What To Do When You Don’t Have Gym | 10 Strategies from Coach Sara

What To Do When You Don’t Have Gym

We are living in a strange world right now.  Gyms are closing down left and right, we’re going to be staying home for an extended period of time, and we don’t know how long this will last.  This is all in the name of keeping as many people healthy as possible, but it’s still hard.

Though this is a situation none of us have faced, it’s completely understandable to feel stressed, overwhelmed, nervous, and more.  It feels like we don’t have much control in the situation, but that’s only partly true.  There are a lot of things you and your athletes can do when you don’t have gym.

Here are 10 strategies to help you during this uncertain time when you can’t go to the gym (or much of anywhere)!

  1. Get into a new routine.  We’re are facing a new normal, so take the time to come up with a new daily routine for your family.  You might have different routines for each member, and there can be flexibility (see the next point), but create routines.  These routines give us a sense of stability in a world where a lot is unknown.  In your routine, get up at a certain time and plan segments of time for different activities: educational activities, family activities, physical activities, household activities (like chores), screen time, educational screen time, creative time, etc.
  2. Be flexible.  Create the routine, but understand it may not work exactly the way you’ve planned.  Many of us haven’t had to be at home all day with our kids and this is new territory for them, too.  Not to mention that we’re expected to have them be educated while they’re at home!  Use your new routine as a guide, adjusting day-to-day or week-to-week as needed.
  3. Use imagery.  Your kids can’t go to the gym.  That’s so hard.  This is the perfect time to work on imagery (visualizing) skills.  Imagery is creating or recreating experiences in your mind, using all of your senses.  This allows your gymnasts to picture the skills they’d be working on in the gym, the routines they would have been competing and the meets, and maybe even start picturing the skills they want for next year.  Imagery helps to create muscle memory and is a great way to help keep skills sharp and maintain confidence when it’s time to head back to the gym.
  4. Enjoy your time.  This may seem hard, but this is a great time to relax (something that’s hard to do as a gymnastics family because you’re in the gym SO MUCH).  Whether you’re in pajamas all day, have dance parties every night, or make new rules like pancake dinners, it’s important that we all find ways to have fun.
  5. Get outside.  Many of us can still go outside (check your local regulations for details), as long as we’re practicing social distancing.  Go for walks with the family, ride bikes, head to an open field for some (safe) tumbling, or get out on your trampoline and flip until you can’t flip anymore.  *No injuries, please!!
  6. Be active.  Getting outside is one way to be active but think about what you can do at home: yoga videos, choreographing dances and teaching them to your family, stretching, conditioning – keep that body moving!  It’s important to your physical and mental health.
  7. Be social.  It seems like we can’t be social, but we can – it just looks different right now.  Call people, FaceTime, do virtual coffee dates, and give your kids lots of leeway with how much time they spend on their phones.  They’re missing their friends – allow them to connect.
  8. Have some alone time.  We’re all going to be spending a lot of time with our families.  We will get sick of each other at some point.  One way to try and deal with this is to build in periods of alone time.  Consider adding it into your schedule where each family member heads to a specific space and spends some time on their own.
  9. Change some things up.  This is a great opportunity to shake things up a bit.  Whether you’re able to cook more because you’re not driving to and from the gym, you have time to organize those closets that you’ve been meaning to get to, or you institute a new rule like, “We eat dinner as a family, at the table,” this is a great time to mix things up.
  10. Be Mindful.  There will be stress.  There may be anxiety.  There will likely be yelling.  Everyone is going to be on edge in their own way.  Remember to take deep breaths regularly to manage your energy and reactions to stress.  You might even want to add meditation or mindfulness exercises into your family’s daily routine.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how long life will be “like this”, but we do know is that it’s important, and it might not be easy.  Use these 10 strategies to help you adjust to this new normal and remember that much (if not all) of this is temporary.

Is your gymnast struggling with mental blocks or fear?  Check out my FREE resource for parents.