With covid-19 now part of our lives and lockdown in its seventh week, how have you managed to stay healthy and look after yourselves, or have you seen the pounds pile on as a result of the boredom and lack of activity?
With gyms closed and group exercise of any kind currently banned, people have had to find alternative ways to keep fit and it is no wonder that we currently see more and more people out jogging, many of whom have never done so before. For some this may be little more than a fast walk or be interrupted by many a rest period, but regardless this is an excellent form of exercise with the added bonus of fresh air (clearer now with less cars on the road), vitamin D when the sun is shining and an excuse just to get out of the house; it will be interesting to see how many keep this up once the lockdown is lifted! Of course, many people who wished to get outside and exercise before we were kept away from work now have the time to partake and the age old excuse of not having the time to exercise no longer holds true, but regardless of the reason, it is heartening to see so many people ‘pounding the pavement’ and striving to keep fit during this difficult time.
Many people are also undertaking home workouts, and the internet and social media are full of people sharing their exercise routines, both free of charged and paid for, and several sites such as fit4thefight have been developed purely for this reason (I can be found here ) allowing people to train in their own homes and in their own time. Care should be taken when undertaking such sessions to ensure that you are sufficiently warmed up, that you have ample room to perform the session and that the exercises performed will not aggravate any existing injuries. The importance of rest should not be overlooked either, with rest days taken as they would have been during normal training weeks. As always with social media, there will be content posted by unqualified ‘trainers’ and so called influencers who are also trying to sell the latest miracle weight loss product or fast track physique building program (six pack in 5 minutes a day anyone!), but there are also many good and easy to follow sessions available.
Outside of actual training, there are many other ways to increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) which accounts for a large portion of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or calories burnt, and helps keep energy balance in your favour. These can include such things as performing squats while waiting for the kettle to boil, using the stairs multiple times on each ascent, performing lunges during each ad break and so on. Use your imagination to add movement and involve the kids or other family members making it fun where possible.
So with exercise covered, we come to diet. Whilst at home all day, we are surrounded by temptation with regards to food and particularly those classed as hyperpalatable that we are unable to eat in moderation. Crisps, chocolate, biscuits and the like are now readily at hand and often consumed mindlessly leading to increased calorie intake, which coupled with reduced levels of activity, can lead to weight gain. We need to be aware of these foods and strive to resist them or even remove them altogether, perhaps replacing them with healthier options that may placate ‘bored snacking’. Try to keep to your normal eating schedule and eat a well balanced diet, keeping the use of Deliveroo and Just Eat to a minimum.
Although difficult, there is no real excuse not to maintain your fitness during this time if you are prepared to put a little thought into both daily activity and diet. Easier said than done I know, but with the lockdown continuing and the constant threat of a second wave, who knows when the gyms will reopen or in what format, so it may be difficult to undo any damage done during this period. By putting a little time and effort into your everyday regime there is no reason why you shouldn’t come out of this pandemic as fit as before, or maybe even fitter if you are one of the many to start jogging or undertaking home workouts.