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How to work out post-lockdown

Bouncing back after your COVID-19 break from exercise
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KRISTAL MENGUC/THE VARSITY
KRISTAL MENGUC/THE VARSITY

For months now, it’s been challenging to work — let alone work out — from home. As gyms reopen, re-entering these spaces after a long break can feel strange, to say the least. Here’s a list of tips for working out post-lockdown.

  1. Build up your tolerance
    Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or powerlifter, you don’t want to injure yourself during the first week back in the gym. Take it slow — try working out a little bit as often as you can from home or outdoors. Eventually, you can rev up your workouts by gradually lengthening and intensifying your training sessions.Professor Ira Jacobs, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, recommends starting light and short, then gradually working up to the recommendations of reputable organizations such as the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
  2. Take advantage of U of T’s free online workouts
    As of March 18, the university closed to all students, staff, faculty, and the public to ensure the health and well-being of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the various free online fitness and meditation classes offered by the University of Toronto’s Sport & Recreation division.The workouts include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, and barre. Visit MoveU Anywhere! workout videos for quick, high-intensity workouts that can be easily done at home. Check out the schedule for classes offered every day of the week — mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Even your roommate, friends, family, and siblings can join in!
  3. Zoom and Instagram live
    Many in the health and fitness community have transitioned to online platforms. This means you can tune in to your favourite Instagram influencer’s live workouts or sign up for a Zoom class with instructors that can virtually keep you accountable!
  4. Listen to your body!
    Intuitive exercise, also known as intuitive movement, is the practice of connecting and listening to your body to figure out how it feels and what type of movement it needs that day. Never underestimate the power of quick restorative stretching after a workout to help your mind and body recover faster.Get in the habit of asking yourself questions like, “What does my body need today?” or “What type of exercise will leave me feeling uplifted and not exhausted?” If you feel like striving for that HIIT class, great. If your body is begging for a restorative yoga class, also great. All movement counts, even a short walk. The point is to be flexible and to explore what feels right for your body.
  5. Explore the outdoors with AllTrails!
    If you’re still feeling anxious about returning to the gym once they open up, focus on exploring the outdoors with AllTrails. The user-friendly app is a great source to discover hiking, biking, backpacking, and running trails in or around the city. It lets the user know the difficulty level of a trail and even the time it takes to complete.Don’t want to use your data in the woods? No problem; AllTrails features downloadable offline maps for boundless convenience. Effortlessly filter by dog-friendly, kid-friendly, and wheelchair-friendly trails. The GPS activity tracker is a step up from the steps tracker most of us use on the iPhone Health app. Who needs a gym, really? Download AllTrails, get to the trailhead, and start your solo outdoor adventure!
  6. StairMaster: Baldwin steps edition
    Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Baldwin steps will surely raise your heart rate. Located at the intersection of Davenport Road and Spadina Road, near Dupont station, the public pathway is a tried and true favourite workout amongst Toronto runners. Plus, the rewarding view of Casa Loma makes running suck a little less.