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Tips for keeping fit while stuck in your Atlanta house

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Using your own household items, you can stick to your exercise routine without a gym membership

A white living room with gray and wood furniture.
Most of this furniture can be incorporated into exercise.
Shutterstock

As Atlantans adapt to the new normal of social distancing, it may feel like we’re trapped in our own homes. No cinemas, eating out, or going to the gym, at least for now.

But thanks to streaming services and delivery, we can still enjoy our movies and favorite meals.

We can also keep to our fitness regimens by getting crafty with a number of items found around the house. For those not lucky enough to own a Peloton bike, home yoga room, or makeshift CrossFit stations in the yard, that is. In fact, many of these activities are great for the entire family, so be sure to include the kids to create your own homeschool P.E. classes.

Here, a look at several household items that can double as gym equipment—and expert advice on how to use them.

1. Grab your water bottles

Filled water bottles do great double-duty as dumbbells. Choose your preference—from 12-ounce bottles to gallon jugs—and get started with your favorite lifts, curls, and swings.

2. Hit the staircase

You don’t need a step machine to get in a good step workout. Head to the stairs, and start stepping. Just be mindful of your position so you don’t trip or stumble over the stairs. Carry aforementioned water bottles for extra resistance.

3. Get out a deck of cards

Using a deck of cards, you can create a different workout for each day, said Vanessa Vossler, Georgia regional fitness trainer for Orangetheory, which operates 24 studios in Atlanta, including outposts in Midtown, Buckhead, Decatur, near Howell Mill Road, and Inman Park.

Assign an exercise to the card’s suit or color, if using Uno cards, and use the card number for the rep count of the exercise. For example, if spades represent push-ups, then the 10 of spades would be 10 push-ups.

“You can use any body weight exercise with a deck of cards,” Vossler told Curbed Atlanta. “That’s a fun way to exercise for families.”

A white walled home gym with many windows at right and far back.
Atlantans who aren’t fortunate enough to have this need to be resourceful to keep fit.

4. Reach for your books

Books make a perfect substitute for a medicine ball or weight plate. However, you do need to choose heavy books to provide sufficient weight during the exercises.

5. Use your chairs

A good sturdy chair is perfect for a number of exercises. These include leg raises, squats, and chair dips to work your arms.

6. Roll the dice

Write down a list of exercises, and whatever you roll on the dice is the rep count, Vossler said. Every day you can swap the order of the exercises, and the dice will vary the rep count you do so it’s different every time.

7. Snag a towel

Don’t have a resistance band at home? No problem. Grab a towel, which will serve the same purpose. These are perfect for added resistance in such exercises as stretching, bent-over rows, and isometric holding.

8. Turn to a wall

Find an empty space along your walls, and start with some wall sits (standing with your back pressed against the wall and slowly sliding down into a seated position). You also can work on your stretches along a wall.

9. Make use of your sports equipment

If you have a baseball, basketball, or other sports ball sitting around, line family members across from one another and pass the ball back and forth. You don’t have to be far apart, say no more than three feet.

“Passing the ball is great for motor skills,” Vossler said. “This is great for kids because it makes them more productive in their schoolwork and helps with creativity.”

10. Include some paper plates

If you want to take your lunges to the next level, use some paper plates. When starting a lunge, place your foot on the paper plate and slide the leg back as you bend your knee. This adds an extra level of difficulty to the exercise.

11. Draw with sidewalk chalk

If you have a basement, garage, patio, driveway, or sidewalk, turn them into exercise spaces by drawing hopscotch courts, 4-square boards, or footwork squares on them, Vossler said.

12. Turn your living room into an exercise studio with online and/or live stream fitness classes

Many Atlanta gyms and fitness centers are currently offering fitness classes through their social media outlets to help Atlantans stay committed to their fitness routines.

Check with your local fitness center to see what they have to offer, or try one of these Atlanta gyms:

Orangetheory Fitness Midtown: Virtual classes on Facebook

Phoenix Athletic Club: Facebook Live classes

The Forum Athletic Club: Instagram Live classes

Equilibrium Fitness: Facebook Live classes

191 Resolution Fitness: Virtual Group Fitness Classes

Staying active in your home, as Vossler notes, will go a long way in maintaining your physical and mental well-being.