Right now you might feel like you want to ‘unsubscribe’ from the world (and with good reason.) The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the globe and many governments are instructing us all to stay home, and keep away from friends and family, just to stay safe.
In short, there’s a lot going on!
What’s more, many of our routines have been disrupted and businesses like gyms are closing their doors. But there has actually never been a better time to take care of yourself.
Remember you were going to learn to meditate? Or clean the loft and learn to bake? Now is your chance.
We know that it’s tempting to lay low during lockdown and let your fitness routine relax a little, but making sure you exercise throughout this time has a wealth of benefits you may not realise...
Why it’s super important to keep active during lockdown
It’s really easy to find an excuse to avoid lockdown workouts, but your health is not just about staying physically in shape — you need to keep active to feel mentally strong as well. Exercise is great for mental health, and at a time where it’s all uncertainty, anxiety, and a daily dose of doom and gloom, we all need to work out that frustration somewhere!
Lockdown workouts also have an added benefit of helping you boost your immune system and get more sleep, both of which actively work towards keeping us healthy in the long term.
Does that mean we all have to sweat through an avengers-style workout every day? No. But even doing a few simple exercises can make a huge difference towards keeping us safe and healthy while we wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.
To get you started (yes, even if you’re a beginner) here are our five favourite workouts to do in lockdown — no equipment required!
#1 The Rocky Balboa
Ever seen the Rocky movies? The iconic image of Sylvester Stallone reaching the top of those steps is a scene to remember. But there’s a reason why it was such a triumph — stairs are an excellent (and exhausting) cardio workout.
Start easy with a walk up and down the stairs, then mix it up by stepping up and down each stair with each leg for 30 seconds and treating it like a step workout. It’s a great way to work your thigh muscles and get your heart rate up. Even better, this slower pace avoids you running up and down the stairs and having a fall (a hospital visit is the last thing you need right now!).
If you live in a flat, you can do the same on the hallway stairs — you can even encourage others to join in, just stay 2 metres apart at all times!
#2 Traditional HIIT
HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training) is a type of workout that uses bodyweight exercises to burn fat. It keeps your metabolism high, even though you’re usually only working out a fraction of the time.
Create your own lockdown HIIT workouts using these easy zero-equipment moves:
- Lunges - Either do them in place by stepping back into position, or do walk lunges down the hallway. You’ll definitely feel the burn!
- Jumping Jacks (or star jumps) - These are very high impact and get the blood flowing.
- Inchworm - This one is great for all muscles, but targets your glutes and core the most! Begin standing, keeping feet hip-width apart. Then bend down, place your hand on the floor and walk on your hands, keeping your feet in place, until you are in a high plank. Stay there for a second (or three, or five) and then walk back into standing position.
- Plank tapping - Step up your regular plank game by doing a high plank and tapping your right hand to your left shoulder, and your left hand to your right shoulder. It engages your core better and is much more interesting than holding one pose.
- Push-ups - Classic push-ups! They are a great all-rounder and will get your arms burning. If a standard push-up isn’t enough of a challenge, go for decline pushups (where your legs are higher than your arms). Place your feet onto a step so you can amp up your game.
For a great HIIT workout, do 30 seconds of an exercise and alternate with 30 seconds rest. Go through the list and try and keep going for 20 minutes. That’s all you need!
#3 Wall sits
Wall sits involve using a nearby wall to lean against it as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your legs at a 90 degree angle and hold for as long as you can. Record your time and then try it every day to see how you progress. It’s a great way of building up strength and motivation, because you can see how far you’ve come whilst getting a decent workout in.
#4 Low-impact flexibility
If you have issues with your joints, or you’re wanting to take things a little slower in your lockdown workouts, try mat yoga or Pilates. There are plenty of YouTubers posting mat routines for free, so there’s really nothing to lose in trying to improve your flexibility.
These workouts are also perfect for those who want to try the meditative side of exercise. Just note that it’s not always zen when you first start, you need to learn the basics first — so stick with it!
What’s the one plus side of being cooped up inside? You can dance like nobody’s watching! Zumba certainly isn’t a new fitness craze, but it’s stuck around for so long because it’s just so fun. We promise you’ll laugh your way through the demanding dance workout, but it doesn’t even feel like you’re exhausted (until the end) because you’re too busy following the moves.
Again, YouTube is your best bet for videos to try. But you can also purchase programs or buy a few DVDs. There even used to be a game on the Wii you could try and get your hands on!
Staying healthy and fit at home is possible
While we may not be used to it, staying home is in everyone’s best interests right now. And working on your health and fitness should be a priority for you — especially now that you know how!
And don’t forget: exercise is only half of the equation when it comes to health. You need to try and add this to a healthy eating and living routine so if you need to boost your nutrition while you have to stay inside, check out our store!