Savanna Ashbaugh

Savanna Ashbaugh, fitness coordinator for SIU's Recreational Sports and Services, demonstrates at-home exercise techniques. (Photo provided)

December 02, 2020

SIU fitness expert offers tips for staying fit at home, even during a pandemic

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Staying fit and healthy isn’t ever easy. It’s even trickier in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are socially distancing and staying home much more than usual.  Savanna Ashbaugh, fitness coordinator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Recreational Sports and Services, offers tips for working out and staying fit at home.

Get ready

Proper preparation is the first step, Ashbaugh said.

  1. Invest in comfortable shoes that will encourage you to move.

  2. Set realistic goals for yourself but know that goals can be adjusted if necessary. For example, set a goal of running a 5K race in four months. This allows you time to practice running, build the habit of running and pushes you toward your goal. If you aren’t ready in four months, you can always adjust the timeline.

  3. Create a game plan for when you want to work out. Having a plan in advance makes it easier to stick to it. For instance, decide you will work out after school or work on specific days each week. 

  4. Create a fun music playlist to make you smile and keep you moving.

  5. Lay out or pack your workout clothing in advance, perhaps the night before, so it’s all ready to go when you are. If you have long hair, be sure to include a few extra ponytail holders to keep hair out of your way.

  6. Check the batteries in your headphones or music player the night before or hours before you plan to work out. Charge if needed and assemble with your workout clothing and shoes.

Working it out

Individualizing your workout will improve your chances for success, Ashbaugh said.

  1. Warm up and cool down – always. Warming up allows the body to prepare for the exercise. Cooling down allows your body to return to a “normal” state, and this helps stave off injuries.

  2. Pick your style. Some individuals enjoy running. Some would rather be weightlifting. Others prefer dancing. If you try one of these types of exercise and dislike it, try something else. There are so many ways you can get up and move, and that’s what really matters. 

  3. Listen to your body! This is a huge obstacle that many people face, but it’s the most important tip to remember. If you are experiencing pain, evaluate your form and the speed at which you are performing the exercises. If the form and speed are correct, then take a day or two off and allow yourself a chance to recover. 

  4. Track your progress. You want to see how far you have come in your fitness journey. Be proud of yourself. No matter what stage of your fitness journey you are in, remember: You can do it!