As we are all very aware, in these uncertain times with a major change to our normal routines of life, sticking to a plan for physical activity for fitness can be challenging. To counter this, we are also extremely aware of the benefits of being physically active for our physical well-being, mental health, the chance to get outdoors into the fresh air, and the increased possibility to strengthen immunity through exercise. These factors are some of the many reasons why maintaining and even increasing our energy expenditure is of paramount importance.
I had a friend mention, when we ‘caught up’ online via the Zoom platform that after lockdown there will be two types of people to come out of it; “those that took this as an opportunity to eat and drink their way through it all and those that took the chance of having more time at home to improve their fitness and wellbeing”.
If you fall in the latter of the above comment, then there will be a few tips and ideas to help ensure your experiences with increased physical activity are positive.
Take your workout online: YouTube now features endless free exercise videos to try, regardless of your fitness level or the size of your living room. From yoga and strength workouts to Pilates, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and more. Initiatives such as the Victorian Government “Girl Can” campaign and the Sport Aus ‘Find Your 30’ campaign have great resources attached to them also.
Personal trainers, dance instructors and other qualified fitness professionals are being creative and moving their classes online. So, you can join a class virtually ‘live’ or use their recorded sessions while also staying socially connected through exercise.
If a structured routine is not for you, get creative and DIY your very own workout – instead of weights you can household items like filled water bottles and cans or jars of food, walk or run on the spot for 30 second intervals, do some star jumps, planks, sit ups, push ups, or even burpees. Anything to get your heart rate up a little, and this can be as structured as you like it.
Go solo outside if possible. This has the added benefit of stepping away from our screens, and into nature for a positive hit of Vitamin D. Walking, cycling and running are great solo activities and safe if you’re feeling well and haven’t been asked to self-isolate. We suggest going early in the morning or late in the day, and avoid areas with high foot traffic, to minimise your risk. Remember to pack some hand sanitiser containing at least 60 per cent alcohol and stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you return indoors.
Before going full steam ahead into exercise, remember to start small – try maybe 10 minutes of yoga or walking a day, then gradually build up. Guidance from a qualified and creditable coach can also get you started, keep you on track and give you a sense of responsibility to stick to your training plan.
Even 10 minutes of movement a day can help your body and mind feel better. Encourage your loved ones, who you are no doubt spending a lot of time with right now, to take a moment to move their bodies too and you could also do this with them.
And please, if you’re not feeling well, follow the advice of your health professional – including some rest. It’s vital that we prioritise the health and safety of ourselves, family, friends and the community.
Yours in health, wellness and continued fitness
Clint Perrett: Evolve Run Club coach