Voices of Simmons

Staying Active Indoors: 4 Expert Tips From Adjunct Professor Meg Garvey

Meghan Garvey

When all of a sudden your home becomes your library, office, favorite restaurant, café, daycare, school, and gym — it can be hard to stay motivated and focused on anything. There are a plethora of studies indicating that exercise boosts brain function and memory and during this pandemic, it serves a crucial role in keeping our immunity intact and stress levels lower.

Let’s have a realistic chat about including physical activity in our quarantined lives, not to ward off weight gain, but to reap the many physiological benefits!

1. Be kind to yourself and honest about your time

With deadlines approaching, sometimes a full hour sweat session is not something that we have time for — and that's OK. Instead of completely writing off the day, think: can I spend a half-hour? 20 minutes? 10 minutes? 5 minutes?

If nothing else, here is a one-minute routine that will get your blood pumping and help with productivity:

  • 5 large arm and shoulder rolls forward and 5 backward.
  • Inhale reach your arms to the ceiling and exhale let all the air out, touch the floor, and roll your spine all the way back up to standing.
  • 10 seconds of jumping jacks (or dance party – see idea #2!).
  • 10 seconds of side-to-side hops (or continue said dance party).
  • 5 times sitting and standing from your chair.
  • Stand with your eyes closed and take 3 deep breaths.
  • Done!

2. Dance parties

So my 3 year old has been obsessed with dance parties since Christmas time (to make it really special he likes to turn out all the lights!). They are very easy and quite cathartic.

  • Blast your favorite tunes (I was an ‘80s & ‘90s kid so we cranked the Spice Girls yesterday… it was epic).
  • Dance it out. There isn’t anyone around to judge, just have fun even if its only to one song.

3. Use technology

Right now the folks in the fitness industry are getting very creative. Instagram Live and Zoom have become the new studios. Many are by donation if able and some studios, such as Simmons’ neighbor TrillFit, are keeping all their content free of charge and in return suggesting local charities to donate to if able.

4. Use what you have at home

No equipment? No problem. That really large anatomy book makes a great substitute for a yoga block or a weight. A gallon of water weighs 8.5 pounds and allows you to add at least some weight to your workouts. We are doing some gardening at home and for under $5 a 48-pound bag of garden pebbles will make a great sandbag DIY for strength conditioning. I also got desperate for a quick cardio workout while the kiddos were napping so I ran up and down our basement stairs.

Moral of the story? Do what you can, when you can. Whenever possible Zoom or FaceTime your friends in for your sweat session. For more at-home workouts, follow me on Instagram: @hughesgarvie.

Take care and be safe!


Dr. Meg Garvey is an adjunct faculty member at Simmons University. She holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Boston in Exercise Science. She is also a Human Performance Specialist for an evidence-based education company called O2X.

As a researcher, Dr. Garvey has a specific focus on women’s health and physical activity as a modality in chronic disease prevention and human performance. In her 18 years in the fitness industry, she has trained fitness neophytes to Olympic athletes. She has been named one of Boston’s best spinning instructors by BostInno and teaches yoga and Pilates at some of Improper Boston’s best studios.

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