Regular exercise has the power to boost energy levels, improve mood, and promote better sleep, and The CDC actively encourages regular workouts to improve brain capacity and cope with anxiety, depression and disrupted sleep patterns.
Exercise can be especially beneficial during lockdown and social distancing, where our routines are disrupted and our mental health is impacted. However, healthy choices aren’t always easy to make, and finding the enthusiasm to work out during a pandemic can feel like a super-human feat. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that many gyms and fitness centers are still closed, so many of us are left trying to motivate ourselves at home.
It’s important to note that ditching workouts or not having a fixed exercise routine is absolutely fine. But, if you’re looking for fun ways to break a sweat at home, look no further! We’ve sourced the best free online workouts to help get your mind motivated and your body moving.
Yoga for Mind and Body
Yoga is perfect for developing core strength, improving balance, and promoting focus. It also teaches us to be patient and to breathe through difficult situations, which can be especially useful during these trying times.
Whatever your level of flexibility, you can find plenty of courses, apps, and online classes through YouTube and Instagram. Yoga with Adrianne is probably the best-known free yoga channel on YouTube, and there are hundreds of practices available that encompass short, easy sessions to longer, more challenging classes.
Alo Yoga is another wonderful resource for various types of practice. Their series of 20 minutes or less classes is great for easing into regular practice, and there are longer lessons that focus on everything from strength and stamina to flexibility. There are also some great sessions that are suitable for kids, too. We also love YogiApproved and Fightmaster Yoga for their wide array of practices.
For meditation-based practice, Arianna Elizabeth is our go-to. Her 30-day challenge is perfect for quietening the mind and improving concentration. Or, if you’re looking for something to get your heart rate up, check out the 60-minute class from Core Power Yoga which combines cardio with a high-intensity workout.
Crossfit and HIIT
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for those who like their workouts fast and hard. What’s great about HIIT is that you don’t need a lot of equipment for it, and many classes require nothing but a soft surface (a carpet or a yoga mat work equally as well), so the initial investment is much lower than many other cardio and weight-based workouts.
As well as being a great mood booster, HIIT can improve the immunological system and lung capacity which is extremely beneficial for keeping healthy during the current pandemic.
Crossfit Health has plenty of free workouts that are suitable for all levels, and routines can be done using household items so there’s no need to buy weights. If you’re looking for a broad range of high and moderate-intensity workouts, check out the Planet Fitness YouTube channel for short cardio-focused routines and sessions focusing on specific areas of the body (the core classes are killer). This handy blog is another great resource and is packed with individual exercises to build your own practice.
Dance clubs might be closed but there are stacks of videos available to learn how to dance almost any style including tango, salsa, bachata, and hip hop. Dancing enhances your mental and physical health, balance, and above everything - it is incredibly fun. You can practice alone or with people in your bubble.
305 Fitness has heaps of hip hop inspired dance classes set to curated playlists that are incredible mood boosters. Try their Twerkout for a fun way to raise your pulse.
Baila Productions Salsa Dance School is our go-to for salsa, and you don’t need a partner to be able to practice. Kukuwa Fitness features African rhythms and high-energy moves that are guaranteed to leave you feeling happy and energized, and the Rockettes Instagram page features some fun dance-based workouts that’ll get you fit while teaching you some cool new moves.
Training exercises are often goal-focused and can be specifically designed to build strength, muscle, or stamina. Some trainers and fitness centers are performing equipment free classes on Instagram, including Barry’s hugely popular channel. Their sessions feature total body and no-equipment workouts that aim to push your limits and get real results.
Other apps that are usually paid are also making some of their high-quality content free during the pandemic. Take advantage of the latest Fitness Blender videos and get motivated by their fitness challenges, or tackle some of Make Your Body Work's tough classes.
PSYCHE and Rumble both organize live classes on Instagram and Zoom that cover everything from boxing to yoga and low impact workouts. Chelsea Piers Fitness does the same, and they regularly post their workout schedule on their Facebook page.
FreeTrainers generates custom-made routines that fit your work out requirements and your calendar, and their huge variety of exercises can be done in and outdoors, with or without a mask. Or, for a workout with a difference, check out Action Jacquelyn's 30-day ballet-inspired barre workout challenge.
Do you want to push yourself harder? Start your day with a plank challenge: