Surprisingly, during isolation, Michiganders have not devolved in to a bunch of college students, sleeping past noon and calling chips and salsa a meal. On the contrary, actually . According to a recent survey by Fishbowl, Michigan ranks number two on a list of exercising more during the pandemic. The survey says 41.1% of surveyed Michiganders report some increase in exercise, whether it's finally finding the time to work out and shredding p90x, or just getting outside and walking every day for your mental health. Those are great numbers. We're second only behind Ohio (*shakes fist at Ohio*).

If you are in the other 58.9% of the camp and feel like it's time you got off the couch, take some advice on getting started at home from Ascension Borgess Health and Fitness Center's Wellness Manager, Steve Ball. First, you don't need to buy anything. "You can get plenty of great exercise at home with what you have around your house. The most underutilized piece of exercise equipment that almost everyone has in their home is a staircase. Climbing stairs is efficient, effective, and extremely functional; they're everywhere." He even has some advice for people who say climbing stairs hurts their knees. "Try slowing down and using your heel to push yourself up to the next step. The more you can push through your heel and use your butt to climb the stairs. We can use the staircase for strength exercises as well. For example, a modified push-up, step ups, step downs, and elevated bridges."

For those of you who would like to move beyond stairs, and try some weight training, Ball says that's easy to do at home, as well. "Using your own body weight is the best thing to start with when it comes to leg exercises like squats and lunges. For upper body exercises, the best thing to use is a small duffle bag full of water bottles. This is safe and adjustable. Water bottles are softer than soup cans and you can just add or remove bottles to adjust the weight. This is especially helpful for back exercises, pulling. ie bent over rows and pullovers. Now the only thing you need is an expert to put it all together for you in an easy to follow exercise program."

Balls' program is pretty simple to follow when it's all broken down:

5 flights of stairs, walking of course, 3 days a week. The other 3 days is for strength training. Go for a walk and do yoga on the last day. Strength: Stair Push-ups 2x10 1-arm row 2x15 each arm Chair squats 2x15 Bridge 2x20 sec hold Plank 2x20 sec hold. Add a flight of stairs each week.

If you're having trouble getting started, Ball says reach out to friends and neighbors. "The best thing friends can do right now is to be an accountabili-buddy. FaceTime each other during at home workouts. Text each other progress. Do the same virtual class and call to talk about it afterwards. If you live nearby, schedule socially distancing walks in the neighborhood."

Of course, exercise isn't the only thing you need to keep you physically and mentally healthy. Diet is also very important. So I asked Steve Ball what to keep in mind when making your weekly grocery shopping trip. "The best food to have in the house during this time sounds lame, but it’s true. Canned beans. Not baked beans, too much sugar. Beans are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can buy and they will keep longer than anything else. Beans are packed with protein and fiber so they will fill you up. If you have a few different types of canned beans in the house and a couple types of rice, the meal possibilities are endless. Rice and beans together make a complete protein, so it’s especially good if you already don’t eat meat, like me. Some of the best beans are black, garbanzo, and pinto. Lentils are great as well."

Great advise from an expert in Kalamazoo's fitness universe.

Want to get started with classes at home? These Kalamazoo facilities are offering ways to be part of the 41.1% of Michiganders who are moving during this pandemic.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system


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