With the government’s advice that we should practice “social distancing,” many people are avoiding gyms and group fitness classes; instead opting to exercise at home.
But finding the motivation for home workouts can be hard, especially if you live in a small space or have minimal equipment at your disposal.
However, it’s more important than ever to keep on the move when cooped up inside your home to maintain and enhance your overall health and wellbeing.
Breaking into a sweat – even for short bursts – will release those happy endorphins that help to relieve stress and tension, ultimately, boosting your mood.
We’re lucky to be living in the golden age of at-home fitness, so you may already have the perfect piece of equipment – loaded with hours-upon-hours of on-demand content – to help you stay mobile. Or you might use an at-home fitness app like Fiit – which offers thousands of cardio, strength, and yoga workouts – to ensure your activity levels don’t slip. By hopping on YouTube, you can usually find some pretty decent workouts too.
So, don’t worry – there’s plenty you can do, and exercising at home doesn’t have to be dull or difficult! Here are a few tips to help…
Get your space in order
There’s an age-old saying, “tidy room, tidy mind,” and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to at-home fitness. Before you start to exercise, tidy the space around you which will help to focus your mind and reduce any unwanted distractions. Cleaning up, in itself, is a form of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) which can help to burn calories, so – better still – you’ll be improving your fitness even before your workout has begun!
Feel the fresh air
When stuck indoors, you may start to feel the effects of fatigue. While factors such as a lack of sleep and hours spent at your computer screen may be partly to blame, a great way to give your energy levels a lift ready to work out is by getting some fresh air, so step outside, take a stroll around the block or, at the very least, open up a window! In fact, studies
have shown that just 20 minutes of being outside in nature is enough to give your vitality a significant boost. If you wanted to, you could even take your exercise outdoors, with the added benefit of reducing lactic acid build-up in your muscles because of the extra amount of fresh oxygen you’ll be breathing in.
It all adds up!
Every little bit of exercise adds up, so try to squeeze it in wherever you can. Many bodyweight exercises, such as squats and lunges, can be performed almost anywhere. If you’re working from home, try peppering in some push-ups between tasks or deadlines. You could also aim for a 10-minute express workout at lunchtime.
Dance, dance, dance
From dad-dancers to those who’d give the Strictly professionals a run for their money, everyone can benefit from dancing. And with music easier to access than ever before through streaming services, it’s almost impossible to get bored of the same old tracks. So, stick on your favourite tunes, wiggle those hips, get your heart racing, and improve your fitness. As always, take it steady and progress from there. Start with one track, then two, then three, until you can dance the whole way through your favourite album or playlist. This is a great way to burn calories, improve your cardiovascular health, and have fun!
Keep getting those steps in!
Don’t let being at home hold you back from achieving those 8000 – 10,000 steps per day. Not only will this help to improve your immunity, but it will also assist with your sleep. Research has shown just how beneficial getting those steps in can be. According to one study
by Dr. I-Min Lee and her team, “Among older women, as few as approximately 4,400 steps per day was significantly related to lower mortality rates.” The UK Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity Guidelines advise that adults and older adults perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which includes brisk walking. Completing 10,000 steps means you’re more than likely to exceed this! However, it’s important to emphasise that while 8,000 – 10,000 is the goal, increasing your physical activity levels – however small that might be – is a positive outcome. If you're not very active, try to increase your steps little by little. Don’t kill yourself with 10,00 steps on the first day!
The 30:2 method
Martin Hamer, one of our health and fitness tutors, has devised a great method for keeping active during COVID-19. He suggests that for every 30 minutes you are sedentary or in a fixed position, you must pay yourself back with two minutes of movement. Clearly, this may not always be possible, therefore, if you're sedentary for 90 minutes, you must pay yourself back with six minutes of activity. Martin also advocates trying to create some light-hearted competition between yourself, friends, and family members to add in an element of fun in these otherwise troubling times. To give you an idea of how this could work, set an alarm to remind you to move every 30 minutes. When it goes off, perform some kind of spontaneous exercise for two minutes, record your score, and then send it to your social network to see if they can compete against you. Here's an example of how this could be recorded and shared with others:
Name – Martin
Duration – 2 minutes
Score – 95 skips
Can you beat it?
Bodyweight routines are great, and some people swear by them, but for others, they can become boring (think of school P.E!) Therefore, having some equipment at home can help to make your fitness routine more varied, fun, and engaging. The good news is you don’t need to go out and spend hundreds of pounds on fitness equipment – unless you see this as the perfect opportunity to build the home gym you’ve always wanted. A kettlebell, TRX bands, or a set of dumbbells can provide countless workout possibilities to keep you motivated and enjoying exercise.
Looking after your physical and mental health is essential, especially during times like these. To help with this, complete some parasympathetic (down regulation) work for 10 – 20 minutes a day to decrease stress levels and also improve sleep. This is anything that helps to slow down the nervous system and other organ systems to try and relax the body out of fight, flight, focus, or freeze mode, such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
Start small and work your way up
It may take a little while to get into the routine of working out, so start small and then build yourself up to longer exercises and more difficult challenges. If you’re new to exercise, start with five-minute periods. The important thing is not to force it which could mean developing a negative mindset towards fitness. Permit yourself to stop when you’ve had enough – although we’re pretty sure you’ll want to keep going once you feel the effects of those magic little endorphins!
Being penned in at home due to the coronavirus outbreak is going to be a challenging time for many of us, disrupting the routines, systems, and structures we have in place for many aspects of our lives. Hopefully, these tips will help to ease some of that pressure so that you’re able to keep moving and mobile until the pandemic has passed and we’re out the other side.
We’re in this together, so if you would like any health and fitness advice during this time, please feel to contact us via our website or social media channels and we will do our very best to assist you.