Staying Healthy During Lockdown
Well folks, it looks like the gyms are staying closed for the foreseeable future, so we need a new way to stay healthy at home. Now there are a million and one articles out there giving tips on this from personal trainers, fitness models, and various other people who are out of touch with the physical capabilities of you and me. As a man who enjoys carbs but also likes to be able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath, here are a few ways that I’ve found to stave off cardiac arrest over this particularly sedentary period.
I find the best way to make sure I don’t do absolutely nothing is to incorporate something into my morning and evening routine. I’m not talking an American Psycho style regime here, but what works for me is a few basic yoga poses to loosen up (Cat-Arch/Cow, Half-Pigeon, Bridge, whatever floats your boat), followed by some gentle exercises without getting a sweat on (planks, gentle squats, etc), because I know as soon as sweat is involved I have an excuse not to do it. So you’ve got a ready-made start and end to the day to warm up your muscles and metabolism a little bit.
We’re all at the point now where we’ve walked, jogged, cycled every possible route from our homes in and around the surrounding area and it’s getting somewhat (read: unbearably), repetitive. The only way that I can make doing the same thing over and over vaguely interesting is competing against myself and/or others. There’s a tonne of tracking apps available that I won’t list here, all of which allow you to track your time and see your progress – so why not try and set a PB every time your do the same route? Some apps even let you see your time over specific segments of the route (a notable hill perhaps) and compare it with other users. Having something to beat will soon make that leisurely afternoon ascent into a ferocious hill-climb!
If Pringles are in the cupboard, they’re gonna get eaten aren’t they? You know it, I know it. The answer is almost so obvious I feel patronising writing this paragraph, just don’t stock the stuff. Make sure your fruit bowl is full, and the snack cupboard is bare (or I’m sure you can find some healthy alternatives… like an egg? I don’t know). Sitting around at home all day is a guaranteed formula for snacking, so prepping in advance is your best bet to save yourself from your hungry self!
The best way to combat sitting on your bum all day, is to not sit on your bum all day. Now this may not have been the cutting insight you came here for but it is a timely reminder if that’s what you’re doing. Standing up just to stretch, walk around the house, get a bit of fresh air, for 5/10 minutes every hour or so will do you the world of good. It may not feel like much but it keeps your body moving and does good things under the surface, helping to improve your circulation.
Mental Health Matters Too
Physical health is, as our American cousins would say, hella important – but so is looking after our mental health. Being penned up only seeing the same couple of people (if you’re that lucky) is causing havoc to brain chemistry across the country so don’t forget that side. Exercise helps mental health a huge amount, but beyond that there’s a couple of things you can do. First off, take some time every day just for yourself – call it meditating, mindfulness, yoga, whatever – just to be alone with your thoughts and try and understand where your head is at. Once you know that, you can start to have a bit more control over where it’s going. If you want to take it further, there’s plenty of apps and youtube channels out there with guided audio which can be particularly good for beginners! Lastly, the easiest thing (that if you’re like me, you’re probably already doing), is sleeping plenty. We all have different sleep needs so just try and form a habit around when you naturally start to feel tired and when you naturally wake up. Let your body clock be your guide and a good night’s kip will have you at your best to face another day!
Please look after yourselves people. It’s easy to get into bad routines while we’re stuck at home, but it won’t last forever and we may even get a chance to get to the beach later in the summer – so keep your body ready to burn and your mind ready to be hazed! If you’re not a gym freak, hopefully the above pointers will help you stay active enough to fit back into your old jeans and stop you from having arguments with all your flatmates and/or family 😊 Happy Lockdown!