As gyms closed and exercise classes ground to a halt during lockdown, the pandemic has meant many of us have moved our workouts from the gym to the home. But for many no gym = no workout and some of us are struggling to get enough exercise.
With a plethora of home workout videos, classes and fitness plans available online, working out from home has never been easier.
Why is it so important to keep our bodies moving?
If an active person stops being active, changes happen to both the body and mind:
- A sedentary lifestyle can potentially cause changes to the brain, which in turn can affect our memory and emotions. Studies have shown that regular exercise can offset age-related memory loss and stabilise our moods.
- Your endurance and stamina will deteriorate. After stopping regular exercise for just two weeks, your previous capabilities dramatically drop.
- You may experience a gain in body fat and a decrease in muscle mass.
- Your blood pressure may increase.
- Your muscles will start to deteriorate. As muscle atrophy sets in, you will also begin to experience problems with your joints and ligaments. The older you are, the faster this will happen.
- Your energy levels may start to drop. The more regularly you exercise, the higher and more stable your energy levels are. The more lethargic you become, the more sluggish you feel.
How can I get back into exercising?
The easiest way to re-introduce an active lifestyle is to consider the options most accessible to you. For the majority, the outdoors and a makeshift living room space are the primary alternatives.
Here are some ways to make the most of what you’ve got and incorporate exercise back into your life:
- Work it into your daily routine. Set aside a slot of time before or after your working day, or even at lunchtime. It can be as few as 15 minutes or up to an hour, but once it becomes another essential element in your schedule, you will soon see the benefits!
- Attach it onto another habit. Research suggests that patterns are easier to form when they are associated with something we already do, for example, a mini workout whilst waiting for your coffee to brew or stretching whilst waiting for your bath to run. For longer exercise times, apply this to your daily habits or routines; turn walking the dog into a running with the dog.
- Be kind to yourself and don’t guilt-trip yourself into working out. Your body will take time to adjust back into a routine. Don’t burn yourself out and associate exercise with negative hard work.
- Make a mental note of the rewards you feel after exercising and write them down – starting is the most challenging part so remember how good your body and mind will feel after the endorphin release.
What’s the best home workout for me?
- The no equipment necessary workout. For those with limited space, equipment and time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) 15-minute to 45-minute workouts are a godsend. YouTube is your best friend for these, from the likes of Joe Wicks to BKBooty Fitness, there’s something for everyone. Lots of videos also find creative ways to use what’s around the house – from furniture to tins of soup, but make sure you’re following health and safety rules with these!
- Jump back into exercise. For a workout that will delight your inner child, a routine with a mini trampoline is the one for you. Using a mini trampoline will improve balance and stability, whilst also providing a low-impact solution to exercising. They are easy to purchase online and allow for extensive and fun versions of squats, twists, lunges etc. Or just for an energy-releasing bounce!
- Stretch it out. For a more meditative approach to working out that focuses on the mind too, try Yoga. From beginner classes to power Yoga, all you need is an exercise mat, and you’re good to go. Yoga holds many benefits for all ages, so you can work your way up through online videos and attending classes on Zoom.
- All motivation needed. If starting is your biggest obstacle, consider purchasing a fitness plan or contacting a personal trainer. If you have a set time and date, or you have paid for something, you are much more likely to commit.
Times are tough, and it’s easy to forego working out and choose a glass of wine on the sofa instead. But maintaining an exercise routine is vital for our physical and mental health. Your future self will thank you!
If you’ve tried working out at home, but given yourself an injury, or if you’d like some advice on getting your strength back come and see one of our Osteopaths. They’ll be able to advise what’s best for you and your body. Just call 020 8316 5316 to book your appointment.