I am a Year 9 student, and here are some of my favourite online fitness workouts, advice from school friends, and at the end my Top 3 Tips for keeping motivated to exercise each day.
To start with, let’s remind ourselves why keeping fit is good for both the body and the mind.
A regular routine of exercise offers amazing benefits that can positively impact your life in many ways: it will make you fitter, keep weight at a healthy level, improve your skin's appearance, and reduces your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.
Endorphins released through exercise have also been shown to improve your sleep, which you'll need after doing a few of these workouts.
Whether it is a sport or a specific workout, exercise for 150 minutes per week (says the NHS) and all those health benefits are yours.
There are so many physical health gains that you receive by exercising, but the mental health gains are just as extraordinary. Exercise helps deal with depression and anxiety as it is scientifically proven as a “mood booster” due to the increase of endorphin levels.
It is also a great stress reliever as increasing your heart rate can actually reverse stress-induced brain damage.
Finally, and most importantly, it increases your self-esteem and self-confidence. With exercise, many people solely look for the “perfect body”. However, exercise is not just about physique. Exercise is there to make you feel healthy, strong and proud of yourself due to the physical journey you have gone through.
Nevertheless, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to exercise during the day, especially when we are mostly confined to our homes.
This makes the struggle of exercise even more tricky! The positive news is that with exercise it is never too late to start.
Here I share with you some of my favourite online fitness workouts, and later some more recommendations from my friends. Most of the workouts are available on YouTube, which you can access from your computer or via most smart TVs.
You may start anytime and at your own pace, and when you are ready you may increase the intensity of your physical activity. Ditch some of your Netflix and social media time, and go grab a mat and get moving!
Online Workout Deal Update: MoveGB is offering free unlimited access to its live-streamed classes from local instructors, plus a large library of on-demand content from some of the world’s top trainers. The first week is free, and then it’s £1/week to continue having access.
PE with Joe on YouTube
Viral sensation Joe Wicks has conquered YouTube and YouTube Live these past weeks. His Body Coach workouts are some of the most popular out there, and for the lockdown he has created a PE With Joe series that is streamed live at 9am (UK time) and available recorded after that.
(If you wonder why Joe's arm is strapped in the picture above, he broke a bone in his hand when he fell off his bike. So maybe we're all safer exercising at home!)
For those who don't know him, Joe is an online and wellbeing lifestyle trainer, with his main mission being to “get people moving and eating healthily”. He started out as an unrecognized personal trainer and became a multi-millionaire due to his energising workouts on YouTube.
He recognises that in lockdown it is especially essential to exercise daily with his high-intensity workouts, which is why his PE lesson for families stuck at home has been taken to the nation's hearts as much as the nurses and doctors in the hospitals.
He has already donated a sizable amount (£100,000 and counting) to the NHS to help it in this time of need. All the sessions are free of charge, so don't miss out.
What usually goes on during a Joe Wicks workout?
You can either join him at home (and his home) on YouTube Live at 9am, or watch his sessions any time that suits you that day, as he pre-records all of his workouts. An added extra if you join the live feed is that you can gain a shoutout!
The duration is around 25-35 minutes (including the essential warm-ups and warm downs), so you need to schedule a suitable time to fit the workout session into your daily routine.
There are little breaks during each session, and after 10 exercises you have a two-minute break; then you do another 10 exercises. He always encourages you to hydrate every session.
Even though it is a high-intensity training session, Joe is always talking to you - engaging you with the workout and making it an overall fun experience leaving you feeling good and proud of yourself at the end of every session.
Some workouts may seem tricky at first, but are all pretty straight forward. The popularity speaks for itself (his YouTube channel has over 2m subscribers) due to its enjoyable, active, international experience and not one to miss out on!
Baby Shark on YouTube
There are so many digital platforms these days pushing and impressing the need to exercise, yet most have an uninteresting, standard format to workout to. Why exercise if it is not enjoyable?
Baby Shark has been super successful since it was first uploaded as a kid’s dance in 2016. It has been watched over 5 billion times!
But as an exercise workout, we recommend the Baby Shark Gymnast Style challenge. This workout lasts only around 1 and a half minutes, so a very easy exercise to fit into the day.
Forget about it just being for kids. Even Joe Wicks would work up a sweat with this high-intensity challenge!
It is focussed on your core strength, but with innovative exercise moves and catchy background music you are always highly entertained throughout the video - although it will take you hours to get the catchy tune out of your head.
Improving your core strength gives you a great high-intensity workout, plus improves your flexibility. Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis.
With different exercises for each member of the shark family, you learn to love and fear the workouts - which only seems appropriate when dealing with a bunch of active sharks.
At first, it may seem difficult but day after day your core muscles will be strengthening - making it easier and easier to complete it.
In my opinion, it is a great workout to do everyday, as it is quick, engaging and very beneficial for your health and muscles. I combine this with Joe Wicks, although you need some rest time in between - feel free to turn back to Netflix at this point.
Chloe Ting on YouTube
Want to get better abs in two weeks? We love doing the Chloe Ting abs workout. With most of the workouts being high intensity, you will visibly see the results of your hard work in no time.
Some people have received so remarkable results they have created YouTube videos of their improved body, and are dedicated to thanking her.
