended in my Amazon app! 😅 It led me to a step climber for $70 and I ended up getting that instead. Thanks for pointing me in that direction. I had no idea such tiny equipment existed.

      5. It is! I tried it out yesterday and it works great. I love that my Fitbit actually records the steps I’m taking.

  2. I had been following some Zumba and Booty Barre videos at home even before the lockdown was in place, but since then, I’ve subscribed to my coach’s Zumba lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays and last Tuesday 48 of us tuned in! I have a Fitbit to make sure I do my 10,000 daily steps. I haven’t left the house today yet, but I have already clocked 7,985 steps just doing housework and watering the garden. I’ll take Beano out for his afternoon walk later and that’s usually over 2000 steps! Keep moving! 👍😉

    1. That’s awesome! I’m really terrible on hitting the 10k steps on workdays! I spend so much time sitting at a desk!

      What’s your username on Fitbit? I’d love to add you. Mine is AlexisChateau. 🙂 Maybe you can help motivate me. 😅

      1. I would need your username or your email address to add you. I tried the email address I already have for you. Hopefully that’s the right one!

  3. I recently rejoined a gym not long before they all closed. But I must say I’m not a huge fan of the home workout thing doing bodyweight exercises. So at the moment I’m just doing walks around my neighborhood (it’s quite hilly here too), and I’m going to get back into running again. I have noticed here that there are so many more people outside now.

    As much as I love hiking, if everyone is out there in their favourite national park they are kind of missing the point right now. Recently they banned hiking, swimming and other outdoor activities here. It sounds harsh but it’s probably for the better. In this day and age people really hate being told what to do.

    1. Planet Fitness paused our gym membership and it sounds like they won’t be re-opening until the summer. Even if they do re-open, I’d have to get there at the crack of dawn to feel comfortable using the machines. That’s what I do for my grocery runs. I get there within 5 minutes of opening time to get my things before people start touching everything.

      You’re right about everyone getting on the trails. I think it’s a bad idea unless they live in remote areas and have a large park. It’s easier to social distance at those. I don’t have that luxury, so I’m staying home. Counties closed our parks but the governor reopened beaches and deliberately overrode their efforts. Some are fighting back.

      It’s funny how a few weeks ago, people were bragging about canceling on friends to stay home and sleep on a Friday night or how antisocial they were, but when it’s time to really put those skills to the test, they can’t do it. 🤷🏽

      1. Yeah if you happen to live in a remote area I don’t have a problem with it. I envy those people right now haha. Interesting the governers reopened the beaches again, I wonder what their reasoning was. Doing that in America just doesn’t seem like the greatest idea right now.

        Yep many people will look for loopholes. It is hard though. Many people can’t be with their family and friends right now, which sucks a little. Thank goodness for technology. Recently our own health minister got in trouble for beaching the rules haha.

    1. We’ve gotten lucky the past few weeks with the rain. We went from rain almost every day to none. Just a few light showers here and there. Hopefully your rain break is coming soon!

  4. I have a friend who recently got laid off. He decided to go on walk about and went into the mountains with his dog for three days. He said he didn’t meet anyone else once he got deep enough in.

    1. For three days?? Wow. That sounds like a wonderful experience. I’m sorry he got laid off though. I hope he qualifies for benefits.

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