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Doing “WHO” Home Fitness
Written by Jack (Kangmin) Lee | Published. 2020.06.29 10:10 | Count : 1177

As new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge, many healthy individuals are being asked by the government to stay at home in self-quarantine. Fitness centers, as of the writing of this article, will remain temporarily closed or partially open. Staying at home for long periods of time can pose a significant challenge for remaining physically healthy. However, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Sydney, exercise can help keep our immune system strong, less susceptible to infections and their most severe consequences. Thus, many people are now purchasing sport equipment to try quarantine workouts at home. There are also many indoor workout videos on YouTube, which have already been viewed by a total of more than 100,000.

The WHO (World Health Organization), a global health authority which leads the fight against pandemic, recently recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (or a combination of both) per week.

[Me, doing plank on a yoga mat.  / Photo Credit Seung Heon Lee]  

These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and even with limited space. Over the course of “going to school” online, I also had the opportunity to experience the home fitness trend. I did my best to follow the WHO’s tips on how to stay active while at home in self-quarantine, as described in the following numbers:.

1) Knee to elbow
Touch one knee with the opposite elbow, alternating sides. The WHO recommends performing this move for 1–2 minutes, resting for 30–60 seconds, and repeating it up to 5 times. On my first trial, I made 4 times. This exercise can increase your heart and breathing rates. At the second trial, I made 6 times, felt a little tension on my legs.

2) Plank
To me, this was the hardest exercise. Support forearms firmly on the ground, with the elbows under the shoulders. The key is to keep the hips at the level of the head. The WHO wanted me to hold for 20–30 seconds at a time, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. I held for 18 seconds, repeated 4 times. After this exercise, I felt strong tension in my belly. 

[Me, doing a squat, the “king of exercises.”  / Photo Credit Seung Heon Lee]

3) Squats
Squats are often called the “king of exercises”. According to WHO, the squat works the largest muscles in the body, the thighs, and so end up not only stimulating muscular increase and strength but also providing a systemic metabolic stimulation that seems to encourage even upper-body growth. I place my feet at hip distance with the toes pointing outwards. Bend knees as much as feel comfortable, keeping the heels on the ground. Bend and stretch the legs. Do this 10–15 times, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. At first I could hear some cracking sound around my knees, perhaps that was the first time for me to do Squats.  

4) Chair dip
Hold onto the seat of a chair, with feet about half a meter away from the chair. Bend arms as I lower hips to the ground, then straighten the arms. Perform this exercise 10–15 times, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This was a relatively easy one to me. 

 "Body-weight training uses your body as resistance to give you a challenging workout, which can improve your fitness levels and also build strength," explains Shin Ah Lee, a training specialist at “Cyber Gym of Seoul’s” Seocho-gu district. Lee also said, “One of the most effective workouts, if you can't leave the house, is a mix of body-weight exercises and high-intensity interval training. WHO-style workouts are relatively short and don't take up much space and are great because they are a mix of  body/weight exercises.” 

Fighting against COVID-19 will be a long battle. Nevertheless, we need to be prepared for the long battle. WHO style home fitness, of course on a regular basis, may help us to stay healthy so that we can win.

Jack (Kangmin) Lee
9th grade
Seoul International School

Jack (Kangmin) Lee  student_reporter@dherald.com

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