In light of COVID-19, we’ve all had to make some pretty major changes to our everyday routines – such as our social interactions (having to stick to our immediate households and not being able to gather with other family members or friends), our work environments (with many businesses opting to move to allow their employees to work from home through the pandemic), mask wearing, etcetera.

What some have also had to make changes to is their fitness routines. While many gyms and recreation centres are now open to customers again with things like limits on capacity (both staff and customers), appointments being required for workout sessions, screening (i.e., temperature checks), increased cleaning & disinfecting protocols (including hand sanitizing stations), appropriate signage to encourage the following of safety measures (i.e., physical distancing), temporary suspension of high-impact fitness classes (as per orders of the Provincial Health Officer), and changes to personal training, it’s still possible to be exposed to COVID-19 despite all health and safety measures being taken. Therefore, not everyone will be comfortable stepping foot back inside of a gym just yet. That being said, it’s still important that we get exercise each and every day – and there are still ways we can do that despite COVID-19.

For example, by exercising outdoors. While the winter weather can make being outside feel less comfortable, it doesn’t have to be entirely avoided as long as you take appropriate measures (including wearing weather-appropriate attire.) It’s important to layer up by starting with a thin base of synthetic fabric (which helps pull sweat from the skin), followed by an additional layer (such as a waterproof jacket or windbreaker) to protect you from conditions like wind, rain, and snow. Depending on the temperature, you may also require an additional fleece layer for added warmth, as well a hat and pair of gloves. Because the days are shorter during winter months, it’s also important to wear bright colours so that you can be seen easily – particularly if you are going to be sharing the roadways (i.e., bicycling) with motorists. If you’re going to be walking on snowy or icy surfaces, make sure you’re wearing shoes that are appropriate for the conditions (it’s also recommended that you attach snow/ice spikes to your shoes.) Because exercising in colder weather can also increase your risk of sprains and strains, it’s also a good idea to warm up prior to your workout to help increase blood flow to the muscles to prevent these types of injuries from occurring.

If outdoor fitness isn’t something you’re fond of, you can just as easily exercise in the comfort of your own home without requiring any special gym equipment. For example, you can find plenty of pre-recorded exercise (i.e., yoga and pilates) videos online that you can follow along to, or download a workout app onto your smartphone. If you do, however, want to get some at-home workout equipment, things like treadmills and bikes are great for cardio, while weights can also help increase strength.