Due to the current lockdown, most people will be spending a lot, if not all, their time at home. This means there are far fewer opportunities to be physically active if you are used to walking and exercising on a normal day.
The home environment doesn’t offer much opportunity to be active, as most of us tend to sit around when at home. This means we engage in less physical exercise which can lead us to feeling tired and down. This is why it is important to try and do a bit of exercise each day to keep the spirits up during these challenging times, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
Why is exercise important?
Our bodies and minds need exercise to function well, relieve stress and to prevent weight gain. Exercise can even help keep our immune system strong, so we are less likely to catch infections and are stronger at overcoming them.
So how can I stay active during lockdown?
There are many ways to stay active during lockdown. Government guidelines allow us to go out on walks in order to get our daily exercise. However, there are still many things people can do at home to stay active:
1. Do a home workout – since the first lockdown, there have been many online workout classes published online for free to help people stay active during lockdown. These range from beginner classes to people with more experience, so there really is something for everyone to try.
2. Make your own exercise routine – there are many great resources on the internet for indoor exercise, but you can even make your own. Don’t worry if you don’t have any exercise equipment - A 2017 British study found home-based strength exercises that utilise your own bodyweight such as press-ups, sit-ups and planks are as important for health as aerobic exercise.
3. Go out on a walk – it’s good to get out and stretch your legs as often as you can. Plan a trip out to a local park or scenic spot to get some fresh air and enjoy the surroundings.
4. Play with a pet – if you have a pet at home, this is a great opportunity to bond with them more. Set aside time for active play. Dogs thrive on human attention and, given the opportunity, they would keep you on your feet 24/7. There are many great indoor games that will keep you and your dog active and happy.
5. Take regular breaks – if you are sat at your computer or on your phone for long periods of time, make sure to take a break every 20-30 minutes. Have a walk round the house, grab a snack or drink, or go out in the garden for some fresh air. Just have a few minutes away from the computer or phone screen to prevent eye strain.
6. Dance! – An increasing number of online live concerts are streamed online each week. Dancing is an excellent way to maintain fitness as it can reach moderate to high intensity of exercise. It also has proven mental health benefits to help us cope with being stuck at home.
The end goal during lockdown is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness. Just as little as 15 minutes a day really can make a difference to making you feel more optimistic during these challenging times.
For more ideas take a look at the online resources of reputable organisations such as:
World Health Organisation
NHS – Get fit for free
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