How to Get Back in Shape While Maintaining Social Distance

By the SMU Social Media Team

If you’ve been coping with the uncertainties of Covid-19 by stress eating and letting your regular exercise schedule go since sports facilities have yet to fully reopen, you’re not alone.

The phenomenon is widespread enough that it has earned its own nickname—“the Covid-19”, a satirical reference to the amount of weight gain experienced by many during the last few tumultuous and often sedentary months. But with life getting back to some kind of normal, at least in Singapore, it’s time to get back in shape in time for the opening of Phase 3—when social activities are expected to pick up, even if just by a little. As a developed nation with access to many of the world’s latest technology, we are spoilt for choices when it comes to digital options to help us get fit, and here are some suggestions.



There are tons of free workout programmes on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, so dial up the productivity levels on your social media addiction by checking out these fitness routines from the comfort of your bedroom.

YouTube channels like POPSUGAR Fitness feature lots of variety (albeit classes that are more geared towards female fitness enthusiasts)—from workouts that focus on specific areas like abs, to routines led by trainers who sculpt the bodies of Hollywood celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models. Or, seek out credible Instagram influencers such as Sohee Lee, who comes armed with useful fitness tips backed by her long list of credentials in sports science and nutrition. Meanwhile, IGTV channels by gyms, like this one by New York boxing fitness studio Rumble or HIIT classes by Fitness First feature professional trainers and coaches offering free, minimal-equipment workout classes.


Public sports facilities

Public sports facilities such as swimming pools and gyms have reopened, with some new measures for ensuring public safety and social distancing. Check out the latest guidelines before visiting to make sure you know the rules. If you’re using SMU facilities such as the Fitness Centre, remember to observe responsible gym etiquette. For example, try to avoid crowds by visiting during off-peak hours, make an advance gym slot reservation if required, don’t place your used towels on public surfaces, and hop into the shower once you get home.

With our year-round summery weather conditions, heading outdoors to discover new running and cycling routes may also be a good option. A study by University Wisconsin-La Crosse showed that participants exercised 12 per cent harder when cycling through a virtual countryside, thanks to the visual distraction of the environment. Enjoy a change in scenery by finding new running routes on Just Run Lah, a free guide to routes around Singapore. Or simply reap the benefits of hill training by doing sprints up and down Fort Canning—conveniently located just steps away from the main SMU campus.


Fitness passes

If you have the budget for spending a little more on fitness, try fitness passes to get some good deals. ClassPass has a seven-day free trial if you want to try out a whole range of new workouts, and Fave has some great deals for popular routines like dance-based classes too. Do note that booking a slot for a class of your choice may be a bit more challenging as most people now have a flexible work-from-home schedule, and may snap up previously quieter timeslots such as weekday mornings.


Smart devices

For those who don’t care for fitness classes, exercising solo doesn’t mean you have to go without useful guidance. There are plenty of fitness apps for smartphones and smartwatches, especially trackers that help to document your heart rate and other physical metrics so you can pinpoint to a scientific degree how much you were really pushing yourself during that jog.

Even if your work or course load is heavy, you can benefit from short, high intensity programmes like the exercise physiologist-developed J&J 7-Minute Workout. As its name suggests, this interval training app requires users to complete a full set of 12 exercises in a little over five minutes. Simply repeat the set if you want to push yourself.

If you want to feel like part of a community, try joining a club like Nike+ Run Club, where you can see how other runners are doing. If you want some extra motivation (and a few laughs), try something like Zombies, Run!, which gamifies your run by letting you pretend you’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

If you feel that hits too close to home, it’s probably because we’ve just lived through an apocalyptic age—one without zombies but close enough. So make sure you shed “the Covid-19” just in case an apocalypse of the zombie nature is next.