As many of us are advised to stay at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have to become inventive with regards to our fitness and exercise.
Thankfully, there are plenty of activities which can be done from the comfort of our own home, which can keep us fit and healthy during this testing time. All we need is some space, imagination and most importantly- motivation!
I have provided some tips and ideas to get us going.
Get out and walk: Social distancing is still possible during an outdoor walk which at the time of writing has not been restricted. Go alone, or with a member of your household. Get some fresh air, bring your children or your dogs and get your legs moving. Try to reach the HSE national activity guideline of 30 minutes five times a week.
Do bodyweight exercises: We do not need high-tech equipment to do strengthening or resistance training. Don’t believe me? Do a plank for a minute! Exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, jumping-jacks and burpees are excellent ways of getting the muscles working. Take it gently to start with, stop any exercise if it becomes painful.
Use basic equipment: Some of us have yoga mats, light dumbbells, exercise balls or resistance bands at home which can be used to add a challenge to our home workout. But for those who don’t, don’t worry! Fill a large water bottle or use a bag of sugar or tin of food to add weight resistance with basic household items. Use the edge of a bed or chair to do a set of squats or triceps dips or simply use your stairs for some added cardiovascular exercise.
Get a fitness partner: A lot of us are social distancing in our own homes, many with family and children. Team up and complete a home work out together, set a time and a place and stick to it. Having another person will help with motivation and even competition!
Good aul’ housework: Kill two birds with one stone! This is a perfect opportunity to get the house in order, and luckily this is good for our bodies too. Here is an example of the average calories burned for 15 minutes of the following tasks: Sweeping floors: 39, Mopping: 43, Washing dishes: 22, Hoovering: 43, Putting away groceries: 26, Sweeping the garden: 51, Moving furniture: 85, Putting away laundry: 22
Use online videos: There are endless channels, pages and videos online that can guide you through a variety of home workouts. For anyone unsure of where to begin- here is a brilliant starting point. Google, Youtube, or search online for the type of exercise and level you would like to try and then follow the instructions.
Be organised: You are much more likely to continue your home workout routine if you schedule it. Pick a time, morning perhaps, and stick to it. You may like to use a journal to track your progress or set some fitness goals.
Avoid distractions: Unfortunately, when confined to the house, it seems the fridge can stare at us and lure us in far too frequently. Try to stick to your three meals a day and avoid ‘boredom snacking’. We now have more time than ever to prep some healthy snacks and meals- so make the most of it!
I will leave you with a link to an example of a home exercise workout created by Amy Schlinger, which only takes 10 minutes and requires nothing but your body weight.
By Rachael Cleary BSc (Hons), MISCP
Associate Chartered Physiotherapist at Mount Merrion Physiotherapy & Health
Rachael completed her Physiotherapy degree at Trinity College Dublin. During her years of study, she gained experience working with respiratory, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions both in Ireland and abroad.
Rachael spent time working in a top private outpatient department in Malta working with elite-level athletes and developing her ‘hands-on’ manual therapy techniques which she finds extremely effective in clinical practice.
Upon graduation, Rachael began working as a staff grade physiotherapist in orthopaedic rehabilitation, treating and managing many post-surgical patients. Rachael has worked pitch-side with a local football club gaining extensive experience in various sports conditions and injuries.
Rachael qualified as a Pilates instructor in June 2019 and enjoys using these exercise-based techniques with her patients both in classes and in one-on-one rehabilitation.
Her clinical areas of interest include women’s health conditions, tendinopathies and post-surgical rehabilitation.