COVID-19: How to make the most of the lockdown
Monday, April 27, 2020. Author Geraldine Campbell
Monday, April 27, 2020. Author Geraldine Campbell
The restrictions placed on many of us during the current COVID-19 pandemic have seen our usual day-to-day routines become disrupted: no access to a gym or sports clubs, working from home in sometimes non-ideal environments, and having access to the fridge more often!
This loss of routine can significantly alter our behaviours, which can negatively affect our ability to work towards and fulfil our personal health and fitness goals. For example, you may usually pack a gym bag before going to bed, so you’re ready to hit the gym the following morning before work. Now that you no longer have to leave the house to get to work, you stop packing your gym equipment, skip your workout altogether, and get that extra shut eye instead.
You may also find that, despite actually having more time to work on certain goals, your motivation levels drop during lockdown, perhaps due to negative emotional states (stress, boredom etc).
While we may need to adapt some aspects of our diet, exercise and lifestyle, lockdown doesn’t mean we have to abandon our fitness goals completely.
Here’s some tips on how to utilise this lockdown time more effectively to make progress towards some of your personal goals.
Our fast-paced lifestyles usually make it is easy to opt for quick, grab-and-go foods over spending time at home cooking. Now that most restaurants are closed during lockdown, however, you may have more time to spend preparing and cooking meals.
Not only can you keep your meals exciting by experimenting with new recipes, you can also ensure they are healthy and contain the correct quantities of nutrients for your health and fitness goals.
Here are some great recipes you could try:
Alongside taking time to prepare your meals, look to eat your meals in the right environment. Try switching off the TV or your phone and taking time to sit at a table (if possible) and really relish your meal. This will not only help you enjoy it more, but it can also help prevent overconsumption.
Whether it is your garden or your living room, find a space in which you know you have enough room to complete your workouts. Keep all your equipment there too, so that everything that you need can be easily found.
Try and keep up a schedule of workouts for each week, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are just not feeling that HIIT session; taking time to rest and recuperate is still important.
If you’re looking for new home-based workouts, our Get Fit plans are perfect as they can be done either using just your body weight or with free weights. Remember, even household items such as bottles of juice, bags of flour or a bucket filled can be used to add weight to your exercises!
Not everyone has the luxury of a garden, especially in some of the major cities around the world, so it is really important to use your allotted time to try and get outside (here in the UK it is once per day).
Not only does it help you escape the clutches of your home’s four walls, it provides plenty more benefits, including:
Vitamin D – exposure to sunlight is an important source of Vitamin D. As last week’s blog explained, vitamin D is important for supporting your immune system. It also plays other key roles in your body such as facilitating the absorption of calcium (which is important for bone health), enhancing cognition, and preventing muscle weakness.
Mental health benefits – there is plenty of research showing that outdoor exercise provides more positive impacts on your mental health than indoor exercise. People who exercise outdoors, immersed in nature, feel more revitalized, have higher energy levels, and lower levels of tension, confusion, and anger compared to those exercising indoors.
Physical health benefits – if you use your time outside for cardio exercise (e.g. a run or cycle), then you’ll boost your cardiovascular health, strengthen your bones and joints, and improve your metabolic health (e.g. insulin sensitivity and body fat levels).
One of the main excuses for not doing things is a ‘lack of time.’ For many of us, this excuse is less applicable as it used to be (although shout out to all those people, who, juggling kids, home schooling, working, and everything else, can still use this excuse at times!).
Now may be the perfect opportunity to try doing those things you’ve always been meaning to get around to. This might be something creative like painting or learning to sew; or it might be something like learning a new language or trying a new form of exercise like yoga.
Whatever it is, you can take advantage of this prolonged time at home, as well as the fewer distractions from other activities, and start working on new hobbies. This will help build new connections in your brain, increasing your cognitive health as well as being something to keep you motivated!
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