Staying home, and physically isolating, while a safe measure, may have unintended negative consequences, by leading to reduced physical activity. It is likely for many of us that prolonged home stay will lead to increased sedentary behaviour.
We are probably spending excessive amounts of time sitting, reclining, or lying down for activities on screens. There is a BIG reduction in our general opportunities for “built-in” movement (even just walking from the door to the car counts!).
Many of us are normally “social exercisers”: our walk with friends, Pilates class, trip to the gym, are all now cancelled. Humans are such creatures of habit, when these routines are broken, we can quickly slide into doing a lot less.
All this leads to an increased risk for, and potential worsening, of chronic health conditions, including mental health. There is a strong health rationale, and good evidence, for continuing physical activity in the home to stay healthy and maintain immune system function in the current uncertain environment.
Exercise at home can be done using various safe, simple, and easy exercises to maintain or improve fitness levels. GOOD NEWS!!! It doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t have to look like an Instagram model, you don’t even need ANY equipment!!
I have talked here before about the internationally accepted guidelines for basic health: We need at least 30 min of moderate physical activity every day. During this, you should feel it would be harder to hold a conversation, but still possible. For some, this could be vigorous jumping jacks! BUT, if you are not used to exercise, it may be simply marching on the spot. If you have health issues, that marching might be done sitting on a chair. Or how about a little boogie to your favourite tunes for added feel-good factor? Every little bit counts!!! That 30 minutes can be done in shorter durations too. 10 minutes, or even 5 here and there. Just do get the heart & lungs working more.
Some form of strength building at least twice a week is also essential.
Obviously, some of you are very used to using weights. If you have no idea what to do with a dumbbell, a bottle of water, or cans of beans, or even just the weight of your own body can be enough to get going. Again, it does NOT need to be complicated!! Squats, lunges, slow sit-to-stand, push-ups against the kitchen counter, are all examples that need NO equipment.
Even if you’re not sure what you are doing, or feel less able, keep in mind: SOME activity is better than NONE, and more is better than less. If you are up and moving in ANY way, you are WINNING!!
For those who are traditionally sedentary, it is so, so important to EASE INTO IT. Some gently joint mobilisations, and 5 minutes marching on the spot is fine too!! Leaping into some high intensity workout on Youtube will leave you demoralised and with little benefit. BE KIND to yourself.
For those who miss the social aspect, can you persuade a few friends to do a Zoom or Facetime session together for encouragement?
Some very driven personalities may use endurance or high intensity activities to deal with the current situation. Please note: unless you are VERY accustomed to strenuous or prolonged exercise, it may reduce immune defences. So stick to reasonable and familiar challenges, whatever that level means to you.
If you are thinking about stepping beyond current physical capabilities, another important thought here: you most definitely don’t want to end up in the A&E. Our frontline health care staff have enough to deal with: another really good reason to stick with what you are comfortable with. No need to push boundaries hard at the moment.
If you would like some great ideas for healthy movement strategies, check out NEW YOU on Facebook or Instagram. I’m putting up fun and easy ways to MOVE WELL.
While “online” services are most definitely not my previous experience, I am looking into the possibilities. Watch this space…. who knows what new ways of working we will all find? In the meantime, if I can be of any support or advice, please do give me a call, or message. 087 7530430