Here in the UK, we are 10 weeks into lockdown. Research shows that staying active and regular exercise is beneficial to health in so many ways. It reduces the risk of high blood pressure, helps lower cholesterol, regulates blood sugar levels, improves stamina and strength. Exercise can also improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves, and do whatever we can to stay motivated, safe and healthy. In this blog, I offer some of my top tips to help you stay active.
1. Set a health goal
Aim to make your health goal SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Examples are: ‘I want to be able to jog 2 km without stopping in 1 month.’ or ‘I plan to workout 3 times a week, 30 minutes each time.’ or ‘I aim to walk 8000-10000 steps everyday this week.’
Setting a goal gives you something to work towards and offers a sense of accomplishment once you achieve it. This will also keep your body and mind active.
2. Stay active at home
The ways to stay active at home are endless: housework, cleaning, gardening, walk up and down the stairs, dance to music. If you can, create a workout space at home where you ‘workout’. This may be your living room where you lift weight. Or kitchen worktop where you do some pushups. Or your garden.
3. Adapt your workout
We often talk about cardio, strength training and stretching in fitness. There are plenty of machines and equipment at the gym for this purpose. When you are at home, you can actually build your own fitness routine using bodyweight exercises and common items you can find at home. Think about what you can do to get your heart rate up just a little (cardio). What heavy things can you lift (strength training). The most important thing is exercise form and lifting technique. Consult a fitness professional if you are new to lifting weight, or if you have any injury.
4. Be positive
When you are too busy or not in the mood to exercise, focus on how awesome you will feel afterwards! As a personal trainer, I have these moments too. I am a human after all. Remember, you do not need to sweat buckets or feel sore to experience the benefits of exercise. You can opt for low-impact, low-intensity exercise to begin with. See how you feel, and adjust the intensity accordingly. If a workout session feels too much, try brisk walk outside for 20-30 minutes. I promise you will feel much better when you get back home!
5. Make it fun
Make your fitness journey fun! There are lots of workout videos online, from aerobics, HIIT to yoga and zumba. These are brilliant in keeping you inspired and motivated during these challenging times. I encourage my clients to give these a go! If you already follow a fitness program, why not play your favourite music when you workout. Working out with a friend online can also be fun!
Hope you enjoy reading this blog and have found these tips useful.
Stay safe, stay active!