Working from home during quarantine means that you’re likely spending a lot of time on the couch—which is comfortable and all, but it definitely isn’t great for your body. In fact, sitting down for extended periods of time without exercise is linked to a number of health concerns. But getting outside and moving around, even for just 45 minutes a day, has a ton of health benefits, including helping to prevent high blood pressure, disordered sleep patterns, diabetes, and depression.
That being said, we are in a pandemic right now, and getting to the gym is not an option for many people. If you want to stay (or become) active, there are plenty of ways to do so without heading to your local
petri dish gym. These five exercises can be done in your backyard, at a local park, or in any other area that allows for safe and adequate social distancing. Designed by Meghan Hayden, an expert personal trainer, the moves are quick and simple—meaning you’ll definitely have time to squeeze them in between your Zoom meetings.
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Hayden studied exercise physiology at the University of Miami and is the director of training at GHOST Brooklyn, a luxury fitness space in Williamsburg. Formerly a top personal trainer at both Equinox and Performix House, Hayden is well-versed in various training techniques and loves sharing them. She’s particularly passionate about resistance, mobility, and injury recovery. You can follow along with Hayden’s customized outdoor workout below.
1. TUT Strength
The best way to strength train with no equipment is to utilize the principle of “Time Under Tension”. As you lengthen the amount of time that stress is placed on the muscle, more needs to be recruited to help get the job done. This mimics the amount of muscle needed to be recruited for heavily loaded lifts, therefore creating similar adaptations and results. For this circuit, move at a slow 4-4 second count to really feel the burn.
Lat Lunge Glides
Kick with your dominant leg and keep your hands straight as they approach the ground. Then, straighten your legs and body upward. Do this for 30 seconds.
2. Power EMOM
If you want to become explosive, you need to train explosively. The recipe is to work at near max intensity for a short duration, followed by a long rest, usually three to five times longer than the exercise bout. EMOM stands for every minute on the minute. Work for only six reps for each move at max intensity, then rest for the remainder of the minute. The faster you go, the more rest you’ll have. Before moving explosively, make sure you start with a solid warm-up that warms up the specific movement patterns and primes you for each exercise.
Jump upwards with legs straightened and land in a squat, bending your knees. Then, use the momentum from the squat to power the following jumps.
Plyo Push-Ups From Bottom
Alt Beast Kick Through
Beginning on all fours with your knees bent, kick one leg below the other and twist your body to face in the direction the leg is pointing. Your kicked leg will be straight while the other remains bent.
3. Full-Body Dynamic Circuit
If you’re someone who loves adventure, has kids, or likes to break it down to your favorite songs, this circuit is for you. You don’t live like a robot, so your movements shouldn’t mimic one. Have fun with this multidirectional circuit that will test your core and athleticism. If these moves are new to you, work slowly and focus on form, then start to speed it up and test yourself. Do three to four rounds with 45 seconds of rest between exercises, and do each exercise 10 times per round.
Push-Up To Forward Kick Through
Do a traditional push-up; then, when your body rises from the ground, hop into a squatting position, and kick one leg forward while keeping the other straight.
Crab Toe Crunch Under Switch Tap
Rotating Plyo Lunges
Squat Jump To Reverse Lunge
Jump with straightened legs and land in a deep squat. Then, step into a lunge on both your right and left legs, making sure to hit both sides before jumping again.
4. Mobility Circuit
Life is unpredictable. Without thinking, we do so much as humans to hunch over, tighten up, and create muscular imbalances. Mobility is a beautiful tool to check in with our body, assess the range of motion, and open back up.
Flexibility is how far our body can move passively, where mobility is how far our body can move with control. The difference between the range of motion our joints can passively and actively move is an opportunity for injury.
This full-body mobility circuit is perfect for your morning/bedtime routine, or as a warm-up before a dynamic workout. Do these moves 1one to two times through.
Shin Box With Step
Forward Long Lunge With Shoulder CARs
Scorpion Reach To Glute Stretch
Half-Kneeling T Spine Rotation
In a kneeling lunge position, hold your arms parallel to each other in front of you and then slowly move one arm to the side, rotating your body laterally as your arms open. Perform ten sets of this rotation, doing ten reps each time.
