5 free online exercise classes to try during lockdown

One of the best ways that we can look after ourselves during lockdown is to find ways to stay active. But, with gyms shut and time outdoors limited, you may be in need of some fitness inspiration.

The lockdown has sparked an online fitness movement, which has seen fitness coaches and instructors – including national treasures like Mr Motivator – going virtual to help the nation stay healthy at home. The great thing about this is that you get to try out a range of different workout styles delivered by some top instructors – all completely free!

There are also other benefits of logging in from your own home, including being able to push yourself much harder while taking as many breaks as you need, and taking part in classes that you might not feel confident enough to try in person for the first time in front of an audience.

Without further ado, here are 5 free exercise classes that you can stream from home – all of which require minimal space and equipment.

1. Mr. Motivator

Great for… anyone who is looking to get moving whilst having fun

He’s back! And not only is he helping to keep the nation moving – he’s bringing a smile to people’s faces with his overwhelming positivity. If his technicolour lycra and matching bun bags aren’t enough to cheer you up – we don’t know what will!

Mr Motivator – whose real name is Derrick Evans – was the star of 90s breakfast TV. Now at 66, he’s recently made a comeback to the fitness circuit and says that he’s in the best shape of his life. His workouts consist of short sequences of low impact aerobics and lifts, which are accessible to all.

One of the best things about Mr Motivator is his zest for life. He has recently spoken about the fitness strategies he uses in his own life, which include getting himself excited to start the day. A couple of ways that he does this is by standing in the mirror naked and giving himself a pep talk, and telling his wife he loves her several times a day!

In a recent interview with The Sun, he said “I encourage everyone to do this. Start with a cup full of happiness so when you go out into the world and something knocks you and you spill a bit out, you’ll still have happiness left because you started full. This attitude is critical for wellbeing, it’s just as much Mr Motivator’s message as the workouts.”

Mr Motivator is currently offering live Daily Dozen fitness classes on his YouTube channel every weekday at 12pm. Most don’t use any equipment, but those that do are usually things that can be found around the home like a chair or a couple of tins. Every live class gets saved to Derrick’s YouTube channel so if you miss any, then you can always catch up later.

2. Camp Fit

Great for… anyone who fancies doing an 80s-style dance workout

Camp Fit dance classes were voted number one in The Independent’s Top Ten Online Lockdown Workouts. Each 40 minute aerobic dance class is a fun throwback to the eighties, so have your leg warmers and your sweatbands at the ready. For anyone who was a fan of the original Jane Fonda VHS workout – these classes are sure to deliver you a dose of nostalgia!

Sessions are led by instructor Carl, who Camp Fit describes as a cross between Joe Wicks and Jane Fonda. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and he provides a helpful explanation of the dance moves before every sequence.

If you’re looking for something that combines high-energy dance moves, with some yoga and stretching, then we recommend that you give this a try! All classes are streamed live from Camp Fit’s Facebook page at 10am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 12pm on Saturdays. They can be enjoyed in small spaces and don’t require any equipment.

3. Fit for Good

Great for… anyone who is looking for a full body workout to suit all levels

Fit for Good offers a coaching service to older adults who are looking to boost their fitness and enjoy healthier, happier ageing. Their aim is to help make fitness feel enjoyable and convenient, by helping you to feel challenged but never pushing you beyond your capabilities.

During the lockdown, all their live classes are free. They tend to be 40 or 50 minutes long and most are medium intensity, with an option to make moves easier or harder by making small adjustments. Nearly all workouts are designed to stimulate your metabolic rate, whilst helping you tone up and strengthen your upper and lower body. There are also a few seated class options available for those who have limited mobility or are recovering from injury.

Sessions are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to help you get into a regular, yet manageable, fitness routine.

4. Lotus Flower Yoga

Great for… anyone who is looking to increase strength and flexibility

Lotus Flower Yoga sessions are run by instructor, Katya, who will be going live on YouTube everyday throughout May! She says that she is keen to make every session feel as accessible as possible for anyone that wants to get involved by helping them to have a positive, empowering experience. Each class is based on a theme, for example, ‘love’ or ‘roots‘ and includes meditation and yoga poses based around this theme.

All you need to take part is a mat (or beach towel), your own body weight and a stable wifi connection. You can also invite your pet if you have one – Katya often has her cat Merlin curled up in a ball on the edge of her mat!

If you’re interested in giving it a try, then you can find Katya live everyday on YouTube at 10am throughout the month of May. Don’t worry if you’ve missed a few classes already – all her classes are saved and numbered so you can do them anytime!

If you’re new to yoga but are interested in finding out more about it, then you could also take a look at our introductory guide to yoga, which has some additional tips on how to get started during and after lockdown.

5. Joe Wicks

Great for… anyone who fancies a challenge

Joe Wicks’ (also known as The Body Coach) 20-minute fitness sessions were originally designed to keep children active whilst they were home from school, but they have proved popular with people of all ages, all over the world. The workouts are simple, yet challenging enough that anyone can give it a go, and Joe demonstrates how moves can be made easier or more difficult depending on your fitness or mobility level. For example, doing sit ups with your feet on the ground, or lifting your legs to make the move more challenging.

The Body Coach adds fun to the workouts by using fancy dress and games, such as spot the difference. He also enlists the help of his wife Rosie and young daughter, Indie – who can be seen either joining in or toddling around in the background. On occasion Joe has been seen to bribe her mid-workout to keep her away from the camera wires – which is a nice reminder that we’re all in this together, and are getting through it the best that we can while we’re all cooped up at home! Joe has also used his workouts as a chance to fundraise for the NHS, and his global fitness community have so far raised over £200,000.

If you’d like to join in with one of his family fun workouts, you can find him live on YouTube, every week day  at 9am. Or watch on repeat whenever convenient!

And finally…

If none of the workouts above pique your interest then you might find it useful to check out our article How to stay fit at home during the coronavirus lockdown. It includes suggestions on how you could use video calling to workout with friends and family, and reminds that completing jobs around the house and in the garden can still be a great way to stay active.

We’d love to hear from you! How are you keeping fit during the lockdown? Are there any other free online classes that you could recommend to others? Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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