Lockdown life. How’s yours been?
With so many of us working from home and being unable to get to the gym, the past few months in lockdown have definitely been a challenge in terms of our everyday fitness levels and generally keeping healthy.
Netflix has beckoned, lockdown BBQs have taken precedence and don’t get me started on the amount of banana bread that has been baked and consumed…
Whilst it’s been tough to say no to all the yummy goodies, you may also be surprised about the general public’s overall level of fitness during the pandemic. In fact, Nuffield Health recently released some data which showed that over half of Brits have taken up a new form of exercise during lockdown, with many determined to continue after lockdown ends. This survey demonstrates that Brits are indeed making a real concerted effort to look after their physical and mental health during lockdown. It also demonstrates that fitness doesn’t need to be about bench pressing heavy weights, flipping tyres in a gruelling CrossFit session or running a half marathon. Lockdown has seen so many people simply getting out in the garden, taking daily walks and getting on their bikes, which is great to see. Many are also turning to home workouts online too and testing out new virtual classes in their living rooms.
And actually, working out at home really is far easier than one might think, and totally possible to commit to long term if you stick to a few simple rules. Take a read of my below tips to find out how you can stay healthy and active whilst working out at home:
Structure your workout
Make sure you put a set time in your diary to do your fitness and try to create some form of consistency throughout the week. For instance, why not get up, answer some emails, grab a coffee and then do your home workout whilst you would have otherwise been commuting and still make your 9am Zoom team meeting. The key here is getting into some form of routine and sticking to it. Alternatively use your lunch hour or what would have been your afternoon commute to do a session. Whatever time you pick, it’s vital you treat your home workout in just the same way you would a gym class; set a time to do it and stick to it.
Find your space
It’s vital to find somewhere that becomes your regular workout space. Setting aside a set space will allow you associate that area with working out and ensure that your equipment (tins of beans, a chair, your mat etc) is always close at hand. Preparation is key here.
Now I’m sure many of you are also juggling home schooling, looking after kids too and trying to do your day job and I do totally feel your pain here. I appreciate that much of the time it might feel like there are not enough hours in the day. The key here is quality over quantity. It’s much better to do five press-ups well and with good form, than it is to do 20 half-hearted ones. You could also try shorter, more intensive workouts if you are short on time, rather than doing an hour-long Pilates session. Similarly, if you can, and if they’re willing, try to encourage the kids to join in too. Where possible make it fun and enjoy having a good giggle at one another. If you have a baby or toddler then swap your dumbbells and pick up your baby instead, hover over your little one in a plank, squat with them in your arms and dance around your living room with them. The extra weight will really challenge you and they will adore it.
It’s vitally important you find a workout that you like doing. There is simply no point doing a daily workout if you don’t enjoy it. You’ll only give up after a while. Try out a few different types of workout from longer bodyweight sessions, to short HIIT classes, or Pilates and stretching to find out what you enjoy doing. Mixing it up is also really great, not only does it keep your muscles guessing, but it will ensure you never get bored.
Healthy body, healthy mind
As we all know, a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. It’s fair to say that many people love gym-based classes for the social side. Having a chat and gaining support from others is often a big driver behind keeping people motivated and on track. Just because you’re working out from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on community spirit. Working out with a friend online at the same time or joining an online workout programme that has a community of like-minded people can be really beneficial as it feels like you’re all in it together. These are places where you can interact with other community members, make friends, share stories, ask questions and build a support network. This community will become your biggest cheerleader too which will no doubt spur you on even more and hopefully help towards a better positive mental attitude and reduce any feelings of loneliness.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, nourish your body both inside and out. One of my mantras is that ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not on the gym mat’. Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up, or gain weight and build muscle mass, the best results are always achieved when you couple your home workouts with a great nutrition plan that is geared towards that goal. Understanding and sticking to the correct calorie consumption and macronutrient split for your personal goal is key to success.
Don’t let working from home and lockdown life put a dampener on your fitness goals. You can indeed, not only stay on top of being healthy and active whilst working from home, but in actual fact you can also improve on your fitness levels too. So why not give it a try.
About the author
Anna Cousins is a Level 4 Personal Trainer and Nutrition and Weight Management Coach. She is passionate about helping people discover a completely unique way of getting results, learning new skills and achieving small and big wins.
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