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Gyms Closed: Work out anyway

A sign on the front of the gym saying the gym is closed.

The fitness center at Travis Air Force Base, California, is closed to patrons April 5, 2020. The facility closed March 15 and will remain closed through April 30 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

An Airman is doing push ups on a track.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Matthew James, 79th Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 Extender pilot, performs push-ups April 5, 2020, outside the fitness center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The fitness center closed March 15 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

An Airman working out.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Matthew James, 79th Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 Extender pilot, performs exercises April 5, 2020, outside the fitness center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The fitness center closed March 15 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

A closed fence with a sign saying gym is closed.

TThe entrance to the Jungle, an outdoor fitness facility located behind the fitness center at Travis Air Force Base, California, is locked April 5, 2020. The facility closed March 15 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

A sign displaying track rules.

The track behind the fitness center Travis Air Force Base, California, is empty April 5, 2020. The fitness center closed March 15 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

An empty track.

The track behind the fitness center at Travis Air Force Base, California, is empty April 5, 2020. The fitness center closed March 15 to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Airmen and their families have to find alternatives to exercise during the fitness center closure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

(Editor’s Note: No federal endorsement is implied by this article. The views expressed in this commentary are those of Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman.)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Fitness centers across the United States have closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fitness center at Travis AFB shut down operations March 15 to help prevent the spread of the virus.

These closures have left many people wondering what they can do to maintain their physical fitness and exercise regularly. While it is frustrating to have limited gym access--I miss hitting the gym on a near-daily basis myself--there are several options available for people of all fitness levels to maintain or increase their physical fitness.

One simple way each of us can exercise despite the COVID-19 pandemic is walking. Walking is a form of exercise that increases heart rate, burns calories and is a low-impact exercise most people can do. You can also intensify your walk or modify your stroll accordingly. Every step is one that brings you closer to enhanced wellness. Of course, if you’re walking outside, you will have to practice physical distancing measures and ensure you remain six feet away from others.

For those of you who don’t want to walk outside, if you have stairs in your home, simply walking up and down them several times is a great cardiovascular and lower body exercise. You can walk or even run up and down the stairs at various intensity levels and get in a great workout.

For those of us brave enough to venture outdoors, there are several locations available to get in a good walk or a run. If you have access to a track, and Airmen and their families at Travis AFB have access to two, you can get in endurance runs, sprints, tempo runs and so many more conditioning workouts at the tracks. Those with base access can also walk or run at the Duck Pond which offers a 1.3-mile loop complete with some challenging hills. Remember to avoid groups larger than 10 people and to practice physical distancing.

Working out at home is also possible in a variety of ways. While watching TV, you can do commercial break workouts where you perform a series of exercises during every commercial break. I enjoy doing this type of workout while I watch football games, and I’ve found I can get in a significant number of push-ups, squats and burpees by doing so. Even getting in a few exercises such as five squats every 10 minutes while making dinner or lunch for your family can help you stay fit.

If you have a jump rope at home, you could do several rounds of jump rope where you jump for 30 seconds and take 20-second breaks. After 10 minutes of jumping, you may feel pretty worn out as that’s a great workout. You can enhance that or modify the workout to suit your needs. You can also perform an exercise as many times as possible in a certain amount of time. For instance, you could choose to do one-minute rounds of push-ups, burpees and crunches and take a one-minute break once you’ve completed each exercise. Challenge yourself to get in as many rounds as possible and remember to maintain good form throughout each exercise. Never sacrifice form for speed as doing so could cause injury.

Technology has also made working out at home much easier than ever before. There are numerous fitness applications available and many can be accessed on smartphones, tablets or computers. Below is a list of a few options you may want to consider.

  • Wellbeats is a fitness company that offers a variety of strength training and cardio workouts online and through their application. It’s available for download on smartphones and tablets. The Travis community can also access Wellbeats workouts for free through April 30 by using code 57a4df63 at sign-up. For more information, visit https://portal.wellbeats.com/#/idle.
  • The Beachbody on Demand app, which can also be downloaded on nearly any device, is another option for people to exercise from home. Beachbody offers a variety of fitness programs such as Insanity, P90X and Morning Meltdown 100. Many of the workouts in those programs offer bodyweight only workouts so no equipment is required. For a monthly fee, people can access Beachbody programs either online or through the company’s app. For more information, visit www.beachbodyondemand.com
  • The site, www.skimble.com is another option. It offers a variety of strength and conditioning workouts to customers both online and through its app. People can create their own workouts or access a workout through Skimble’s vast database of fitness routines.      

I hope this information helps people continue their fitness journey despite the challenges COVID-19 brings.