Left to our own devices, away from our usual routines that help us stay on track, it could be easy to let our exercise regimes fall and for our moods to plumment as consequence. There are a number of things you can do to keep yourself healthy in body and in mind during a lockdown, and here are some of ours to help you come out the other side feeling fit, strong and ready to pick up where you left off.
Keep a routine- Whether you’re looking to maintain an exercise regime or just stay motivated from one day to the next, as your own four walls start to make you feel a bit stir crazy, many people find that it helps to have a set routine. The proportions the day into bite-sized chunks and allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you tick off the day’s tasks.
Healthy food choices- With all the panic buying still going on, you may feel like you just have to buy what is left on the shelves and hope for the best. However, even if you have to be a bit inventive and scour smaller shops that are not taking the panic-buying hit that the bigger shops are, you will still be able to shop healthily during a lockdown. A balanced diet, with plenty of vitamin C, will boost your immune system and give you more energy. If you love a bit of chocolate or a few crisps now and again, have a treat or two in the cupboard to act as a much-needed pick-me-up when you really want it.
Take your class online- If you have been used to travelling to the gym, yoga studio or village hall, you may now find yourself standing in your own living room and watching your teacher on a screen. It may not be the quite same and it may prove more difficult for your instructor to help you if you are struggling to get a particular exercise right, but it is worth persevering, as you will be supporting your instructor and helping them to maintain cash-flow during this difficult time. You will also find it easier to stick to your exercise regime if you have paid for a class and made a commitment to be online for it at a certain time.
Keep it simple- Don’t feel tempted to start something new that requires expert tuition and a well-honed technique before you can do it properly. It may seem like you have all the time in the world to set up your own pole in the living room and practice regularly to become a proficient pole dancer. However, to avoid injury and losing motivation when it turns out to be way harder than it looks, stick to simple, effective exercises that don’t require too much kit. Also, steer clear of working any problem areas too hard. If you have a notoriously bad right knee or a weak ankle, exercising these areas hard without the benefit of an instructor to tell you whether you are doing the movements correctly could lead to injury, which at best will put you out of action for a few weeks and at worst could land you in hospital, which is definitely the last place you want to be at the moment!
Use your imagination- Just because you no longer have the selection of equipment available at the gym or class at your disposal does not mean you have to spend your savings creating a home gym. Get creative with substitutions, using a sturdy chair or bed frame for tricep dips or substituting dumbbells with canned food. It may feel like this lockdown is going to last forever, but it won’t and we’ll have access to all the kit we need again in a few months’ time.
Stay safe- Current guidelines allow for us to go off for a solitary cycle ride or jog in the great outdoors, provided everyone in our household feels fit and well (no new, continuous cough or fever) and we are able to maintain social distancing guidelines. If you have been used to training with friends, make sure you take new measures to ensure your safety.
- Wear extra high viz, as a lone runner or cyclist is more difficult for a driver to spot than a group.
- Tell someone at home where you are going and when you expect to be back and ask them to come looking for you or raise the alarm if you fail to return.
- If you aren’t in the habit of doing so already, start taking your mobile with you when you go out. There are fewer people out on the road as a result of the lockdown and you may need to summon your own help if an accident occurs.
Take a bit of you time- Staying healthy isn’t just about eating right and maintaining an exercise regime, it is also about staying mentally healthy too. If you are in isolation with your family, it is easy to spend the day making sure they are happy, well-fed and adequately entertained, but don’t forget to take a bit of time for you. Do a quick meditation or yoga routine while the kids are watching TV or maybe just go into the garden and have a quick scream and take a few deep breaths to relieve some stress!
Don’t drown your sorrows- There have been times, listening to the increasingly restrictive measures coming out of Downing Street, when the thought of making it all go away – even if only temporarily – with a few stiff gin and tonics has seemed far too tempting. The problem is that if you aren’t in a positive frame of mind when you start drinking, you are not going to be when you stop, no matter how many you have. So, enjoy a glass of wine now and again (we aren’t animals we don’t propose total abstinence, unless that is what you really want to do) but don’t drink the entire bottle to try and make it all go away.
Social media- social media can be ugly; it is a place where inaccurate information is shared as fact, where panicking goes viral and where nastiness can get out of hand. Be aware of this and be strict with the way you use it. Check in on friends, send messages of reassurance and solidarity, but don’t take everything you see as the truth without looking to corroborate it elsewhere and don’t allow fear or anger to draw you into online arguments. Also limit your time spent on social media- don’t live in your phone.
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