Lockdown has affected virtually each and every one of us, in more ways than imaginable. One of the biggest challenges facing a lot of people is wondering how they can keep fit and healthy without leaving the house. For most people, going to the gym a few times was the only way that they were managing to get their weekly dose of exercise, mainly down to the wide range of equipment all in one place. Following the news that the U.K. has been under strict lockdown regulations, gyms and other public areas are no longer allowed to be open, which is expected to be the case for at least the near future. Because of this, it is important to be able to mix up your lifestyle to carry on being active and working towards your goals, whether that’s to lose weight, to improve general fitness or even bulk up, there’s a way to do each and every one of them.
Following the lockdown rules, people are finding themselves in different situations to one another, such as some people now being off for the foreseeable and using the government’s furlough system, some are still working full time but from home, and others are carrying on to go into their workplace and operate as if nothing’s changed.
Those that fall into the first option bracket will on average have an excessive amount of free time now, seeing as legally they are not supposed to be working at all if they have taken up the furlough scheme. Likewise, the second option on the list also potentially indicates that you no longer have to commute to and from work, which for some people could be over an hour, freeing up a portion of their day to new activities. Calculating the time saved on work / commuting to work, as well as the time that would have been spent in the gym, can show you how much additional free time you now have. Using this mentality will help drive you towards wanting to do more home workouts, and still carry on exercising and living the active lifestyle that you’re used to. Now for the last of the three, being able to maintain their active levels is more tricky, as they’ve not saved any time in their day to day life, but the ideas given to the other two groups of people can be transferred to each kind of lifestyle, it just might need slightly adjusting and maybe even a bit more commitment.
We’ve done the research for you, and come up with a variety of exercises that can be done in and around the house:
Walking, Jogging & Running
There’s not a great deal to be able to give advice on here, everyone knows the fundamentals of walking, jogging and running. However, the part that a lot of people struggle with is progressing to your goal. A lot of people think they can just go out for a run around the block and then come home, but what they don’t realise is that running’s actually a tough activity to do, and you’ll see a lot better results in the long run if you build it up slowly. If you’re looking to be able to jog for a long distance and then constantly improve your time, my advice to you is to start by doing a slow jog, with patches of walking when you start to feel tired. Over time try and increase the time spent jogging followed by less rest and walking time. The BBC’s ‘Couch to 5K’ is a great app that can help anybody go from sitting on the couch all night to be able to run five kilometres over a few weeks, I’d definitely recommend downloading it and giving it a go if you are looking to start jogging from the house more and improve long distance stamina.
Yoga is possibly the easiest sport to get into, and although it’s a lot trickier than it sounds, the equipment required is nothing special, it really is just a TV/monitor and a laptop or PC. To start doing yoga, all you need to do is Google Yoga practices and then you can start it, needing hardly any space to do it either. There are quite literally Yoga lessons and tutorials for all levels online, varying from first time starters to those that have been attending classes in person. Yoga also has a lot of benefits on your mental health, as the need to concentrate on your positioning and breathing can help those who are feeling anxious or depressed and help take the mind off any issues that’s being thought of.
Cardio Exercise Machines – Treadmill & Exercise Bike
Getting exercise machines like a bike and a treadmill are great ways to stay in shape, especially if you don’t want to be seen performing these outdoors and in front of other people. Exercise bikes usually cost a lot less than a regular bike, so it also makes financial sense to purchase one of these instead of the real thing. It’s also allows you to get on and off it whenever you please, without having the hassle of having to get it out of the garage, which can be a task in its own way! Similarly with the treadmill, you can go on it for as long as you please, with having as many breaks as you please, and not have to worry about people watching you and judging you, making it perfect for beginners and those with low confidence.
The biggest benefit of having a home cardio exercise machine, is where you can locate it. If you can readjust your workout room, to have the cardio equipment facing the TV, it makes the mental side of working out a lot easier. Start riding whilst watching your favourite film and before you know it you’re halfway through it, looking back on 45 minutes of constant exercise and burning loads of calories without even thinking about it.
If you’ve never squatted before then now is the perfect time to start. Squatting requires no space or equipment at all, and is a great way of working our numerous muscles, including the gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius (buttocks), quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), adductor (groin), hip flexors, calves and is also thought to benefit the core and overall leg strength. Although regular squatters might find this a bit tedious as they’re not using the weight they’re used to, it’s still a really good exercise to do to maintain muscle memory and keep technique correct.
Tips to take away from this;
Incorporate more fruit and veg into your diet, as well as slowly reduce the amount of sugary foods you eat, such as chocolate and sweets
If you purchase home cardio equipment, try and place them close to a TV, it’s a great distraction and you’ll notice yourself going further without getting bored or having the mental limitation you might have found prior.
Although don’t be afraid to exercise outdoors – if you don’t feel comfortable running in public then start it off as a walk, even trying short jogging patches throughout. Similarly go to places where you feel less exposed and not being as watched as more.
Each phone brand have their own ‘App Store’ where you’ll be able to download a variety of different apps, including all sorts of whacky features and cartoon games. In this instance, there are plenty fitness apps available, ranging from free to all, to some that you will have to pay for. The following are some of the highest rated apps, offering a wide variety of different exercises and being able to return information based on you, and the majority of them allow you to pick a level of difficulty, so don't panic if you are a total beginner. There really is something for everyone, depending on your experience, what you enjoy doing, and your goal.
Couch to 5K
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