How To Keep Your Quarantine Workout Habits Going Once You Go Back To Work

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Whether you've taken up yoga or started trail running during the pandemic, chances are you tried some new form of exercise just as an excuse to move around. As some stores and even gyms start opening back up, you might be thinking about how to keep your quarantine workout habits going, especially if you're going back to work.

"Right now, people are prioritizing exercise because it’s the only time of day to get in movement," says Elise Rose, a lead instructor for the indoor studio cycling franchise CycleBar in Chicago. "As we begin to return to real life, you may find yourself slacking on your workouts, but it’ll be equally as important to keep your body moving and get your heart rate up daily as it was in quarantine."

There's nothing wrong with maintaining the exact same home workout routine even if you can go back to the gym, says Mecayla Froerer, a certified personal trainer and director of at-home personal training community iFit Training. "Maintaining exercise habits can be difficult when we start commuting again," Froerer tells Bustle. "One way to combat additional commuting time by going to the gym each day is to jump on a piece of in-home exercise equipment instead."

That might mean going out and buying a jump rope, or it might mean continuing to work out with the kettlebell you managed to snag before they all sold out. It's also totally OK if your new schedule means you just don't have the energy or time to work out anymore. Whatever your post-pandemic workout situation is, you can maintain your quarantine workout habits with these seven training tips from fitness pros.

1. Attach Exercise To Your Commuting Routine

It can be easy to let your workouts fall to the wayside as commuting becomes more complicated than transferring from your bed to your couch. Structuring your new routine around your workout (instead of trying to shove your workout into your new routine) can help keep exercise at the top of your mind.

"Try to set a routine where exercise becomes something that can't slip through the cracks," says David Roche, a coach for the running coaching community Some Work, All Play and running coach for running and cycling app Strava. Maybe that means cranking out a few minutes of jumping jacks and pushups between brushing your teeth and hitting the shower. Or it might mean bringing your workout clothes to work with you so you'll feel more ready to break a sweat after you clock out. Whatever you choose, make your workout fit into your life as seamlessly as possible.

2. Form A Lunch-Break Habit

"For busy people, I encourage them to exercise in the morning or at lunch, when there should be fewer meetings or unexpected hurdles," Roche tells Bustle. By using your lunch break to get a quick workout in and eat, you'll be getting yourself away from a screen (because let's be real, you've definitely been in front of your computer nonstop for the last three months). You'll also be giving your mind and body a break from the work day, all without having to get up any earlier.

3. Integrate Super Short Workouts Into Your Day

If your days are too chaotic to schedule a consistent lunchtime habit, make the most of your coffee breaks. Even short bursts of movement can maintain your fitness level.

"Five or 10 minutes count, and the body adapts to those small stimuli over time," says Roche. "I always get a lot of joy from seeing people upload a quick one mile run or session of stairs at the office to Strava because it shows they're making it work in the context of a life that is meaningful to them."

4. Emphasize Exercises You *Actually* Enjoy

Working out should never be about forcing yourself to do something you hate. If you hate running, you don't have to run. Can't stand weights? You don't have to lift 'em. "Find something that you love to do — something that feels good," Rose says. "Once you’ve identified that, it becomes easier to dedicate the time for it."

Instead of something you dread, your exercise time might well become something you look forward to. "When a workout becomes more than just a moment to strengthen your body, but a chance to unplug from the world and focus on yourself, it becomes a lot easier to prioritize and implement in your schedule every day," Rose says.

5. You Don't Have To Go Back To The Gym

Just because your gym is opening again doesn't mean you have to go back, especially if you or someone you love is immunocompromised. Feel free to keep working out just like you are now — in the comfort of your own apartment.

"By simply heading to your garage or exercise room at home, and jumping on your own treadmill, you not only eliminate commute time, but you’ll also be able to get your workout in whenever it works best for you," Froerer tells Bustle. "We all know how busy life can get, so why not eliminate as much stress as possible?"

6. Make It Part Of Your Self-Care Plan

You don't have to go back to thinking about exercise as a chore the way you might have before quarantine. "As many around the world have turned to exercise as a way to de-stress and cope with the uncertainties of COVID-19, I believe it is important to remember how good exercise and getting regular physical activity has made us feel," says Froerer.

Instead of thinking about working out as a necessary evil, it might keep you motivated if you move toward focusing on exercise as something that kept you sane during the pandemic. Part of this process is about choosing workout styles that you enjoy, but it's also about shifting your mindset to saying, "This is something I want to do" rather than, "Ugh, I have to do this stupid thing." Hopefully, working out can keep your mind healthy during re-openings (and re-closings), too.

7. Put Your Workout In Your Calendar

During quarantine, even your abundance of Zoom meetings can't help you actually keep track of what day it is. When you start commuting again, "what day is it?" might become something you ask less as you check your calendar more. So, put your workouts in specific calendar slots to keep yourself engaged.

"As we begin to get busier and busier, it’s always a good practice to pre-plan your workout along with anything else in your day," Rose tells Bustle. That way, it'll just be part of your schedule rather than an extra burden to stress out about.

"By treating your exercise time like you would an important meeting or lunch with a friend, you are showing to yourself that your health and fitness is a priority," Froerer says. In other words, you'll be prioritizing yourself, which you deserve.

Experts:

Elise Rose, lead instructor for CycleBar Chicago

Mecayla Froerer, certified personal trainer, director of iFit Training

David Roche, coach for Some Work, All Play and running coach for Strava