17 items to use as replacements if you don’t have exercise equipment

When gyms across the country began to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, many found themselves without access to exercise equipment rather quickly and without much warning.

While some may have rushed to Amazon or other online shops to stock up on exercise equipment, others are still sitting around their house wondering if their gym will be open in time for them to get fit for summer. 

When it comes to working out at home during the coronavirus crisis, ISSA-certified trainer Sloane Davis, founder of Pancakes and Pushups, emphasizes that creativity is key. Check out Davis’ advice for items you can use to exercise that you definitely already have in your home.

At-home items that can be converted to exercise equipment

To replace an exercise bench or plyometric box you can use:

  • A regular living room or kitchen chair
  • An ottoman
  • A coffee table
  • A couch
  • The stairs

To replace a BOSU ball you can use:

  • A firm pillow

To replace slider discs you can use:

  • Paper plates
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Dish towels
  • A pillow

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To replace free weights and kettle bells you can use:

  • Water bottles
  • Water jugs
  • A case of water
  • Soup cans
  • Laundry detergent jugs
  • Fill a reusable bag with anything that has weight to it (like books)

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To replace a resistance band you can use:

  • A robe tie
  • A bungee cord

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Full-body exercise to get started

For those who literally can’t bring themselves to get off the couch, Davis says the “sit and squat” is the perfect full-body exercise to get started.

To do this exercise, you sit on the end of the couch with your feet on the floor, stand up, and then squat back down to the couch. For an extra challenge, try keeping one leg lifted as you stand and sit back down.

“You can do it while you’re watching television,” Davis said. “It really is a good exercise for your whole body because you’re burning calories, using your leg muscles, and using your core.”

Another exercise that will work your full body as you watch television is a tricep dip on the end of the couch. For this exercise, place your hands on the end of the couch with your feet about two feet away from the couch. Keep your knees bent (or extend your legs for a challenge) and then bend your elbows to lower your body and lift it back up.

Why it’s important to stop putting off your workouts

“It’s important to keep in mind that in this moment right now, there is no end,” Davis said. “We don’t know when the gyms are going to be open and so instead of not doing anything, it’s important to try to find a new normal.”

As Davis always says, the days are going to pass anyway, so you may as well make the most of them. If you are in an exercise slump, Davis recommends starting by carving out 20 minutes of your day to work on bettering your body and mind.

Finding motivation during the coronavirus pandemic

“Motivation in general comes from action,” Dais said. “If you give yourself five minutes, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things, you are more likely to continue simply because you started. No one ever regrets moving their body and exercising.”

If you are having trouble holding yourself accountable to your workouts, write down what you want to accomplish that day. Seeing the goal in front of you can help motivate you to actually complete it.

While Davis encourages people at home to fit in bursts of exercise whenever they can, she knows that some people do better with structure. For those people, she recommends writing yourself a plan for each day.

“If you know you want to do 20 pushups, 10 squats, 50 lunges, and 40 sit ups, write it down on a piece of paper,” Davis said. “It doesn’t even have to be done all at once but when you check off your list…there’s a mental component in there that you feel much more accomplished, which will entice you to continue to do it in the way that you are able to do it the day before.”