5. Advanced HIIT
Like efficiency? HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is an amazing way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. After 45 seconds of heart-pumping work, reset for 15 seconds before the next move. 20 minutes later, you’ll be drenched on the floor. Do 45 seconds on, 15 off, one minute of rest between rounds. Four rounds total.
High Knees To Tuck Jumps
Push-Up To Beast Plyometric
Side Plank INT Rotation To Side Crunch
Begin in a plank, then balance on one arm to perform a side plank. Rotate your body and bend one leg upward to meet your raised arm.
Move one leg toward the other in a quick sideways shuffle, but make sure to keep your body facing forward and your legs parallel.
Image: Julia Ballew / Unsplash
All videos courtesy of Ana Snyder
When quarantine first began, working from the couch felt like a much-needed break from the discomforts of office life. Nothing was more appealing than rolling out of bed, grabbing your laptop, and rolling straight back onto the couch. No shower, no shoes, no problem. However, the excitement of working from the couch can start to wane once the aches and pains of too much sitting start to set in. From your neck to your lower back to your hips, sitting on a soft surface with limited back support for a full work day is considerably less comfortable than it seems. And as it turns out, working from the couch for too long is bad for you, both physically and mentally. The good news? You don’t have to give up working from the couch completely just to get a bit more healthy.
Sitting all day can have a number of negative effects on the body, but sitting slumped on a couch can be even more detrimental. “Sitting allows your muscles to become extremely tight and dysfunctional, which will compromise your posture and increase your risk of pain and injury,” says Jeff Brannigan, Program Director at Stretch*d (a New York-based dynamic assisted stretching studio). Furthermore, Brannigan goes on to explain that “working from the couch makes it very easy to sit in a not-so-great position. Many people quickly begin to slouch or slide down the couch.”
The problem? “Sitting in a compromised position drastically speeds up the onset of muscle dysfunction. You’re far more likely to feel muscle tightness, tension, and pain due to an increased likelihood of developing imbalance throughout the body.” In fact, in a 2018 study, the CDC went so far as to say that “high amounts of sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity are associated with increased risk of premature mortality and some chronic diseases”. Yikes.
The good news is that even if you work in an industry that requires you to be sedentary for most of the day, small changes to your routine can make a big impact. Better yet, new work-from-home policies make it even easier to get up and move. Eve Lynn Chrust, a New York City-based fitness and yoga instructor (you can find her classes at Obé, SoulCycle, and Athleta) says that exercise doesn’t have to be something you force yourself to do at the end of a long work day. “Make it cumulative,” says Chrust. “If you do a little something every hour of the work day, by the end of the day you’ll have gotten more done than you might’ve expected.” Chrust says that a few exercises coupled with a few laps around your apartment every hour are enough to counteract some of the negative effects of working slumped down on the couch all day. Her advice? Set a timer on your phone to dedicate four (yes, just four) minutes of every hour to getting off the couch and moving. By the end of a standard work day, you’ll have already gotten a half hour workout in.
Here are some moves you should be doing to counteract the effects of sitting all day:
1. Walk It Out
The first one-minute move in your four-minute set? A lap around your house, a walk up and down a set of stairs or a stroll down the block! Chrust says, “there’s a mental component of getting off the couch. When you sit for too long, things can feel stagnant and repetitive and you tend to get stuck. Getting off the couch even for just a minute helps you to feel motivated, it gives you energy and might improve your focus.”
Chrust recommends doing 10 squats every hour to open your hips, stretch out your legs, and work your booty. “Doing just ten squats every hour throughout the workday is totally accessible, and by the end of an eight-hour work day you’ll have done 80 squats!” she says.
Next up is a one-minute plank. Planks are a favorite of most yogis, and with good reason. They’re an efficient way to work your entire core, front and back, says Chrust. “Abs are fundamental for posture. If you’re hunching on a couch all day, you need core strength to lengthen out your spine.”
