By Jeanann Doyle
While we are social distancing and staying at home as much as possible during coronavirus, it is important to stay healthy and active where you can.
Are you starting to feel like a bit of a couch potato? Are you grazing on everything and anything while binging on Netflix?
It may be difficult, but by following the government’s guidance on social distancing and staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and our community.
It’s completely normal to perhaps feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You might also feel low, worried, anxious, or concerned about your health or that of those close to you. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.
Jeanann our Healthy Lifestyle Adviser has some great ideas to share with you to kick start your staying active routine at home.
Exercising regularly, alongside healthy eating and getting up at the same time each day, can help create a routine and sense of normality. Keeping up physical activity will certainly boost both physical health and mental health and well-being.
The NHS recommends us to aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking or cycling. During coronavirus, whilst we can now exercise as much as we like, we must only exercise with one other person and must remember to stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone outside of our household.
Don’t forget to make sure you gradually build up exercise in order to reduce the risk of injury if you are beginning to get more active.
For more information on exercise recommendations please see the NHS website on https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/move-more/how-much-exercise-should-you-really-do/
Regular exercise will not only strengthen our immune system but will also release those feel-good hormones to reduce stress while keeping us positively calm.
You might be thinking…
I live alone and my flat is tiny, how do I stay motivated to keep active every week?
The thought of exercising at home can be hard for most of us who may prefer to use a gym or join our favourite exercise class. Recent government guidelines state we can now exercise outside as much as we like. However if you would prefer to stay at home due to bad weather or other reasons now’s the time to think outside the box about alternatives.
How about creating a space that could resemble your own personal gym? Push back furniture a little, grab a mat, a workout video, your favourite playlist and some weights (try two tins of baked beans or 2 litre bottles of water) and off you go!
Think of the positives; you get to choose your own music that will get you moving and feeling energetic. Use the extra time that you used to use commuting to work, to exercise. A skipping rope is cheap, great for some high intensity exercise and if you have a smaller space. Need more motivation? Why not video call a friend or two to share your workout session together “Power in numbers” (virtually of course!).
I was feeling a bit gloomy myself recently when I had to stop going to my beloved hot yoga practice. That quickly changed when I joined an online live session from home with a whole community of participants (pets and children entertained us all in the background).
How do I keep active with kids at home?
There are endless ways to keep active together as a family. With safety in mind and soft flooring, a useful weight can be your very own toddler. Yes, you heard me! Fun dance videos online are a great way to get the whole family involved (consider clearing the floor and pushing some furniture back to create a safe space). Fancy some Wimbledon in your very own home without knocking down the bookcase and your grandmother’s antique lamp?Then blow up a balloon for your oversized tennis ball. Tape together a paper plate to a stick and make two of these. Draw on the plates to resemble 2 tennis rackets.
What can I do if I’m over 70 and shielding for 12 weeks?
If you are more comfortable doing some stretches from your chair or sofa and need something to help like resistance bands, you could use a scarf or old tights. Steps or stairs inside your home can certainly add to your daily exercise routine while providing a mini cardio workout. Housework is considered as being active while at the same time keeps your home clean.
The sun is out as I’m writing, so those with green fingers, put your gardening skills to use while you’re staying at home to also bag a daily dose of Vitamin D for your bones. A useful app on your phone worth checking out is Active 10 https://oneyou.westminster.gov.uk/move-more. Here you can break up your exercise into three 10 minute sessions of exercise. Make sure to get up and walk around your home every hour as this proves to lower negative health effects of prolonged inactivity. Every bit of movement counts.
Are you looking for more inspiration?
Get creative and design your own exercise cards. Each card can have an exercise with how many times you do it, examples include; 10 squats or a plank for 30 seconds. Mix them up and take out a different selection of 5 cards every day. Play your favourite music or even better have a playlist on shuffle. Children at home? Get them to draw or paint on the cards and exercise together so that the whole family can have some fun. We don’t need equipment to move, let’s use the time to be creative and build exercise into your routine.
Have a rest from TV or listening to the news and do some research of exercise videos you like. Pick out 5 favourites and rotate from week to week to avoid getting bored and demotivated. Remember to choose workouts to target different parts of the body, this will also keep the routine varied so you don’t get bored. The same goes with Spotify or a music playlist. Use this time to explore new music as well.
And last but not least…don’t forget safety
Ensure that you firstly consider your space before beginning exercise. Move away any items you might trip over, wear appropriate clothing and shoes and consider your surroundings when outdoors. Ensure you keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from anyone outside of your household when outdoors and only do group exercise if it’s online. Remember to do a warm up before exercise and cool down after. Worried about exercise if you have a health condition? Then it is best to firstly call your GP Practice to ask about your safety to exercise.
Why not get started with ONE YOU Westminster?
We have a range of free online exercise classes to keep you moving. So get in touch and sign up to ONE YOU Westminster today.