It’s not an easy time for anyone currently with the lockdown affecting us all differently. Exercise and mental health is one area that can be seriously affected.
Research shows that being sedentary is bad for your physical and mental health, so staying active during this difficult time is important. Being physically active helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It also helps maintain muscle mass and bone density, reducing the risk of developing sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) and osteoporosis (loss of bone density).
Physical activity also helps to keep your immune system working effectively as it flushes bacteria from the lungs and airways, increases white blood cell circulation and raises body temperature, all of which help the body fight infection.
As well as the physical health benefits, keeping active is a great way to ward off some of the psychological issues associated with being cooped up for an extended time. Being active helps lower stress hormones such as cortisol and promotes the release of feel-good hormones, such as endorphins.
Many people exercise in a gym or go for a run in a local park, so being forced to spend long periods of time at home is going to pose a challenge for remaining active. So what can we do to ensure we make the most of the situation and keep ourselves fit and healthy?
First, if you are not in self-isolation and are allowed to venture outside then regular walking, running or cycling is a great way to stay active. Just be sure to keep a distance of two metres away from other people.
But even if you’re stuck at home, there are ways you can stay active and continue your workout routine – and some of these require very little or no equipment.
Try walking briskly around the house or up and down the stairs. And stand or walk around when you’re on the phone, rather than sitting down. Dancing is also a great way to keep active, especially with children, so putting on some music for 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times each day can really contribute to the daily exercise quota.
Alternatively, why not find some home workouts that you can do with little to no equipment? Here at Hello Fit we have 31 virtual classes a week at times all over the day from yoga and pilates to strength and conditioning and intervals classes. We also have a number of home workouts we can give to you to do in your own time.
Resistance exercises can help strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility.
You could even put your tins of baked beans, bags of rice, bottled water or flour to good use. They make great dumbbell substitutes or, if you tie them up in a carrier bag, you have an improvised kettlebell.
All in all, exercising daily has some huge advantages during this time. It doesn’t matter too much what you do initially, just pick one thing you enjoy such as brisk walking and aim to do it daily or every other day for 15-30 minutes, doing something is better than nothing.