Limited Cardio Space During the Pandemic: Tips for Maximizing Space at Home
This article about making the most of limited cardio space during a pandemic was written by Marq Jordan, DPT from Fearless Physical Therapy
Cardio Exercises are Important – Especially During a Pandemic
Aerobic activity is defined as an activity that is done over some time at a moderate intensity.
Running is a great aerobic activity, but for a variety of reasons may not always be possible. It’s easy to participate in certain aerobic activities without having to leave your home. Plus you’ll really get your heart rate going with them.
For many, the following are some of the cardio activities for limited since they require little more than your participation Another bonus? They’re fun to do!
Many other types of aerobic activity are possible in close quarters. However, the best ones are the ones that keep you interested consistently and allow you to remain active.
Limited Cardio Space Doesn’t Have to Mean Limited Exercise
Is anyone else finding it difficult to get a cardio routine these days? Sure, you can go to the track or the trail for a jog. However, these workouts may be difficult for the whole family. From creating competition on the track to losing stragglers on the trail, for a consistent exercise routine, the best solution might be to work out at home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that many people live their lives.
This may be uninspiring for a lot of people, considering many have spent more and more time at home since the pandemic began. So what’s the solution?
Limited Cardio Space at Home: Making it Work
For many, performing cardio exercises at home is the ideal choice, because they don’t have to worry about anyone else. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible due to limited space, lack of equipment, lack of free time – or even lack of privacy.
While some people have extra rooms that they can convert into home gyms, or use to store equipment, not everyone can say this. There isn’t always extra room for a bike or a treadmill, and weights are often too heavy to carry from room to room.
How do you stay in shape with very little space while keeping the family active?
Options for Cardio Exercises at Home in Limited Space
When people look into new activities to stay in shape, they often only think of the popular ones: running, lifting weights, and cycling. These are great options, but they are not the only ones possible.
Why not try something new? Training like a fighter can get you into great shape and give you a chance to have fun while getting fit. Here are three options for you to do with limited cardio space and without leaving your home.
These are great calorie burners, and they don’t require a lot of space. All three can be done almost anywhere and by anyone.
Shadowboxing in Limited Cardio Space
Shadowboxing is an excellent form of exercise.
There are plenty of stories from professional athletes, movie stars, and pro wrestlers that used a boxing routine to get in shape. Study results vary, but on average, you can burn roughly 300 calories or more in only 30 minutes of shadowboxing.
Throw in a bag or an opponent, and those numbers may increase exponentially.
Some boxers lose more than 10 pounds in a single 12-round fight.
Proper Shadowboxing Technique Explained
- Start in a boxer’s stance with your non-dominant hand in front. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Stay in this position, and begin a slight bounce on your toes.
- Tip: Set the routine to music. Choosing a song with a consistent baseline is recommended. This keeps you in rhythm.
- Start throwing. Remember to create an almost screw-like motion with your fist as you punch.
- Rotate your hips to create power. Without the movement in the trunk and lower chain, you might as well just be flailing your arms.
- Circle your imaginary/play opponent. This burns more calories and forces your lungs to work even harder.
- Remember to breathe. Some people tend to hold their breath. This results in a faster onset of fatigue.
- Set your breathing rhythm. You can use music to sequence your breathing patterns. A calming option (classical music) is a good choice.
How to Create a Shadowboxing Routine
A simple shadowboxing program starts with throwing. This includes learning to correctly throw jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts while moving properly.
A sample routine begins with 5 total 3-minute rounds with a single minute of rest in between.
This may sound easy, but if you stay on your toes the entire time while keeping your arms moving and rotating your hips, it becomes real work. The result? You’ll likely end up dripping sweat after the initial routine.
Mix it up by adding “extra” moves like kicks, jumps, and even yelling or taunting. If you’re getting the whole family involved, friendly competition keeps things interesting.
To be effective, try shadowboxing 3 to 5 days a week for 30 minutes This will provide a good boost to your cardiovascular system.
Jumping Rope: Maximize Your Cardio in a Limited Space
Movie training montages like the ones in Rocky and Vision Quest get people amped.
Everyone can picture a protagonist in a small room jumping rope to a rock song from the ‘70s or ’80s.
