In the uncertainty we are all facing as one by one cities and countries around the globe start to shut down, we need to do our best to normalise the situation we find ourselves in and take every day as it comes. Working from home is now the new norm, social distancing is our new language and uncharted waters are what lay ahead.
How do we stay connected, how do we maintain our daily routines, how do we handle the stress and anxiety? These are all questions I have been asking myself and have been asked by those around me. I suppose they turn to me because movement and exercise are part of my everyday life and routine, which often means going to the gym and now they are looking to me to see what actions I am going to take to keep my life as normal as possible.
In my 20+ years, the health and fitness industry has given me enough experience to know that staying healthy and maintaining a fitness level does not have to be limited to the narrow thinking of being a “gym junkie” and that staying connected by working out with your friends does not mean taking a class and ‘high fiving’ together.
So here are my top 3 activities that I did today as part of my new routine to maintain my movement regime and keep my stress and anxiety at bay through these ever-changing times.
1. Solo dog walk — Nothing beats some fresh air and a walk alone. It is well known that walking changes how the brain functions, calms down the adrenals and often many a creative solution has been found while walking. Arianna Huffington swears by it in her best selling book Thrive and often holds many of her meetings “walking” using her favourite saying by Greek philosopher Diogenes’s ‘solvitur ambulando’ — It is solved by walking. Also, a good brisk walk for 15 minutes can burn up to 80 calories. So take the dog out or go it alone and walk. Everything will feel far easier to deal with after you do.
2. Chair step-ups — The dining room chair is now your best friend. The step-up is a great all-round exercise that is perfect for everyone whether you have just started exercising or have been training for years. It has a low risk of injury and offers a good cardio and strength workout because it utilises our biggest muscles groups — the legs. This morning I did a little test run and I did 10 steps ups on my right leg and 10 on my left leg and my trusty old fitness tracker said I had burnt 10 calories! So, 5 sets of those bad boys and 50 active calories later and the best part was it was all done in 10 minutes. Seriously so easy to do. Tomorrow will be a set of 10, I think.
3. Dining room table push-ups — Whilst push-ups are not the number one love in my life, they happen to be one of the most effective full-body activities as they activate so many muscles in your body. Shoulders, back, chest, core, arms, you name it and the good old push up uses it, which also means burning more active calories. The good news is that you don’t have to be a cross fitter to benefit from this exercise, especially when the dining table is around. Using a heightened surface like the table makes the movement easier on the body and much easier to do. So even starting with a few of these a day can make all the difference to how you feel and slowly build up your strength over time. Why not start with a few and see if you can add one more every time you try. I am currently at 14, so next week will be aiming for 15.
Keeping your health and routine up when the world is in crisis, is all a matter of thinking outside the square and making the most of what you have at hand. A chair, a table, a neighbourhood, a floor rug, stairs and the list goes on. Goodness knows I even did some chair squats yesterday whilst holding my 10kg sausage dog. Worked for me, not sure how he felt, but the point is that it does not have too extreme or difficult to clear your mind, get your body moving and stay safe.
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