There’s something to be said for the good vibes of sharing a workout with a friend or family member. Right now, as many of us are adjusting to a new routine and navigating at-home workouts and solo runs, that’s not always an option. However, there are still plenty of reasons to get in a workout on your own.
Regardless of what time of day you tackle a sweat, making time for physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and consume fewer unnecessary calories throughout the day, for starters. It can also alleviate stress and boost your mood.
If you’re having trouble finding the fun in your fitness routine when slugging it out solo, we’ve got you covered. Here are expert tips for getting the most out of your solo workouts.
FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
There are loads of different ways to work up a sweat, and many of them have skills you can enjoy alone. “Love playing soccer? Grab a ball and work on some dribbling in your backyard,” suggests Andy Seraphin, a strength and conditioning coach in New Jersey. “Love to run? Now’s a great time to build that base for that half-marathon you’ve been thinking about.” Mix up the terrain or distance to keep things interesting.
TURN ON THE TUNES
Whether you’re into hip hop or are more of a rock connoisseur, a good playlist can make a major difference in your mood. Research shows music is the ideal workout buddy, and it can boost endurance by as much as 15%. The right beats can also help you get lost in the moment, providing a distraction that keeps you pushing harder for longer. If music isn’t your thing, maybe one of these running podcasts does the trick.
JOIN A LIVE, ONLINE WORKOUT
Whether it’s on Instagram Live or a digital streaming service, there are loads of studios offering daily doses of fitness, including MyFitnessPal. If that’s not your jam, then simply reach out to some friends to join in on a workout all your own. “One of the best benefits of working out is having a community of friends to stay active with,” says Seraphin. “You can totally continue this through group workouts on Zoom or FaceTime.”
Seraphin suggests finding two or three buddies you enjoy working out with and making a schedule you can look forward to throughout the week. “Take turns for leading and programming the workouts,” he adds.
CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
This doesn’t have to mean driving to a new trail (which isn’t allowed during shelter-in-place, anyway). Perhaps you’re used to doing the same run route, but now everyone is doing it. Mix it up, and try videos in your living room or take your workout to the backyard or wherever you can maintain social-distancing guidelines. “Simply changing your surroundings can create a new stimulus, and instantly help improve your overall mood state,” says Josh Bonhotal, MS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and VP of operations at Future.
By setting a different reward for yourself each day, you are not only building and strengthening habits, but you are also giving yourself something to look forward to and be excited about. “Choose rewards that are specific to you and things you enjoy,” suggests Bonhotal, offering options like finally buying a new book you’ve been eyeing or enjoying an afternoon iced coffee. “Just be careful not to overdo, remember everything is fair game in moderation.”