There’s a reason that Rocky and Loudon are skipping rope. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise. But more than that, it also improves foot speed and coordination. Jumping rope for cardio exercise involves multiple muscle groups, which means you’ll burn more calories.
You can burn more than 70 calories in just 10 minutes of jumping rope.
Another upside? There are also fewer ground reaction forces when your feet hit the ground compared to running. If your body is not able to handle running on the track due to impact, jumping rope is a good alternative.
This exercise is recommended for people of all weights and health levels. For many considered overweight or out of shape, running hurts. This makes it unappealing as an exercise choice.The ability to substitute jumping rope in the beginning helps get people in the mindset that cardio exercise is helpful, and won’t always cause pain and discomfort.
Jumping rope requires more space than shadowboxing, but it doesn’t require a significant amount.
The only thing necessary to jump rope is the rope itself. When it comes to space, as long as you’re not living in an apartment with thin ceilings or squeaky floors, you can exercise indoors. You may prefer to step outside in order to ensure enough room, but in a pinch, a hallway, porch or balcony will work.
One thing to remember is that not everyone is inherently good at jumping rope. When starting, you can easily spend most of your time untangling yourself from the rope. If you find yourself in this situation, try the same motions without the rope.
It’s the same mechanics without your feet leaving the ground. You’ll still be rotating your wrist, which uses the same muscles. This means that you’re still burning calories… it just doesn’t look as cool.
Jumping rope is a cardio exercise that can be done with the whole family. Incorporate the following for friendly family competition.
- Set a timer on and see who can last the longest.
- Learn some of the games that were popular back in the day like double dutch, cross jumps, and duckie.
- Jump along to a song and see if you can make it the entire length. Try choosing songs with varied lengths for a challenge.
Stair Climbing is a Very Useful Exercise for Those with Limited Cardio Space
If you were an athlete in school, “bleachers” was probably one of the most feared commands ever uttered by a coach.
After only a few times going up and down the stairs, your body will react. Increase that to 10 times? You’ll feel the burn. Anything over 20 climbs, and you’ll likely start making promises to yourself about taking a rest.
The numbers vary for how many calories are burned while climbing stairs. However, on a stair machine, it’s possible to burn upwards of 300 calories in a half-hour at an average pace. Carry this over to climbing and descending stairs at home, and results should be similar.
One way to turn stair climbing into more of a game than a chore is to sprint up and down the staircase. Though simply going up and down is effective if it’s done enough, adding speed increases heart rate and changes breathing patterns.
You might think that you need a full set of stairs to make the most of this exercise, but this isn’t true. The general idea is to step up and down while bending the knees which can be done on porch steps, a curb, bricks or even wooden beams. Having actual stairs makes it less repetitive, but they are not necessary.
Changing speeds keeps the routine interesting, but even at a “normal” pace, climbing and descending stairs a few times a day helps.
Feeling aches and pains? Want to know how to perform these activities as well as others safely in your home?
Find a Physical Therapy clinic in your area that meets your needs by using the BetterPT clinic location tool or the BetterPT app. This will put you in touch with a PT clinic that can help you address and achieve your goals. Another option, since many places are still implementing restrictions in light of COVID-19 is to schedule a telehealth visit. The BetterTelehelath platform connects you with quality caregivers from the comfort of your own home.
You may be able to complete these exercises on your own, but getting guidance from a professional at first is recommended. Start your journey to have fun while you get fit — even in limited space today.
Dr. Marquis Jordan from Fearless Physical Therapy decided to become a physical therapist after his grandmother lost the use of her legs when he was a pre-teen. He grew up playing sports like basketball and football. However, the first time he stepped foot in the wrestling room, a passion was ignited. As a former wrestler, he knows the effect that injuries and pain can have on someone’s psyche. A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Jordan has participated in numerous sports symposiums and a year-long manual therapy residency. He has worked with injury clinics for athletes and has even worked with professional athletes and injured members of the U.S. military. Dr. Jordan’s interests lie in martial arts and grappling, soccer, and basketball. His interest in the recovery of injured athletes has peaked with his children’s participation in sports. In his spare time, Dr. Jordan enjoys reading and spending time with his family.