How to stay fit and active at home during the coronavirus crisis
(How to stay healthy in body and mind)
The extensive social distancing policies put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 mean most people will have to spend much, if not all, their time at home.
Self-isolation means far fewer opportunities to be physically active if you are used to walking or cycling for transportation and doing leisure time sports.
But equally worryingly, the home environment also offers abundant opportunity to be sedentary (sitting or reclining).
While self-isolation measures are necessary, our bodies and minds still need exercise to function well, prevent weight gain and keep the spirits up during these challenging times.
Exercise can help keep our immune system become strong,less susceptible to infections and their most severe consequences, and better able to recover from them.
Even before the restrictive conditions were announced, physical inactivity cost 5.3 Million lives a year globally.
So we should consider ways to limit the effects of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as its wider impact of contributing to the long-term chronic disease crisis.
With the current coronavirus crisis, it’s important we all restrict our movements as much as possible.
But it’s also crucial to mind our mental health, and a key component of this is exercise and fresh air.
Whether you’re in complete self-isolation at home, or just restricting your movements, it’s still possible to keep fit on a daily basis.
So far, Ireland’s restrictions are not as limiting as in other countries, which means you can still venture outdoors – provided you’re not in self-isolation due to yours or someone else’s symptoms. So long as you stay within 2km of your home.
Exercise solo where possible, and maintain least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and all other people.
Provided you follow the rules we’ve been given, here are some great ways you can still exercise while the gyms are shut and classes are cancelled.
Online exercise classes / videos
Lots of people will be missing their weekly classes and gym sessions right now, but remember that you can still bring one into your home
Please go to our Facebook page, Lifegym1, to see various video workouts that you can do with little or no equipment
You’d be surprised at the amount of great bodyweight exercises and workouts you can do at home with no equipment
If you’re not self-isolating, feeling healthy and not in contact with anyone showing symptoms, great news: You can still get out for a run, walk or a cycle within 2km of your house or apartment.
Ideally plan your route so you are hitting quiet areas and green spaces. Small residential roads are typically better than large main ones. Lap up the fresh air and get some good tunes going!
Okay, so maybe you’re not much of a runner. Plenty of us aren’t. A brisk walk can still do your mind and body the power of good too, so try to get out for 40 minutes if you’re not currently self-isolating. You will feel the better of it.
Cycling is the perfect way to exercise at the moment if you’re not completely stuck indoors. If the kids are starting to climb the walls, bring them along too to burn off some of that endless energy they always have. But stay within your area.
Any exercise that you enjoy is good, even skipping, dancing or doing more cleaning or DIY
Whether you’re living with your family or housemates, a kickabout can be a great way to relieve stress and have fun. Makeshift goalposts and penalty shootouts are the perfect way to forget your worries and cares for a few hours.
If you don’t have a garden or a driveway, go for a walk and find a quiet green space (provided you’re not self-isolating). There’s never been a better time to perfect a chip shot.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, driveway or backyard be sure to make the most of it.
Give them the play time they’ve always wanted
Social-distancing is a good opportunity to bond more with the little two and four legged members of your family through active play. Both children and dogs will love you replacing some of your online media and sitting time with playing in and around the house with them.
Dogs thrive on human attention and, given the opportunity, they would keep you on your feet 24/7. Take advantage of the extra time you will be in and around the house.
No matter how young or old your children are, there are many fun activities you can do together indoors and in the garden.
Don’t just sit there in front of the screen. Let your pets or children take you away from that screen for some exercise play.
How much physical activity?
Global recommendations are to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
Any activity is better than none, and more activity provides more physical and mental health benefits.
Sitting, standing and movement
Take frequent breaks from continuous sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone every 20 to 30 minutes.
For example, you could take a few minutes break to walk around the house, take some fresh air on the balcony, in the garden or yard, or play with your dog for a few moments.
Alternate periods of standing while working/studying with sitting by creating your own stand-up desk area.
Just do something!
Left unattended, the self-isolation imposed by COVID-19 will likely skyrocket sedentary time and will drastically reduce the physical activity levels for many. Our suggestions are only a few examples of ideas that need no special equipment and can be done within limited space.
The end goal during self-isolation is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness.
For further advice or guidelines including how to do a home workout, please contact us by phone or email