Keeping Active during Covid-19

Kate O’Callaghan | 25.03.2021

I am currently typing this on my sanitised keyboard whilst I sit atop a throne of toilet roll, in my secured fortress of solitude, thinking about how the world has been hammered by this Coronavirus and everyone’s life has been thrown into disarray and about exercise, obviously.

When it comes to workouts and exercise, I have always been a regular gym goer, not a fitness fanatic as my life long Haribo obsession confirms, but I’ve always found going to the gym so much easier in so many ways. I did not need to think hard on it, I would just go. I had and enjoyed my routine that after many years became very easy for me. However as the coronavirus situation progressed, the gyms have closed AGAIN.

I was worried because I knew the gym was my link to my mental wellbeing. It’s there for me whenever I need it and I know it helps me improve my mental health and energy levels. At first, I tried to go out in the morning for runs and long walks. I just found it really hard to motivate myself to get out of bed and start running at some ridiculous time in the morning, whereas before I could easily pop out of bed for a 6am workout. Running did not seem to have much of a purpose or the same pull. I simply did not enjoy running on concrete as I get very bad shin splints, even after stretching.

During these past few months, I have tried to adapt my usually very active lifestyle. Going from a daily gym goer, when the gyms were open that is, I’ve tried working out in my extremely dusty garage whilst trying desperately to avoid the cupboard full of crisps and chocolate that seem to be calling me at all costs.

The following are things that have helped me stay active and that have enabled me to continue to add that energy and positivity into my day-to-day life during this odd period of time.

Quick 10-minute exercises in your home

Instagram and YouTube have some great workout content whether it’s a HIIT sessions or a new dance craze. I find this a good way to boost my productivity on days I choose not to do intense activity. Some can be intense workouts others just a way to let loose and get me moving. Also, if the house/flat/room is too cramped you can take these outside, subject to weather, and get a welcomed change of scenery.

Interval Training in the park is another great way and I have read a lot on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and was beginning this type of workout in the gym, before they were forced to close, and now enjoy the benefits of showing my improvements to the squirrels and birds in my local park.

HIIT burns A LOT of calories by undertaking short periods of intense exercise followed by short rest times. Your body is “deprived” of free oxygen and replaced with lactic acid that boosts adrenaline to cause fat loss. This continues well after the workout is over, sometimes for 48hrs so is great for weight management, although if steady state is your thing then finding Cardio that works for you is the key.

So, I’d recommend preparing a list of exercises and downloading a free interval timer and take it to the park. This can still be done without equipment if you pick the right exercises, in fact weightless weights can be more intense than using weights. 8 exercises are a good number and doing three rounds of these for a half an hour workout I find gets great results.

Cycling

If you have a bike, why not ride it? It does not have to be a Tour de France; a small cycle is good for boosting the mood and getting fresh air.

Making a plan

Every Sunday I make sure I sit down and make an actual plan for the week. I find this helps me stick to the exercises I set for myself and the 3 to 4 times a week whilst helping me stay on track and as the old adage goes “failure to plan is planning to fail”.

Some tips for working out at home I find are following certain Instagram pages that give you tips and even some have live workouts for you to follow along with and which are saved for you to do at any point you like. YouTube is also brilliant for this and gives so much choice and all the videos are free to watch.

My favourite pages are Meggan Grubb on Instagram and Gymsharks page, they give you useful tips and examples of workouts. On YouTube I like Joe Wicks and any HIIT quick workouts from various fitness influencers.

Here at work, I’ve also started weekly arranging some fitness fun for the RT Team with us recently taking breaks to complete fun and fast HIIT workouts. These include various dance workouts which have not only been a good way to get a sweat on but very amusing. It’s great to have activities outside of work that we can all come together to do.

Days may be turning into weeks and weeks into months, the gyms might be opening back up soon but I’m hoping I’ll stick to some of the things that have been forced upon me during lockdown. I find it helps to break the day up to get your 1 hour of exercise in for the day. We all need a break and to stay healthy.

You will find even the littlest of things can boost your mood!

Let me know what works for you.

Working Fitness.