4. Cat Cow
After you’ve completed the one-minute plank, move directly into a tabletop position, with your knees on the ground directly in line with your hips, and your hands on the ground directly in line with your shoulders. Flow through one minute of cat cow to create space in your spine, chest and neck, three spaces that are compromised when sitting on a couch for too long, says Chrust.
Images: GIPHY; Maryjoy Caballero / Unsplash
Apparently, I had no idea what being “stir-crazy” actually meant until we entered this indefinite solitary confinement they call quarantine. Even as a proud introvert, it feels like the universe is shoving all the plans I’ve ever canceled in my face and screaming, “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?” This is absolutely not what any of us wanted—as any introvert will tell you, part of the thrill is canceling plans. With no plans to cancel, this endless abyss of plans that could have been (canceled) feels like a discount version of Groundhog Day. Not only are we mourning the closures of our favorite restaurants, stores, and bars, but many of the activities that kept us sane are no longer an option. One of the most difficult aspects of my quarantine has been the closure of my gym, and not only because of the sense of community it provided. Physical activity has been one of the only things I’ve found in over a decade of pretty severe anxiety that actually helped keep it in check. According to the CDC, reduced anxiety isn’t the only noticeable benefit of regular physical activity. Just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week (that’s like 7 episodes of Schitt’s Creek which, realistically, you’ve done in one day) can improve both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Regular exercise can also reduce your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. So yeah, TL;DR, exercise is good for you and I’m sorry for all the times I pretended I had cramps to get out of gym in high school.
During this time of incredible stress and uncertainty, the anxiety-reducing aspects of physical activity are more important than ever. Being trapped inside a small space with no end in sight is stressful, to say the least. Exercise is definitely helpful, and nothing makes me feel quite as calm as the aftermath of a heart-pounding sweat session. There are plenty of workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own home, but when running is your go-to, working out while quarantined can be a little more complicated (unless you have your own treadmill, you lucky b*tch).
At the beginning of quarantine I was running four miles a day ….. Now I’m proud because I did a single squat
— Donese (@donese22) July 9, 2020
It’s SO tempting—outside is literally right there. You can see it and hear it screaming at you to lace up and get out there. So what’s stopping you? If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you’ve seen countless people jog by, headphones in, totally oblivious to the fact that we’re in the middle of a freaking pandemic. If they can do it, why not the rest of us? Well, because we both know we’re smarter than that. Yes, it’s tempting to squeeze in a quick 3-miler and be back inside before the coronavirus even has a chance to notice we left our bubble. Unfortunately, this isn’t some high-risk game of tag and we really can’t afford to take any chances. Here’s the great news, though—experts say that it is fairly safe to run outside, as long as we take the proper precautions. Family Medicine Physician Doctor Mike Varshavski—or as he’s known on Instagram, Dr. Mike—tells Betches that running “is considered a low to moderate-low risk activity based on the new chart put out by the Texas Medical Association” and notes that “throughout this pandemic, almost all shelter at home orders have continued to allow and encourage solo exercise like hiking, walking, and running.”
So that’s the good news! And as long as you follow these pretty easy guidelines, you can rest easy knowing that you put your safety and the safety of others first.
1. Jog Alone Or In Small Groups, But Make Sure You Maintain A Safe Distance
I get it, running with your best friend or your running group like you’ve done for years is a blast. However, just because you have been extremely cautious about protecting yourself from the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean your running partners have done the same. Make sure whoever you’re running with is also taking the proper precautions, and continue to practice social distancing even when running outside. Dr. Mike tells Betches, “any time you are exposing yourself to other individuals, it raises the risk of catching the virus,” reminding us, “those who look healthy can still be spreading COVID-19. If you have to go with a group (for safety reasons, perhaps), try and be with the smallest group possible.”
Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas told Runners World, “If you deem running with a small group is something you’re comfortable with, you’ll want to ensure that these few people have been properly careful over the past few months, same as if you’re running with one other person. Additionally, your small group should run somewhere you know you won’t come in close contact with others.”
Labus also emphasizes that if you live with someone in the at-risk age group (over 65) or someone who is immunocompromised, extra precautions are necessary, and running with a partner may not be the best idea. He explains, “There have been over 182,000 cases (as of June 10) and over 77,000 COVID-19 deaths (as of June 6) in those age 65 and over since February 1, according to provisional data from the CDC. It is safer to run solo until disease transmission is low in your community.”
