With gyms, sports and all group activities cancelled, read our top tips on how to stay active during lockdown.
Sport and exercise have amazing benefits, both physically and mentally. Whether you exercise for health benefits, for how you look or how you feel mentally, having your normal exercise or sporting activities cancelled can be a real blow to your normal daily routine.
Plus, if you’re worried about weight gain during lockdown then you’re not alone! You’re just a few metres away from the fridge, add a little boredom into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a weight gain disaster.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have a choice. At the end of the lockdown, you can come out of it fitter or fatter – it all depends on you.
Whether you are fussed about your weight or not, when you’re not regularly active, both your mental and physical health can start to suffer.
Exercise and movement can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. These are the happy hormones that lift your mood and help protect you from depression and anxiety. Being regularly active is also important for a healthy immune system, good cardiovascular health and muscular-skeletal function. Stay still for too long and you’ll soon start to feel it in your body and your mind!
How to stay active during lockdown
So how can you stay active when you’re stuck at home? It’s not as hard as you might think…
1: Get Up & Move Often
If you’re working from home, or even just watching TV, be sure to get up and move around every couple of hours. Leave your desk or sofa for a few minutes and walk around your house. Go up and down the stairs a few times or take a wander around your garden to get the blood flowing again. It will help free up stiff joints and muscles, refresh your brain and it could help protect you from weight gain during lockdown.
2: Have a Scheduled Workout Time
It’s easy to think that there’s no need to be strict with your workout time because – let’s face it – time is something we have a lot of right now! But just because you have the time to exercise doesn’t mean you’ll have the inclination. By setting specific days and times for your workouts you’ll not only be much more likely to actually do them, but you’ll give your blur of a week a little structure too.
3: Get Out For Your Daily Exercise Session
As it stands right now, the Government says we are allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise. You can take a gentle walk, head out for a bike ride or even go for a run. These are all great ways to stay active and prevent weight gain during lockdown! Now, I know you might not be a big fan of this type of exercise but it’s important to get out of the house and get some fresh air into your lungs while you can!
4: Clean & Tidy Your Home
Being physically active doesn’t just have to be about exercise or sport. All kinds of movement and activity counts. You’d be amazed at just how physical basic chores like housework can be!
Activities in and outside your home such as tidying and cleaning the house, cleaning your car and gardening will have you walking, moving, bending, lifting and stretching. Mopping the floors or mowing the lawn is super physical too. So get your gloves on and start scrubbing! A clean, tidy environment can help improve your mood too!
5: Include Different Types of Movement In Your Plan
The key to staying active is to incorporate multiple types of movement into your new ‘normal’ weekly routine. There’s no shortage of online workout videos, programmes and plans. Try to find a combination of cardio, strength and flexibility workouts that suit you.
Here are some of my favourites ways Apps or YouTube channels that for you to check out:
- T25 – A complete programme of 25 minute HIIT workout videos designed to give you a full-body workout. You can get it along with more than 90 other programmes as part of Beach Body On Demand.
- PE With Joe Wicks – Free 30 minute workouts uploaded to YouTube every day. These were intended for kids, to help keep them active during school closures but they’re actually pretty great for mums and dads too!
- Dance FitSugar – If you hate cardio but love to dance then this YouTube playlist is for you. Free, fun and varied dance cardio classes from salsa to Bollywood.
- Trifecta Pilates – Pilates is ideal for building strength and toning muscles, especially if you need a more gentle approach to exercising. This YouTube channel has tons of fab 30-minute Pilates workouts to do from home.
- Pamela Reif – Looking for short, sharp strength and muscle building exercises that you can fit in around your day? Then this YouTube playlist is for you. Bodyweight exercises so no equipment needed.
- Bodyfit By Amy Kettlebells – If you’ve got a set of kettlebells at home then it’s time to drag them out from under the bed, dust them off and put them to good use. This playlist has more than 45 workouts to choose from, all suitable for doing at home.
- Downdog – This app allows you to create a bespoke yoga workout by selecting the style, length and types of yoga poses you want to include. It usually has a free and paid version, but during lockdown they’ve made it completely free.
- Sarah Beth Yoga – A YouTube channel packed full of yoga workouts all for specific purposes. Feeling tight in your lower back? There’s a video for that. Want to improve your hamstring flexibility? There’s one for that too.
- The Lean Machines – Not a fan of yoga? Then try something a little different. This flexibility YouTube playlist will help improve your mobility and increase your flexibility – and there’s not a shavasana in sight.
So if you were wondering how to stay active during lockdown, I hope this has helped. You can see there’s plenty of ways to stay active. Exercising will keep you fit and healthy, it helps to improve your mood, protect your mental health and keep your weight down – so get moving and see how good it feels!
If you’ve found a really great home workout programme that’s helping you avoid weight gain during lockdown I’d love to hear about it!