18 Fitness Challenges to Keep Pace (and Your Distance) During the Pandemic

Exercise at Home


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Exercise at Home

Isolation Exercises

One of the few silver linings of the coronavirus crisis is that people who couldn't afford or didn't want to pay for a gym membership before all this started now have access to tons of inexpensive and free workout content via apps and the internet. So much, in fact, that it's difficult to decide where to start. We've rounded up a few digital destinations for exercise, from high-impact workouts like running and HIIT to gentler regimens such as yoga, pilates, and barre. There are even a couple options for kids in here if you're desperate to get them moving more, too. Happy sweating!

Related: 15 Indoor Workouts That Don't Require Going to the Gym

Running on Treadmill at home

Bigfoot Running Challenge

This "Social Distancing Champion's" virtual event put on by Bigfoot is one of the few on this list that costs money, but if running makes you feel better about the situation you're in, it could be worth the price (plus the funds collected go toward supporting U.S. food banks). The challenge involves five different virtual races — a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, and kids' division 5K. After you sign up, you run/walk the distance "on a course of your choosing or treadmill," then report your time, which will be added to Bigfoot's national results leaderboard. Participants get a commemorative T-shirt and a finisher certificate and/or medal. We think being able to say you ran a race during a pandemic is a pretty cool reward in and of itself. But hurry — you must register by May 10 and submit your result before May 31.

Related: 12 Ways to Work Out at Home and Stay Motivated

Yoga at home

Yoga With Adriene Movement Medicine

With over 7 million subscribers, Yoga with Adriene's Adriene Mishler is already a popular YouTuber, and much of her success can be attributed to the free content she was doling out on a regular basis even before the pandemic. True to form, Mishler put together an April playlist with the theme of "nurture." There are 30 videos in all, and if you enjoy Mishler's approach — which is equal parts goofiness, warmth, and acceptance — she has tons of other videos and 30-day practices to choose from to keep you moving. Plus you'll fall in love with her adorable and sleepy dog Benji, who's included in many videos.

Related: Feeling Anxious? Try This Calming Yoga Sequence

Exercise at Home

My Peak Challenge 30-Day Social Distancing Challenge

Fans of the "Outlander" TV show, take note: Star Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, founded My Peak Challenge, the workout program behind this month-long fitness regimen. The content, which incorporates cardio, bodyweight exercises, and more, is completely free. The workout is pretty hardcore, but it does incorporate rest and active recovery days, which call for 15-30 minutes of "light exercise." 

Daughter and Mother exercise at home

PE with Joe

British fitness coach Joe Wicks is the face behind YouTube's Body Coach TV, and he's been posting PE With Joe videos since the coronavirus lockdown began. It's meant for kids, but honestly, Wicks is so fun and eccentric that adults will like it, too. He does shoutouts to his fans as he works out, flips coins to decide the next move, and asks trivia questions as he goes along. In addition to his PE With Joe series, he's got around 250 other videos to choose from on his YouTube channel.

Home Exercise

BoxJumper Home Isolation Challenge Workout

BoxJumper is a website and podcast that caters to the over-40 CrossFit athlete. Its free video workouts might be a bit strenuous for some, but if you've been thinking about dabbling in CrossFit, there are notes for beginners and the program is designed to "start simple, and challenge you as much or as little as you wish ..." All 11 workout videos are compiled into a YouTube playlist

Killer Bodyweight Workout

Planet Fitness United We Move Home Work-Ins

Gym giant Planet Fitness is offering at-home workouts for free and, with 50 videos under its belt, the playlist is still growing as of this writing. Some of the videos are for family workouts, many are conducted by trainers, and others are hosted by celebrities like Jerry Harris from Netflix's "Cheer" — a motivator if ever there was one — and actors and athletes, too. They range in difficulty and length, but none is much over 30 minutes.

Dance Church

Dance Church

Like your workouts less regimented, set to music, and more free-flowing? Well then, Dance Church might be your jam. It's a live-stream dance class held on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, and the more recent classes have had more than 10,000 folks joining in from home via Zoom (the classes were hosted in studios before COVID-19). You can sign up via this link, and if you're not into joining the live stream class but like the idea of freeform dancing, Dance Church posts playlists on Spotify that you can use to do your own thing. 

Home Exercise

Orangetheory At Home

Well-known gym Orangetheory is offering up slickly produced at-home workouts and challenges on its YouTube channel as well. The more recent workouts have gotten longer — most clock in between 45 minutes to one hour — but there are some early videos closer to 30 minutes. To date, there are only a handful of challenges, and they ask you to do things like 100 reps of four exercises or five minutes of burpees. These workouts are not for beginners unless you're a beginner who's cool with not wanting to get out of bed for a few days. 

