IT HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED, challenging, and uncertain year for just about everyone. Which is why, perhaps now more than ever, cultivating resilience—the ability to bounce back after you’ve been knocked down—is essential. The first step: focusing on what you can control and trying not to waste energy on what you can’t. Fortunately, there are a handful of health and well-being practices that you can do to accomplish this goal. The following evidence-based strategies will help you build a solid, strong, and resilient body and mind.
Begin with your chest down and palms pressing into the ground, thumbs at your nipples. Press up, locking your elbows at the top. Lower back down, so your chest gently touches the ground or hovers above it. Press up. Keep your core tight throughout the movement. For an easier option, place your hands on an elevated surface like a table or bench.
Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns. Pull your shoulder blades back and hinge at the hips so the kettlebell swings between your legs. Thrust your hips forward and swing the kettlebell in front of you to shoulder height.
Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, feet pointing slightly out. Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Squat down, keeping heels on the ground and lowering your butt until it is at or just below your knees. Push up through both feet to stand, locking your knees at the top. For an extra challenge, hold a kettlebell at your chest.
Place a bench or other sturdy object one foot in front of you. Step up, placing your entire right foot on the step. Push through your foot to bring your left foot up. Slowly step down with your right foot, then left foot. That counts as one rep. Do all reps on one side, then switch after resting for a few seconds.
Strength-Train at Home
IT’S POSSIBLE TO develop a great workout routine without stepping foot in a gym—all you need is a few feet of open space and a $35 kettlebell.
Research suggests that the best way to build muscle is an approach called progressive overload—stress a muscle, let it recover, and then stress it more, gradually building up the stress level over time. It’s important to keep this formula in mind. Too much stress with not enough rest and you get injury, illness, or burnout. Not enough stress with too much rest and you don’t get stronger. Being healthy and strong doesn’t require heavy doses of high-intensity interval training or running 50 miles per week. You just need to follow this cycle of stress and rest, increasing the load as you go.
Do this workout two to three times per week, completing three sets of between six and fifteen repetitions for each exercise, progressing in a circuit. Rest about one minute between exercises and two to three minutes between each circuit. Over time, gradually increase the number of reps or the weight of the kettlebell, or both. For an aerobic boost, add 30 to 60 seconds of running in place or jumping rope between sets. Be sure to rest at least one day between workouts to let your body recover.
Go for a Walk
A 2018 STUDY of over 50,000 people published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular, brisk walking was associated with a 20 percent reduction across all causes of death. While physical distancing is encouraged to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, most scientists agree that if you’re healthy and haven’t been recently exposed to the virus, the benefit of walking or running outdoors in uncrowded spaces outweighs the risk of transmission, especially if you avoid coming within six feet of other people. Want to increase the challenge? Find hilly terrain, carry a full backpack (aim for a weight that challenges you but doesn’t cause back pain during or after your walk), or, if you’re ready for it, mix in short bursts of running.
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