The extreme social-distancing policies which are being followed around the world to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean most gyms and recreation centres are closed, and most of our time will be spent in our homes. Proving fewer opportunities to be physically active and increased opportunity for sedentary (sitting) activity.
Although these measures are necessary to follow, our bodies still need exercise to function during these stressful times. Regular exercise helps the immune system to strengthen, be less immune to infections, and even recover from them.
Keeping fit at home
Here are some ways to implement fitness and focus on your health during this pandemic:
- When it comes to preventing diseases, physical activity and health play important roles. Sedentary activity and decreased levels of physical activity can have extensive negative effects, so ensuring we are focusing on getting in regular workouts and walks is essential, even whilst being confined to your own home.
- Nutrition is also essential for optimal health, staying hydrated and eating healthy will benefit all kinds of areas of your well-being. Food planning should be implemented into your lifestyle for at least one meal a day to help stay accountable for what you are in-taking.
- The idea of self-quarantine can add to stress and affect the mental health of individuals, in which relaxation techniques (such as meditation, grounding exercises & deep breaths) will be a valuable area to engage with to help you remain calm and protect your health.
- Online exercise classes/programmes are also available, many are free and don’t require you to use vast amounts of equipment. However, if you have no experience doing particular exercises, be aware of your own limitations.
At home exercises
Ideas for home-based exercises that do not require equipment (I would recommend aiming for at least 3 sessions a week involving 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions, ensuring to take a 30-60 second rest between each set):
1. Plank: Hold your forearms firmly on the ground with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Hips need to be the same level as your head so come up onto your tippy toes and hold that pose for 20-30 seconds. This exercise will help to strengthen your core, arms and legs.
2. Squats: Standing with your feet at hip distance and toes pointed forward, bend your knees until you reach a 90 degree angle (or as feels comfortable), keeping your heels on the ground and your knees just over the feet, then come back up into a stretch & repeat. This exercise will help to strengthen your legs and glutes.
3. Bridge: Have your feet firmly on the ground with your knees over your heels, lift your hips as high as possible from this position and slowly lower them again. This exercise will help to strengthen your glutes.
4. Tricep dips: Hold onto either a chair or some stairs with your feet 30cm away and chest facing upwards, bend your arms as you lower your body to the ground then extend your arms back up again. This exercise will help to strengthen your triceps.
5. Seated meditation: Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed (or on a chair if this position is difficult), make sure your back is straight. Slowly relax your body by closing your eyes, start taking deep breaths, concentrate on the rhythm of these and try to push away any thoughts that come to mind. Stay in this position for up to 10 minutes to help clear your mind.
Any physical activity is better than none and our end goal during isolation will be to prevent long-term physical and mental health issues by moving as much as possible and aiming to maintain our healthy eating habits. Stay safe and keep those bodies moving ladies – and please, if you are not feeling well, follow advice from your health professional – it is vital that we prioritise the health and safety of not only ourselves but our family, friends and the wider community.