As the world is facing one of its worst health crisis and countries and economies are navigating their way through this global pandemic, many of us are being forced to stay at home as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19. Governments globally have enforced prolonged lockdowns and people have had to adapt to the new normal of working from home, shopping from home, cooking at home and keep themselves entertained at home. Our lives have rapidly changed from having very little or no access to the outdoors. To add to this, fitness centres, gyms, swimming pools, running tracks, parks and other recreational places are also temporarily closed to the public, leading us to find other ways to stay active during such times.
While staying at home is of utmost importance right now, taking care of yourself is taking care of others too. Social distancing is the best possible way to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. But is this lockdown leading us to a rather unhealthy way of life? Staying at home makes us less active as most of us are spending hours on the couch, then being deskbound for the rest of the day. Multiple short trips from your bedroom to the kitchen is not ideally considered as exercise. This new sedentary way of life can pose a significant challenge for remaining physically active. Lower levels of physical activity can have negative effects on our health and well-being, whilst also impacting our mental health.
So what does it take to get out of bed, spend less time on the couch, make space for physical activity in your daily routine during these lockdown days? A little bit of self-motivation and willingness to improve your health and emotional well-being is our answer to bringing in some daily exercise at such times. Here are some easy ways to bring in that daily dose of activity in your life, without a fitness trainer, a visit to your gym or even a pair of dumbbells.
The internet, social media and radio are full of corona-related bad news, so are all of the television news channels. As a result, all of us are experiencing that feeling of impending doom and increased levels of anxiety. Not being able to get out, visit friends and family or go to the cinema can only make this feeling worse. An effective, tried-and-tested way to deal with such anxiety is to indulge in household chores. Amongst the many household chores, cleaning tops this list. According to a New York-based psychotherapist, cleaning provides us with a sense of control over our environment, which in turn can help ease our anxiety and stress. So Kill 2 birds with 1 stone and get cleaning. Cleaning your apartment for 30 minutes can help burn 150 calories or more. Tasks like washing dishes, dusting your room, vacuuming the floor, and cleaning the windows are nothing but quick cardio workouts by themselves. Scrubbing the bath can help you tone your arms and shoulder muscles, whereas ironing can strengthen your abs.
Moving around the house will keep you physically active and looking through a cleaner window will brighten up your day. So get off the couch, get cleaning and stay active and fit.
Let’s face it, not everything about being locked in at home is bad. You may want to look at this phase as a boon for your fitness routines, since now, more than ever you can make time for yourself. With the right attitude, this lockdown can double up as your personal at-home fitness camp, the one you could never attend because of a demanding job or other commitments in the past. You can be anywhere in the world and at any fitness level. All you need as an internet connection and presence on social media to boost your motivation.
Between the seven-minute workout challenge to a 40-day fitness and diet challenge, you have hundreds of fitness and exercise challenges floating around the internet and social media to choose from. Posting about your progress on social media can further enhance the experience as your friends and peers will motivate you to keep going. So take up one of those fitness challenges and make this lockdown your success story. Spread the positivity of fitness and good health between all the other bad news floating down our social feeds and timelines.
On an average, you may take 2000-5000 steps a day on a normal workday when working from the office, including the commute to and from work. Working from home may have reduced this by more than a half leading to lower physical activity. If your job is demanding and requires you to be staring at a computer screen all day, you may want to include short active breaks in your work-day. No matter how comfortable you are sitting at your work desk at home, your body requires some form of movement and activity, especially during the lockdown.
Taking short breaks to play with your children or pet, walking around the house or even standing for 5 min can help increase physical activity. Playing music and dancing can also lighten up your mood whilst making your body move.
If you are not into fitness or exercise but would still like to stay active, an easy way to change your lifestyle towards better health is to take short breaks and do quick 5 minute stretches and other exercises through the day. To stay active during the day, e WHO Europe has prepared a set of home-based exercises. Some of these include
Start with a warm-up. If you have a jumping rope, you can use it to warm up. Simple exercises like jumping jacks are also useful for warm-ups. Warm-up will increase your blood flow and will help you to be prepared for the workout session.
If you have a jumping rope or a pullup bar, you can use it to warm up. Simple exercises like jumping jacks or pull-ups can increase your blood flow and will help you to be active through the day.
Has the lockdown changed your food habits? You are not alone. As the lockdown and the new normal is adding to our stress, many of us are looking for easy ways to cope with snacking on unhealthy food. The one thing we all have struggled with is setting time boundaries between ending a workday and starting our me-time. With poor time management, comes poor diet habits. Not eating on time, prolonged intervals between meals, overdosing on coffee can all lead to poor diet and health concerns. Not to mention, the constant fridge grazing, snacking, and stockpiling treats will only make it worse. It’s easy to snack at your desk or finish your meal while watching TV and not really notice what or how much you’ve eaten. So it is important, now more than ever, that we shift focus to mindful eating habits. As a starting point, try reducing the number of distractions when you’re eating. Switching off from work, or pausing that Netflix show will make you bring your focus back to your diet when you are eating. And you'll be better at being able to recognize when you’re full.
While good hygiene practice and social distancing still remain the best means of avoiding the spread of COVID19, eating healthier will help you both physically and physiologically as you will feel better when your diet is rich in nutrients rather than cheese, or processed food.
There are enough apps on play store or the app store that can help your track your diet and constantly monitor what you eat. You can even include a cheat day for binge-watching that show and snacking on pizza when you know you’ve been eating healthy the rest of the week.
The best way to stay active during lockdown is to subscribe to a fitness program that makes you workout every day. It is even better if you have a fitness coach or peer joining you in your quest to staying active. YouTube, TV channels and social media are brimming with fitness enthusiasts sharing easy home workouts. A 30-minute online video can help you get going and start your fitness routine from home. If you’re a bit more motivated, you can even set up your own gym at home by investing in some of the best fitness equipment for your home. People around the world have started working out from home, building their own exercise corner, and sharing their progress online. A fitness app that tracks your activity guides you on the best exercises and monitors your diet and calorie intake is all you need to stay fit and active today. You can look for top fitness apps recommended to get you started and begin your journey towards a better you. Take the time to focus on your health, stay active and build your strength during this lockdown.
Along with fitness apps, you can also download apps such as Calm and Headspace to help you meditate and relax after a tiring day of work. Such apps can help you sleep better and increase positivity and add to your mental health.
In conclusion, whether you are a fitness junkie or someone who hasn’t had much exercise so far, it is extremely important to set aside some time now and follow these tips to bring in physical activity during quarantine days. Starting now can help change your lifestyle for the better and help make you stronger and healthier both physically as well as mentally. So don’t contemplate your next step, start with your fitness regimen today.