It is fairly common knowledge that exercise is good for us. Exercise is important for your muscles, bones, heart health, and respiration. And maybe even more important this year, it improves your mental health!

2020 has been a year that has required adaptability in all areas of our lives, and fitness is no exception. Gyms have been closed, in-person fitness classes cancelled and now with winter, moving your body outside is not always easy. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do without even leaving the house!

You do not need fancy equipment (or any equipment!), in-person classes, a gym membership, skates or skis to get your sweat on. Although these things are definitely nice, moving your body can be easy and free no matter where you live. You also don’t have to commit to something like three intense workouts a week, even five minutes a day can have huge benefits. Here are a few ideas on how to get started;

1. Dance! Dancing has great benefits for your cardiovascular health, muscles and bones. So, turn up your favourite song and dance like no one is watching. Warning, side effects include laughter and smiles.

2. Create a game for yourself. For example, every time you send an e-mail, do five jumping jacks, every time you brush your teeth, do two push-ups. The possibilities are endless.

3. Play! Have kids? Get them involved. Play with balls, hula hoops, balance boards. Look around to see what toys are already in your house that you can incorporate to move your body more. If you don’t have kids, that doesn’t mean you can’t play! I saw a picture the other day of a couple in their 70’s that were playing in a big pile of leaves. Play has no age limit.

4. Join an online class. There are a lot of benefits to trying an online class and so many instructors have started using this medium to offer all types of fitness and yoga classes. An online class can keep you more accountable with a specific start time you have to show up for. It also provides a sense of community that might be lacking for you.

5. Find a pre-recorded class. There is a ton of free online offerings that have been pre-recorded. You can start with YouTube. Type in the kind of workout you want and see what comes up.

6. Get outside when you can. Sometimes this isn’t always possible with freezing temperatures and slippery sidewalks. If it is accessible for you, simply going for a walk outside can give you the double benefit of physical activity and a healthy dose of nature therapy.

Hopefully, there was something on this list that resonated with you. Remember to take it easy on yourself. This year has been a lot, challenging us in ways we have not thought possible. Reframe exercising not as another thing that you have to do, but rather as a gift you are giving yourself to feel better and happier. 

By Amanda Pilloud

A yoga instructor, personal trainer and Riverview resident. Have questions for me? Please contact me at