Working Out At Home: Tips & Clothing - une femme d'un certain âge

Working Out At Home, And Staying Connected

Susan B. gets ready to workout at home with online Pilates classes. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m finally finding my rhythm for working out at home. Without the structure of a scheduled class or session, it was easy to procrastinate and skip my home workouts (aside from walking outside when weather was conducive).

Our house is small, and we don’t have a lot of space for equipment or routines. I have a yoga mat and blocks, and a couple sets of hand weights, and that’s pretty much it.

After some fits and starts, here’s what seems to be working:

Timing. I’m not one of those people who can jump out of bed and exercise. Late morning or mid-afternoon is my workout “prime time.” I now plan my workout sessions for those times of day.

Duration. Keeping workouts to 30 minutes or so feels less onerous and more manageable. I’m now aiming for five 30-minute sessions per week. (Not including walking.)

Maintain, don’t strain. On the recommendation from my Pilates instructor, I’ve been doing some basic mat workouts from Pilatesology. And a few simple yoga moves that I feel comfortable with. I’m looking to maintain my current level, rather than trying to make big gains. And I want to avoid injury, so that I can hopefully pick up where I left off once it’s safe to start going back to outside classes.

I haven’t made a big investment in workout clothing, and don’t plan to. I really like these yoga pants from Talbots. They’re perfect for the kind of workouts I do, plus they look polished enough to run errands (when we do run errands out in the world again).

I’m not a fan of sports bras, so I usually just work out in my regular bra. I’ve found that a fitted tee in a smooth jersey fabric is most comfortable. The one I’m wearing above is from last year and no longer available, but here’s a similar one.

Work Out / Wear Out Styles

Celebrating Passover While Social Distancing

A zoom Passover Seder during coronavirus stay home mandate. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

As we couldn’t get together with family for a Seder this year, one of le Monsieur’s East-coast cousins decided to organize one via Zoom. All in all, it worked pretty well. We all worked off the same Hagaddah, and the organizer called upon everyone in turn to read. And it was so nice to be together with everyone for this celebration.

What online tools are helping you to stay connected?

Stay in touch.

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  1. KarenLA
    April 10, 2020 / 4:20 am

    I’m not a big yoga fan, however, I discovered LIVE, on-line yoga with Nikki S
    And she’s fantastic. She does it through Zoom and it’s great. The class comes to you. I highly recommend her Sore Back Class, even if you don’t have one. It’s gentle, you never leave the floor and there are no moves that turn you into a pretzel. Afterwards, you feel like you’ve had a massage. Wonderful for reducing stress & anxiety. Here’s the website;

  2. MaryInMD
    April 10, 2020 / 5:26 am

    I am also finding it challenging to do anything but walking without gym access, but I will keep trying. Thanks for sharing what works for you. I am short and busty. My favorite workout bra is a Wacoal underwire sports bra that hooks like a regular bra and is available in a broad range of sizes. It’s 25% off at Nordstrom now, so I just replaced one of mine. Definitely size UP for the band, but order regular cup size. It’s a lot like a regular bra but more supportive. Stay healthy!

  3. April 10, 2020 / 5:32 am

    I’m going to try Pilatesology today. I’ve done my usual yoga class a few times a week online, but because it’s 90 minutes (or more) I find I get very irritable. In the studio fine, but at home, onerous as you said.
    It’s a really good point, and I hadn’t really thought of the length of time being a “block” before. Thanks!

    • Susan Blakey
      April 10, 2020 / 6:48 am

      Kathy, you can sort by class length, equipment type, and level (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Makes it so easy to find a good one!

  4. SuD
    April 10, 2020 / 5:40 am

    Happy Passover to you. Glad to hear you can still connect and celebrate. Maintaining contact during these times can be difficult.
    Though I’m not shopping now, I like your yoga pants and will add them to my list of things for the future. Do they maintain their shape?

    • Susan Blakey
      April 10, 2020 / 6:49 am

      Yes, they seem to. They’ll stretch a bit after a few workouts, but bounce back once washed.