All her workouts are free of charge and available on YouTube. Check out the Chloe Ting website to see over 10 of her her free workout programs - for example I am doing the 28-day Flat Tummy Challenge.
Each day the exercises range from 10 to 40 minutes long and require no equipment. I highly recommend her workouts as they are well crafted, engaging and very encouraging. And I got my mum to join in to keep us both motivated.
Fitbit Coach and Premium
While most of us think of Fitbits as activity trackers for long walks and runs (get those 10,000 steps or else!), there’s actually a whole lot more to Fitbit than that.
There are special activity trackers for kids (see our roundup of the best Fitbits for kids), such as the Fitbit Ace, but older children and especially teens will want one of the adult trackers - read our recommendations to find the best Fitbit for you.
Fitbit’s smartwatches (Versa 2 and Ionic) have colour touch screens that can play small videos of workouts. They also have other wellbeing apps, as well as notifications such as Caller ID, Text messages and WhatsApp.
Three on-screen smartwatch workouts are available: 10-Minute Abs; 7-Minute Workout; and Treasure Chest.
If you sign up for the basic, free Fitbit Coach account (for owners of the smartwatches), you get a personalized workout (either Daily Dose, Get Lean, Get Moving, or Get Strong) and two recommended workouts on your watch, which change periodically during syncs. You can even choose your personal trainer: either Lea or bootcamp master Adrian.
If you want even more on-screen workouts, you need to subscribe to Fitbit Premium, which costs £7.99/$9.99 month or £79/$79year. You can also follow the workouts via the mobile app on your phone or tablet, so you don't have to own the more expensive Fitbit smartwatches.
With Premium, you can join a bunch of challenges, such as Push-Up Prep, which is a 3-week workout plan to build upper-body and core strength, and others such as Full Body Strong, Tone & Lift Your Butt, and HIIT (high-intensity workout).
Many of these can be done inside, so being stuck at home is no excuse not to get yourself fitter.
We also like Fitbit’s Wellness features, such as Guided Breathing sessions that help you relax. And with a Fitbit that includes a heart-rate monitor (the cheapest is the £89 Fitbit Inspire HR), you can track the quality of your sleep, which is a key health indicator.
Look out for online bargains by viewing our up-to-date roundup of the best Fitbit deals.
Body-specific online workouts
Right now, stuck at home, we all need to exercise more, and take care of our health.
Social media is really trying to impress the need for exercise in daily life, whether it is the right tea to drink to get clearer skin or the exercises you should do to get the “perfect bum”.
There are so many paths to take when focusing on your wellbeing - from nutrition to strength - but here we are focused on specific body workouts.
I use Pinterest a lot to gain ideas for interesting workouts whether it is a full-body workout or just leg workout. The site shows pictures of daily routines you can follow. You don't even need to click to the sites if you just want the exercise-routine charts.
I always see an improvement in my overall wellbeing.
For example, one of my particular favourites is a 30-day ab challenge. I find these exercises really great as there is a clear goal (making my way through the whole 30 days without fail), which is a great motivator that leaves me proud of completing it at the end.
Here are a few other ideas.
After reading this article I hope you will be more motivated to either increase your fitness regime or even begin one.
Lockdown exercise advice from my friends
I have also been talking to my friends about their daily fitness regimes.
My friend Sophia told me: “Due to social distancing. I currently can't do swimming training (my usual form of exercise), so I have been doing a workout every day and going on a run”.
If you can get outside for some exercise Sophia recommends an app called Zombies, Run! (iOS and Android), where you take on the character of a Runner who has to get supplies while evading "zoms". As they get closer to you, you have to jog, run and sometimes sprint before they eat you. It's a real fun run!
There are more conventional exercise apps in our companion feature on the best workout and fitness apps.
Another school friend, Olive, said “I have tried to follow the Joe Wicks workout since being in quarantine. Before that, I did swimming most days”.
This just goes to show that even if your main source of exercise is cancelled, there are so many ways for you to get back out into the fitness world.
My friend Gilda had some other advice: “I've been doing DofE (Duke Of Edinburgh) conditioning with three reps at least twice a week, using my rowing machine (doing sprint/short bursts), and a 30-day online fitness cardio.”
Salma said “I make sure I get 45 minutes of proper exercise (minimum) in a day, and often change what I do - one day I will do a YouTube workout, and go for a run on another day.”
Lastly, my friend Eva told me: “I’ve been going for a 4k run every other day and try to get as much exercise in every day - such as a Joe Wicks workout, stretching or a small walk. I try not to sit around for a long time as it stops me from being motivated".
Keep active, keep healthy
All these quotes go to show that there are so many exercises out there to keep you healthy and active.
However, one of the most tricky things to handle when exercising, is the ability to keep motivated.
These are my top 3 tips for keeping motivated for online workouts.
1. Set a goal (for example, I will try to do Joe Wicks for three weeks). This is why fitness challenges are so successful as they have a time limit keeping you on task (say, a 30-day cardio challenge).
2. Schedule a daily workout time. If you set a time in the day where you are focussed only on exercise it will be harder for you to forget or slack off exercising.
3. Always make your workouts fun and engaging. Whether it is putting on your favourite playlist while working out, or doing innovative and unique exercises, you will be more excited to complete that workout again.