Now we are well into the second lockdown, how are you feeling? If you are struggling with both your mental and physical health during lockdown then you are not alone.
While most of us have good intentions to keep active and eat well whilst spending more time indoors, during lockdown we can quickly become demotivated and stressed, which can lead to a reduction of activity levels and overeating.
With everything that is currently going on in the world, eating a bit more and moving less than usual may not be something you think you should be overly concerned about at this particular moment . However, it IS important to try and stay as healthy as possible for a number of reasons. Putting the increased impact of Covid-19 on certain health conditions to one side, why should we make an effort to move and watch what we eat?
Well, the extra weight we may put on can have a significant impact on our posture and joints. If you are working from home for extended hours, your poor posture is probably already taking a beating whilst sitting at your laptop for hours. Something I am certainly guilty of myself at times.
That extra weight can also potentially increase the risk of other more serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. Add that to moving less and our cardiovascular fitness starts to suffer. Feeling unfit and sluggish with those extra pounds can also affect our mood and mental well being. Once we are feeling mentally low it can be a hard circle to break in the long-term.
So what can we do to help counteract this during lockdown? Whilst the gyms are shut we can still get active at home using a small amount of space and no equipment. Think bodyweight exercises, or adapting items at home to use as light weights (not the other half, they won’t like that). Get out in the garden to exercise if you have one to give yourself more space (and the neighbours a good laugh). If you’re in a flat, using the communal stairs as an adapted ‘step’ to exercise on is a great way to get the heart rate up.
Got access to outside space? Couch to 5K is a good starting point if you want to start running. If like me you are hopeless at running, you can also go for a more gentle Low Intensity Steady State (LISS – more on this later!) session such as a brisk walk or gentle bike ride for an hour or more. It all counts. Exercising outside can improve our mental well being, so being outside can help lift your mood as well as getting you away from the desk for a break.
Remember, you do not have to do a 60 minute HIIT class to make some physical and mental health improvements if you are currently sedentary. Split exercise into smaller sessions such as three 10 minute sections throughout the day to get started with if a full 30 minutes is too tough, or you just have limited time to exercise.
Need help putting together a programme whilst on lockdown? I’m here to help and have a number of programmes to suit all levels of fitness and experience.
Stay fit and healthy!
Fit for Longer