  5. Melissa Gill
    April 10, 2020 / 5:57 am

    Planet Fitness has some great workouts free for everyone. Check them out on Facebook. They have been posting 2 a day since March 16. My daughter and I do one every day. They are 20-25 minute workouts that are easily modified down or up (whatever you need). I have shared the ones that are our favorites so they stay on “my” Facebook page and I can access them quickly. We like to go for a walk mid morning (have good energy then), and then do one of these mid afternoon. Its a good way to get us up and moving instead of taking a nap. I’m so thankful to have my daughter with me, she definitely keeps me motivated.

  6. Jane2
    April 10, 2020 / 6:19 am

    Nice to see the pic of Passover! I signed up for Kyle’s classes (they’re so different for me – love the long warm-ups, and the instructions on how to do things…I can do about 20 percent of the moves, and with heavy modification can do some of the rest) and said I’d found out about it from “your cousin Susan”. He and his wife couldn’t figure out who Susan was, until he said “Oh SUE!” and said you all got together for Passover.

    By the end of this, I know I’ll be stronger. Interesting times.

  7. April 10, 2020 / 6:21 am

    My Pure Barre classes have been available online with my paid membership, grateful that I was already acquainted with that for times I took classes during vacation. I’m using it now to maintain my 3 classes weekly, it’s been a very important part of my new routine. I take class at the same time I would have gone to the studio, that helps too.

  8. Allene
    April 10, 2020 / 7:13 am

    I have a ZOOM happy hour with friends once a week. It is super easy to use and we all look forward to it.
    I read somewhere that we should be walking for 20 minutes 3 times a day since we are pretty inactive right now. I am doing 2 30 minute sessions and its improving my mental health.

  9. Linda B
    April 10, 2020 / 7:19 am

    Personally, for exercise I am still jogging in my neighborhood or riding the tandem with my husband on various roads through the city– we had to stop using Tucson’s wonderful off-road/shared use path because it is not wide enough for proper social distancing. The streets are relatively empty so it is fine. I also am getting exercise as we catch up on yard-work, including reinvigorating our long neglected garden beds. Getting movement has always been my way to maintain sanity, but s=certainly is now.

    Last night we had a small but sweet virtual seder with our son (in Seattle) and our daughter, son-in-law, and 10 month old granddaughter (in Corvallis)–we had originally planned to be together for the holiday in Oregon. . . We all made our own matzah ball soup, and of course had the other traditional seder items ready. The service was short–the baby would not have tolerated more. We have all been staying in close touch daily, so it was really just an extended version of that.

    I have to admit that this Passover has been really hard for me emotionally, not only because we could not make the trip to be physically together, but also because it is my first time making seder without my mother, who died in September. I took over making the extended family seder from my mother years ago, when it became too much for her, but she was certainly always an important presence. . . I also am feeling sad that my dad is now in lockdown in the memory care facility he lives in, and had no seder of any kind and I can’t go see him, of course. At least he doesn’t realize what he is missing; I suppose that is a blessing. I keep thinking I had no idea a year ago that it would be our last seder all together! I really hope that next year, I can make a real seder in my home for my whole extended family–my kids (who hopefully could come down) and also my cousins and my one last surviving aunt–God willing she will still be around!

    • kb
      April 10, 2020 / 9:54 am

      My heart goes out to you. I am in a similar place (holding the family seder after my parents couldn’t; lost my mom recently; father in a lovely senior residence but under lockdown), and Passover is my very favorite holiday. Who knew that my matzo balls would be the lightest and fluffliest, the year that no one else was here to eat them 😉 Take care.

    • Susan Blakey
      April 10, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Linda, I’m so sorry. Those first holidays after the passing of a loved one can be so hard. Wishing you strength and may her memory be a blessing.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        April 10, 2020 / 2:33 pm

        I got photos of a Seder in Tunis. A friend in Paris – he is a Canadian of Polish-Jewish descent, his wife is French of Moroccan descent, so they combine Ashkenazi and Mizrahi foods. (I’m not Jewish, by way). Friend kvelling about his daughter who is a human rights lawyer and multilingual, but how about her son, his first grandchild. I was slated to work at a conference in Europe and see all my friends at least in Paris, but I’m relieved it was called off. I still haven’t heard from some friends in Northern Italy, and am worried about them.