Exercise at Home
Ergin Yalcin/istockphoto

BodyTribe Social Distancing Workout Jam Series

Sacramento, California-based gym BodyTribe prides itself on expecting "a level of commitment to intensity that not everyone is ready for." So go into this YouTube pandemic playlist with that in mind. The videos are short — from around two to 10 minutes — because it's usually a trainer showing you a technique you can then do on your own. If you don't have a set of dumbbells around your house at the very minimum, this probably isn't the workout for you. 

Exercising with children
Orbon Alija/istockphoto

Beachbody Kids Workouts

Beachbody says this free set of videos is a temporary service, so who knows how long it will be available. While it is, though, it offers kid-focused workouts from Beachbody trainers designed to help "families stay healthy and sane by offering some fun ways to expend energy together." The videos average around 30 minutes, but there are shorter and longer options, too. Most of the videos include kids in the action.

Exercise at Home

Moving Mango 28-Day Social Distancing Pilates Challenge

If something a little less high-impact is more your speed, YouTube community Moving Mango is "dedicated to holistic growth through transformative Pilates mat workouts." With this 28-day challenge, host Hannah will guide you through Pilates exercises designed to focus on specific body parts as well as days that include full-body stretching and low-impact cardio. 

Home Exercise
Stígur Már Karlsson / Heimsmyndir/istockphoto

Cityrow At Home

Cityrow is a gym with locations in a few states, and in non-pandemic life offers "rowing meets strength training" workouts at its physical locations. But you won't need a rowing machine (or any other tools) at home for this series of workouts it's hosting on its Instagram page. The videos are 20 minutes and are uploaded three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Exercise at Home

Pure Barre GO

Here's another low-impact regimen for those of us who can't expect too much from our ankles, knees, and hips but want a full-body workout. Pure Barre GO has hosted a few free live barre classes on its Facebook page (and posting the videos for later use for those who can't make the live sessions). The videos are either 30 or 45 minutes.

Home Exercise

Chuze Fitness on Demand

Chuze Fitness gym is also posting regular on-demand videos that are accessible for members and non-members. Videos include a wide range of content, including family workouts, cardio, barre, yoga, body pump, and more. The workouts are available via the Chuze website, YouTube playlist, and via Instagram's IGTV. 

Home Exercise

Refit COVID 19-Day Challenge

Create a playlist playing off the 19 in COVID-19? Why not, as that's exactly what the ladies at Refit have done. The 19 videos are hosted on YouTube and offer a lot of variety in terms of moves and duration, with workouts as short as six minutes on up to around 25 minutes. If you get to day 19 and, like the hosts, are sad about it, there are a number of other videos on their YouTube channel to try.

Home Exercise

Blogilates 14-Day Anti-Coronavirus Workout Plan

If working out to a video just isn't your jam, YouTube personality Cassey Ho has offered up a 14-day Quarantine Workout Plan that is downloadable via PDF on her site (you'll need to scroll down on the link above). Each day consists of four reps of six or seven exercises, with each workout designed to take about 30 minutes. There are also short demo videos of all the exercises just in case you don't know what a "butterfly bridge" or "mermaid leg lift" is. Ho is also still posting daily POP Pilates workout content via her YouTube channel if you want to give that a go.

Home Exercise

ClassPass Together We Sweat

ClassPass normally has a library of fitness videos that people can join via paid membership, but it's also always had free content as well. Since lockdown, it's been offering "at-home" themed workouts on its YouTube channel focusing on all kinds of fitness regimens, including dance, yoga, strength, boxing, stretching, and more. For its separate Together We Sweat video series, it's collaborating with its fitness partners around the world for workouts that clock in around 45 minutes to an hour. 

Dancing a Home
Moyo Studio/istockphoto

#DanceTogether with D-Nice

Since March 19, DJ D-Nice has been hosting virtual dance sessions, which have drawn household-name participants like Rihanna, Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Bernie Sanders, and Michelle Obama. You can join via Instagram Live (@dnice). The parties get going on Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET. Yeah, at that time of night we'll admit it's not really a fitness challenge as much as it is a party, but we guarantee you'll sweat. Can't stay up that late? Spotify is posting D-Nice's playlists. Our favorite? The '80s-themed edition. If you need a challenge, try cutting a rug through all 69 songs and nearly six hours of tunes, starting with Bowie's "Let's Dance" and ending with Doug E. Fresh's "The Show."