2. Bring A Mask With You When You Run
It’s probably not necessary to wear a mask while you run outdoors (and realistically, it would be really tough to wear a mask during any exercise that leaves you gasping for air) as long as you maintain the proper distance between you and anyone you encounter outside. Indeed, Dr. Mike tells Betches that “a mask should not be worn while running as sweat will make the mask wet and create other problems.” He advises, “The best protection is to wear the mask until you’re ready to exercise, take it off, and stay at least six feet away from others as best as possible.”
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That said, it’s probably not a bad idea to bring a mask with you when you run just in case. You may end up lost and needing to grab an Uber back, you could desperately need to run into Walgreens for a drink of water, or you might end up running into your ex and needing a disguise. Point is, there are a lot of reasons you may need a mask when leaving your house, so make sure you have one with you at all times.
Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health explained to the New York Times, “Outdoors is relatively safe, and masks would only be important if you are exercising in crowded areas or indoors in space shared with other people.” According to Milton, as long as you’re keeping your distance, you should be pretty fine running outside with your mask at the ready in case of an emergency.
3. Scope Out Your Street During Different Times Throughout The Day, Or Find A Different Street Altogether
Please withhold all “duh”s, because from what I’ve seen firsthand it apparently needs to be said—the easiest way to keep your distance when running outside is to run in a less crowded area. Now, this doesn’t mean driving 38 miles to the middle of the forest to knock out your run. This honestly may be as simple as spending a few days looking out your window every hour or two to see how many people are out and about. Peak hours in your neighborhood may also vary between weekdays and weekends, so also take that into account when planning your run. Ideally, you want to find both a time when not too many people are out, and a place where you have plenty of “escape routes.” This means not running next to a busy street that you can’t cross if you see a group of people on the sidewalk. If you’re running on a forest path, it means being able to step way off to the side if someone else is approaching (and, see #2, don’t forget your mask in case this isn’t an option).
Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, explained to NPR the importance of keeping an even greater distance when exercising outside. He advises, “The greater volume and rate of breathing that occurs during exercise has the risk of spreading droplets farther. I think it’s reasonable based on the known changes in breathing during exercise.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve been out walking and out of absolutely nowhere, a jogger runs by me so close that I feel a small gust of potential plague-wind as they pass. This isn’t okay, guys. First and foremost, if we can’t be considerate to other people who have just as much of a right to use the sidewalk as we do, we shouldn’t be out running in the first place.
That said, if you’ve been keeping an eye on your street and it really doesn’t seem like there’s much of a break in the constant stream of people passing by, check out some other side streets nearby. Chances are, within a mile or so of where you live, there are some quieter residential streets that will be far less congested.
4. Make Sure That It’s Actually Okay To Run Outside In Your Area
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As we’ve discussed, it is more than tempting to grab your shoes and just GTFO. But even if you’ve thoroughly read through these important tips and feel confident in your ability to run outside safely, please hit pause for just a hot second. Because of the constantly evolving nature of how we’re handling this pandemic, running outside without a mask may not even be allowed in your area. Make sure you’re constantly checking mandates from your state health departments to ensure you’re adhering to your area’s current requirements. These mandates are changing fairly regularly in some areas, so it’s a good idea to check them daily before your planned run. Your state will most likely have a dedicated coronavirus page with all of the latest information, from things like the number of confirmed cases to reopening guidelines.
Dr. Mike emphasizes, “Know that there is no such thing as absolute safety when outdoors. The guidelines of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing hands will certainly reduce risk but not eliminate it. Know what is an acceptable risk for you.”
If you’re still hyped up to go for an outdoor run, more power to you. Just remember the four M’s, and you should be good to go. Maintain your distance, Mask (in your pocket/bra/around your neck/whatever), find tiMes of the day that are less crowded (ok that was a stretch, who cares), and Mandates (check your local mandates to see what rules are in place in your area). Happy running!
