Many of us are suddenly at home and out of our routine. It’s important that we find ways to keep physically active during this time, as exercise is an excellent way to help keep both your body and mind in shape.
Physical activity releases endorphins in our body, which work to reduce stress and make us feel good. Other benefits of physical activity include:
- Prevent unhealthy weight gain and assist with weight loss.
- Build strong muscles and bones.
- Help to prevent and manage mental health challenges.
- Help to develop and maintain overall physical and mental wellbeing.
The key thing to remember is to keep moving. Anything is better than nothing!
Outdoor exercise can still be enjoyed by carrying out activities such as walking the dog, going for a run or riding a bike so long as you’re feeling well and on your own, or with members of your household.
Follow government advice, keep 1.5m distance from others and practice good hand hygiene.
Routines and rituals
In these times of uncertainty, it is good to build strong routines and rituals that help keep a sense of normalcy.
- Keep connected – do you have a regular walking or exercise partner, why not book a time to exercise online together or talk on the phone while you walk?
- Have a routine and stick to a schedule – get up and go to bed at the same time each day, build in a lunch break and switch off and put away work at the end of the day
- Build physical activity into your day – schedule a walk or run into your day and put it in your calendar. Treat it like any other meeting and stick to it.
- Move throughout the day – set an alarm each hour as a reminder to get up and move, do a dance, have a stretch, hang the washing out.
Your home as gym
You may no longer have access to your local gym, but that’s no barrier – you can create your own at home. Online ordering is still available for home gym equipment, but you don't need purpose-built equipment to do a good work out, there’s lots of things at home you can use to create your own gym.
- Bodyweight exercises – strength-based exercises that use your own body weight as resistance, such as lunges, squats, a plank.
- Stairs can be used to improve cardio fitness – walking up and down a few times in a row will get your heart rate up.
- Cans of food make great hand weights for bicep curls and overhead shoulder presses. You can add a heavy book to your core workout.
- A chair is a great prop for upper and lower body workouts – triceps dips, push ups, step ups, sit to stand and squat hovers.
Online resources to help you keep active
There are plenty of free resources out there to help keep you active in a variety of ways.
Always wanted to learn to tango? There’s a class for that. Need to get the heart rate up with a HIIT class? There’s a class for that. Want to find some zen in your day? There’s a class for that too!
Below is a list that gives you a starting point for finding activity that’s right for you:
- Exercise Right at Home – a great place to start for home workouts, bodyweight exercises and to connect to exercise professionals offering telehealth.
- Move My Way – a physical activity program that gives you the option to choose when and where you move. Move My Way is low intensity and is designed to prepare your body for more challenging physical activity.
- PE with Joe – free daily 30 minute PE classes with Joe Wicks.
- Down Dog – a studio-like yoga experience at home. All apps by Down dog are completely free until 1 May including Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout.
- Yoga with Adrienne – free yoga with a variety of options and classes.
- Yoga Sidsel – free yoga with a variety of options and classes.
- Pop Sugar Fitness – free fitness tutorials, workouts, and exercises
- Planet Fitness – at-home 20 minuteworkouts for anyone and everyone via Facebook.
And finally, it’s important to exercise safely, listen to your body and don’t push through pain or discomfort. Be mindful of starting slowly and in small amounts, there’s plenty of time to gradually build your strength and endurance. If you feel unsure, then try booking a telehealth session with your GP, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for advice.