Lock down. Home Bound. Stuck. For many of us, life looks completely different to how it was just a few weeks ago. Home working or furloughed, being sat on a sofa isn’t exactly brilliant for our health. It’s hard too – Surrounded by creature comforts, unending visual entertainment, apps, food and drink, we can all be forgiven for taking a little time to relax and indulge in the face of stress.
But what happens if we’re at home for weeks, months even? What price will we pay for overindulging?
It’s important we do what we can to replace or improve body movement or face an inevitable dip both in mental and physical health. In short, doing nothing for a sustained period of time will make us sad, fat and prone to new health concerns.
We asked our colleague and former Manager of Beth Tweddle Gymnastics, Lauren Caldwell, what 5 things we can do to stay fit at home and make the most of our daily exercise allowance. Here’s what she had to say:
Couch to 5K
Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking that gradually builds up your fitness and stamina. You can follow the programme through a podcast that talks you through each run as you go, or use their clever app that tracks your progress, coaches you through each run and allows you to listen to your own music while you do it.
Already a major hit in the UK, the Couch to 5K plan involves 3 runs a week, with a rest day in between and different schedule for each of the 9 weeks. It’s a really good place to start if you’re not used to running and want to make the most of getting outside once a day!
NOTE: Remember to maintain social distancing rules when outside.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
This type of training can be done with little to no equipment and you only need a small space – ideal for a lockdown!
HIIT is a cardio session split into short bursts of focused hard work. The simple idea of high-intensity training is to raise the intensity of your cardio.
The great thing about HIIT is that it will only take up a small amount of your time, just 30 minutes max. It is recommended to have a day’s rest in between each HIIT workout to avoid overtraining which can result in injury.
There are hundreds of personal trainers on Instagram and YouTube posting HIIT workouts that you can try. Take a look!
Zumba is a well-known fitness program that combines Latin and international music with dance moves aimed at improving cardiovascular fitness. This is seriously fun and wonderfully entertaining. If you’re into dance – and even if you’re not – you will have a lot of fun with Zumba. You’ll find vast libraries of Zumba instruction videos on YouTube and other streaming sites, so find one for beginners and give it a try!
If you’re looking to add a bit of zen to your social distancing, yoga is a great way to reduce stress and calm the nervous system while improving flexibility and helping to maintain a balanced metabolism.
The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment. Yoga claims to offer a complete system of physical, mental, social, and spiritual development.
Again, there are loads of video tutorials online to suit your ability, from beginners to advanced. If you can, you should use a yoga mat (or something similar) to avoid any carpet burns. If you have one, you could use a camping mat instead!
10K Step Challenge
Fun fact: The idea that humans must take 10,000 steps a day came from a marketing campaign.
In 1965, a Japanese company chose to name their pedometer ‘the 10,000-step meter’. It’s widely believed this name was chosen because the Japanese character for 10,000 (万) looks sort of like a man walking. There was no science behind it, just a great gimmick.
That being said, it is still true that taking 10,000 steps a day will help you burn an extra 2,000-3,500 calories per week. To put that into perspective, 1 lb of fat equates to around 3500 calories so this could be a good way to help keep the weight off whilst we are under these Covid-19 restrictions!
10K sounds like a lot, but you’d be amazed at how many steps you will clock up in a short space of time – even just walking around your house while you’re on the phone will make a dent in that total. You can use your phone to track your steps, and there are number of fitness trackers you can buy online for relatively little money. We wouldn’t recommend manually tracking your steps though; you mind find it somewhat stressful! 1…2…3…4…
So, there you go. 5 ways to stay fit, have fun and keep occupied at home. When you’re done, by all means, fire up Netflix and melt back into your sofa… mmm boxsets…