Images: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels; donese22 / Twitter; notskinnybutnotfat, dietstartstomorrow / Instagram
It’s finally come to the point where we can all agree it’s time to switch out of the tie-dye sweatshirt that we haven’t taken off all of quarantine (busted) and into the go-to workout outfit that might actually inspire movement, specifically, movement off the couch. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been binge watching the first season of Too Hot To Handle, snacking on yesterday’s banana bread, and telling yourself you’ll work out when you know it’s not gonna happen. In all honesty, a lot of the reason we aren’t motivated to work out is because we simply don’t know what to do. Thankfully, a lot of workout instructors are providing virtual classes that are easy to follow and help get you motivated. One of these instructors is Megan Roup, founder of The Sculpt Society, who’s given Betches readers her top four simple exercises to tone your butt. The best part? All these exercises can be done on your living room floor.
1. 90-Degree Angle Lift
On your elbow, cross your ankles and lift your leg to a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knee is behind your head and your abs are tight as you extend your leg up and down. You’ll do 24 reps of this first combo.
2. 90-Degree Angle Pulses
This step is the same position as set #1 but you will leave your leg up as you pulse it in the 90-degree angle up and down. Squeeze your glute each time and make sure your core is tight. You’ll do this for 24 reps as well.
3. Hydrant Extend Straight Back
For this exercise, you will extend your knee into your shoulder and push it back. By this step, you’ll definitely be feeling the work in your glute. Do this for 24 reps.
4. Straight Leg Pulses
For this final move, you will hold your leg straight behind your head and make tiny movements up and down. Your leg doesn’t have to be super high, just make sure to focus on squeezing your glutes and keeping your abs tight. Another 24 reps!
Megan suggests sequences these exercises together and repeating it 2-3 times through. Check out the video below to watch her demonstrate all the moves.
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if working out in your house is starting to get boring, stop what you’re doing and do this mini @thesculptsociety workout that @meganroup made for DSTers. known for her insanely hard but fun af class, this workout will leave you energized and sore at the same time. if you try it, tag @dietstartstomorrow and @meganroup in your stories and we’ll repost it. 💪🏼
If you’re in need of more at-home workouts during your quarantine, check out @meganroup and @thesculptsociety on Instagram for more tips. If you want to find out more about The Sculpt Society, download the app and enjoy a 14-day extended free trial. You’ll find many at-home workouts to complete with not a lot of equipment and availability to do each exercise in a small space.
Images: Megan Roup; dietstartstomorrow / Instagram
It’s safe to say this is a pretty stressful time for… literally everyone. Whether you were just forced out of your dorm to go back to living with your parents, or you’re now working from home all day with your roommate who breathes way too f*cking loud, we’re all feeling the same thing: antsy and overwhelmed as f*ck. Not only because you’re now learning which of your friends are complete idiots who thought it was still okay to go out on St. Patrick’s Day (hope they’re prepared to be roasted about this for years to come), but also because you’ve eaten through your entire two-week hoard of quarantine snacks in one day. And, you know, the general anxiety about everyone getting sick and the economy crashing and the healthcare system collapsing and all that fun sh*t. It’s like, kind of a lot to handle.
With all the stress and nervous energy about this Black Mirror episode of a world we now find ourselves in, it’s more important than ever to find a way to get that energy out. And since all the gyms and fitness studios are closing their doors for the time being (low-key kind of nice to not have to deal with dudes hitting on you while you’re just trying to listen to a podcast on the treadmill), many fitness apps and studios are offering their home workout services online for free. Here’s a roundup of all the ways you can break a sweat while at home for free:
obé fitness is an immersive online workout experience with energetic instructors that guarantee you’ll get a good workout and have a great time doing it. They’re offering a free 30-day trial, with hundreds of live classes per week. They offer classes for whatever you’re into, from HIIT to pilates to yoga to barre to a whole lot more. Most of their classes are only 28 minutes long, which is about the amount of time I can step away from my computer without anyone getting suspicious. You can access their classes here.
The Sculpt Society, created by Megan Roup, is doing a 14-day free trial of their dance-cardio and strengthening routines, which honestly kind of sounds like a party. There are a bunch of videos of all different time increments, so if you have 15 minutes or 50 minutes, there’s a workout for you. Check out Megan’s classes here and also keep an eye out for your inbox because she’s doing live workouts throughout the day.
