Get creative: How to stay fit and healthy while stuck at home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Monica Ricci
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

For many of us, it has been weeks since we’ve been able to leave the house and go about our daily routine. That doesn’t mean you can’t adapt and overcome the unique challenges presented by the ongoing public health crisis.

“This time can be used as an opportunity to refocus on and dial in our daily health practices,” wing exercise physiologist Jimmy Puchalski said. “ With some creativity and focused effort, we can still work towards our health and fitness goals and see progress in the areas in which we strive to improve.”

If you’re working from home, Puchalski suggests setting up your home workspace to allow for more frequent movement throughout the day. You can do this by:

  • Utilizing setups that allow different sitting and kneeling positions, including sitting on the floor and finding ways to stand during the work day
  • Taking regular exercise breaks (Example: 50 squats every hour/5 minute circuits between tv shows)

Since gyms are closed throughout the country to protect against the spread of coronavirus, Puchalski said it’s important to establish a regular time of the day for exercise to help with consistency and adherence.

“There are infinite variations of exercises you can choose from that it can sometimes be overwhelming,” he said. “When in doubt, stick with the foundational movement patterns, they will never steer you wrong.”

Those include:

  • Squat and lunge variations
  • Upper body pressing
  • Upper body pulling
  • Plank variations

Puchalski said small variations to these movements, such as using slow tempos, pause holds, and single-arm/single-leg variations, could make them more challenging.

As the weather gets warmer, you can also switch it up by going outside for some exercise. Some ideas include:

  • Parking lot/driveway sprints
  • Odd implement carries (logs, bags of soil)
  • Skips, hops, and jumps
  • Lunges around the yard or house

If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated at home, Puchalski said you could also involve family and friends, but remember: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising everyone to practice social distancing but socially connecting, even when outside. You can still involve others by:

  • Creating exercise challenges
  • Making it a game
  • Facetime/Skype friends to work out together

Lastly, Puchalski wants to remind everyone stuck at home to use it as a time to practice being consistent with good sustainable eating habits and a well- balanced diet.

“While I encourage you to support your local restaurants, this is also a great time to take ownership of the foods you eat,” he said. “Try new recipes that are simple, healthy, and quick to prepare, and work on developing time-saving cooking strategies that you can carry over into our daily life post-COVID-19.”

He recommends avoiding those highly restrictive or fad diets and instead focusing on the basics. You can do this by eating:

  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Unprocessed complex carbohydrates
  • Low-fat preparation methods (baking rather than frying)

At this time, all PT tests due through May have been postponed for at least six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone with questions or concerns about their fitness/health goals can reach Jimmy Puchalski at