  10. Linda M
    April 10, 2020 / 7:21 am

    Totally agree on the more frequent, shorter workouts and the midmorning walks. I’m a busy teacher in an old building with a lot of stairs, and it’s been hard to replicate my activity level while tied to a computer at home doing remote learning for many hours a day. I am enjoying Yoga with Adrienne on you tube, and am contemplating Leslie Sansone’s walk in place videos.

  11. DeeDee
    April 10, 2020 / 7:35 am

    My husband and I got a black lab puppy in January who is 5 months old now. She is the one who gets us moving from early morning to last thing at night. There are many many walks and lots of play time in the yard. In normal times I did strength training sessions twice a week. I have struggled to replicate that at home even thought my husband has a bar bell in the basement. Motivation is lacking I’m afraid. That may change but for right now I am being gentle on myself and trying to listen to what my body and spirit is telling me is right for now.

  12. April 10, 2020 / 7:38 am

    I also work out late in the morning, 4 times a week. Normally twice at the gym, twice at home. It feeks good to work out doesn’t it. And it’s good for the mind too. Hope to see you on my Fancy Friday link up party.

  13. Elizabeth Hall
    April 10, 2020 / 8:27 am

    I’ve had a bunch of zoom gatherings — my small art group got together and shared what we’ve been working on. Decided to have a loose theme of “flowers” for when we meet again. Had a Covid Cocktail party last night with 10 women friends. Great to connect, encourage and virtual hug. Will have book group next week on zoom. Lots of ways to stay connected.

  14. Book Goddess
    April 10, 2020 / 8:48 am

    I know it meant a lot to have your virtual Seder with your family. My church has been very creative in their worship offerings. For a couple of Sundays we had Drive in Church, which was quite wonderful. “Come as you are, stay in your car!” Sadly, in the interest of abiding by the stay at home order, those were discontinued. Yesterday we had a Maundy Thursday service online and will continue through the rest of Holy Week. It is a blessing to have these connections.

  15. Jill Ann
    April 10, 2020 / 9:03 am

    In my normal life, I went to Pilates twice a week, and played tennis two or three times a week. After the first week or two of quarantine inactivity, I remembered why I do that: if I don’t get some exercise, I get aches and pains! So I ventured to The Upstairs, where I rarely go since my kids left home. There’s an exercise bike which had been gathering dust, plus a home version of a Pilates reformer, and some hand weights. I’ve been diligent about doing 30 minutes a day on the bike, adding a few sets of arm exercises with 3# weights while I ride. Have managed to do 15-30 minutes of Pilates twice a week. That’s been enough to stave off the aches & pains, but I’m sure I could benefit from more; I may look into the online classes. I should walk outside more, too, before the weather gets too hot. Just keep moving, everyone!

  16. Kay
    April 10, 2020 / 11:53 am

    Argggh! I am so sick of this California rain! I have a garden to tend to! That’s my exercise. Stay dry, Susan.

  17. Lagatta de Montréal
    April 10, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    I’m so glad to have my trusty old Raleigh Sprite mixte back from the cycle shop!

  18. Rita Blanks
    April 10, 2020 / 6:03 pm

    Having nothing to do with working out, I just want to say that I love the way your hair looks in the lead photo. Terrific!!

  19. Karin
    April 10, 2020 / 6:50 pm

    Thanks for the Pilatesology reference. It looks doable. And affordable! I’ve really been struggling to find a new exercise habit during this time.

  20. Liz
    April 10, 2020 / 8:59 pm

    The app Marco Polo is a fun way to stay in touch with others. You can send a short video to a friend/loved one and then receive one in turn from them. Think of it as visual texting. The back and forth video messaging is done at your convenience, similar to regular texting.

  21. April 12, 2020 / 10:10 am

    Ah, this was what you were talking about. I hadn’t come round to this post yet. Had to look up Seder and Hagaddah as I am not very familiar with Jewish habits. You life and learn.
    My winter fitness attire consists of bright pink Nikes, a bright pink tunic dress, white T-shirt with 3/4 sleeves and a black legging. Trying to stay fashionable in class. I think I have had this for 8 years now and it gets washed a lot. Hurray for Nike. I still need to replace my summer stuff.

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