CorePower is offering free online classes for everyone, which you can stream here. They offer yoga classes for people at every level, which is perfect for those of us who haven’t been able to touch our toes since we were like, five.
Despite how much sh*t we all gave their commercial during the holidays, I bet we’re all wishing we’d gotten a Peloton bike for Christmas right about now. Even if you don’t have an exercise bike at home, Peloton is offering a 90-day free trial, which can be used for not only spin classes, but also body weight, yoga, strength training, and meditation classes. You can find their free trial here.
The Miami, Coral Gables, and Manhattan-based HIIT class is creating at-home bodyweight workouts (that require no equipment) that will be emailed daily. Each workout is 40 minutes long and only requires downloading an interval timer app. Visit their Instagram for more details.
All of Downdog’s apps (Yoga, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout), which specialize in home workout routines that can be done anywhere, are free until April 1st for everyone, and until July 1st for all students and teachers. All of their apps can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Fit Body App
Not only do you get a 7-day free trial with Fit Body App, which offers workout challenges, custom workout programs, and meal plans, you can also get four weeks free when you use the code DAJEITALIA if you sign up through their website.
Tone It Up
Tone It Up is offering a free month for new users who download the app from the App Store or Google Play. They have yoga, weight training, HIIT, barre, and a variety of other classes, which is great if you have the attention span of a goldfish and get bored after doing the same workout more than once.
P.volve is a low-impact workout that focuses on activating hard-to-reach muscles with precise movements. You can get 30 days of P.volve free, which gives you access to hundreds of videos that vary in length and area of focus, through their website.
Dance like no one’s watching (except maybe your dog) during one of 305’s famous dance cardio classes, live at noon every day on their YouTube page. We promise you will get a serious sweat in.
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Slider CORE WORK with @sydmiller from HOUSEWORK! Hunkered down at home? Take a class with her on NEOU. Try this one: Spider plank to cross cross Spider plank to cross cross + plank up down Forearm plank to pike Pike to knee tuck Slide plank jack Perform each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest 60 seconds. Complete 3 rounds . . . . . . . #neou #alwayson #athomeworkout #housework #fitfromhome #coreworkout #quaratine #covid19 #coronavirus #sweatsession #absworkout #fitnessexpert #sliderworkout #bodyweightworkout
Neoufitness lets you stream live and on-demand fitness classes from wherever you are. They offer a ton of different options, like dance, cardio, kickboxing, and a variety of other classes. Neoufitness is now offering 30 days free for new members. Our fav is Sydney Miller’s Housework. You can access it here.
Get a 21-day free trial of Openfit, which has live and on-demand classes of all kinds. All classes are under 30 minutes long, with some fitness classes as short as 10 minutes, and they offer classes for all levels of experience. Get your free trial here.
While Blogilates is always free on YouTube and Blogilates.com, there’s a 14-day quarantine home workout plan available, along with lots of apartment-friendly workouts so you don’t have to be that annoying upstairs neighbor who’s loud as f*ck during someone’s conference call.
Barre3 is offering a free 15-day trial to stream their hundreds of online workouts, with new ones added every week. This is a low-impact workout that is all about building better posture and finding balance in your body. Access the free trial here.
Get a free 7-day trial of Dancebody, which offers live and on-demand dance-based cardio classes that will work muscles you didn’t know existed in a fun but challenging way. You can access their classes here.
Melissa Wood Health
Melissa Wood Health has a free 7-day trial of her yoga and pilates-inspired workouts, which I’m pretty excited about cause I swear this is the routine every influencer does. These are low-impact, flow-style classes that focus on slow and controlled movements. You can find her classes through her website.
This situation may be the absolute worst, but at least you’ll get to try out some new home workout apps for free that can keep you busy and hopefully get your mind off things. (Just set like, a billion reminders on your phone to cancel everything before you get charged.) And at the end of the day, just be glad you’re not in quarantine with your ex. And if you are, best of luck to you.
Images: Form / Unsplash