Every day, our routines offer us a certain level of activity, whether that’s walking to work, taking the kids to school or even doing the tea round a few times a day.
Many of us add in our own exercise on top of that, heading to fitness classes or hitting the gym. And while the idea of cutting the commute, chilling out and working on the sofa might be appealing for the first few days (hello pj day!), we all know that becoming more sedentary is not the best for our physical or mental wellbeing in the long run.
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First of all, it’s important to build movement breaks into your day. While in the office you might get up to walk to a meeting or make a cuppa, at home it’s very easy to find yourself staying in one place for hours at a time while you get your work done.
Research suggests that getting up and moving around for a couple of minutes every 30 to 60 minutes could help to limit the harmful effects of inactivity on the body, as well as increasing alertness and productivity.
This movement could be something as simple as standing up, having a stretch and walking around the room, but I’d recommend adding an element of fun by taking a dance break, or timing yourself to see how quickly you can do ten squats or star jumps.
A break midway through the day can also help when it comes to energising body and mind.
At the moment, activities done alone such as riding a bike or going for a walk are still encouraged, and they’re the perfect way of getting a change of scenery.
These types of exercises are what we call LISS cardio – Low Intensity Steady State – which is great for raising the heart rate and increasing blood flow round the body.
Twenty to 30 minutes is ideal for reaping the rewards from this kind of activity, which still leaves you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your lunch before heading back to the laptop.
Finally, let’s chat workouts. If your gym or studio is currently closed, check to see if they have any online offerings at the moment – many are currently providing streaming services or workout videos that can be accessed at home.
Not everyone has equipment, so a lot of them use bodyweight exercises to get those muscles working, but you can always make the workouts more challenging by adding your own weights – get creative and use cans of beans or a heavy book if you don’t have kettlebells hiding in your cupboard somewhere!
Try to make a home workout schedule that’s similar to what you were doing previously. If this is the first fitness you’ve done in a while, build up slowly – start with one or two sessions a week, then add more in until you’ve found a schedule that suits you and your body.
Motivation might be a little tougher at home, so see if you can involve other members of your family, or Skype with a friend as you both do the workout. Some gyms, like ours, are also encouraging members to get involved on social media to build a digital community and inspire each other.
Even if we’re self-isolating, we don’t have to feel alone, and can still enjoy all the good feels that come from moving our bodies.
Main photo of Jess Brown by JMP