Stay at home, keep moving



Stay at home, keep moving

In a recent blog we looked at ways to maintain your mental health during isolation and social distancing. This time we’ll look at physical health, which of course is very closely linked. Making progress in one of them will help you enormously with the other.


The great outdoors

The official guidelines on exercising outdoors aren’t very precise, but most people are taking it to mean ‘one exercise per day, taking between half an hour and an hour’. That’s plenty of time to maintain a decent level of fitness if you’re already in good shape, as long as you eat sensibly.


And if you don’t currently exercise, 30-60 minutes per day is more than you need to get fit.


If you have a pair of trainers and fancy giving running a try, there’s loads of advice online. Perhaps the best known is the ‘Couch to 5k’ program, which many people have followed with great results. People sometimes assume that running has to be painful, but that’s simply not true. A daily jog at a comfortable pace, perhaps broken up with some fast walking, will burn some calories, improve your mood, and give you a huge range of other health benefits.


At the time of writing, bike shops are open, and this is the perfect opportunity to get into cycling, with empty roads and better weather. Again, you don’t have to go hell for leather. Riding at any speed that gets your heart rate up for a sustained period will be good for your health.


You don’t even have to run or cycle. A fast walk will do, or indeed any activity that lets you feel your heart beating and makes you slightly short of breath.


The inside track

If you can’t exercise outside for any reason, or you want to add some strength and conditioning work to your outdoor activities, there’s a lot you can do from home. We spoke again to Davie McConnachie, who you’ll know if you read our mental health blog, and who is just as expert in physical health. His website has over 100 positive reviews from people he has helped to improve their fitness.


Davie has created a set of exercises for us that you can do at home, or in your garden if you have one. He also suggests three ways to do them, depending on your current level of fitness. You don’t need any special equipment. Ready?


Before you start

Clear some space around you. Wear something comfy and loose-fitting. Have some water handy. (You’ll need it!)


Stage 1: Mobilisation and activation

The first stage is absolutely essential. Don’t skip it under any circumstances. Get your body warmed up and loose by doing the stretches in this video clip.

Now you need to get your heart rate up a bit. There are two ways of doing this, so pick whichever you like best.


Jumping jacks:

We finish the warm-up with three simple movements.

1. Hip thrusts

2. Bird dog


3. Elbow tuck

Stage 2: Main workout

This has five parts, or four if you’re a beginner. See below for details of how to adapt this to your current level of fitness.


1. Squats


2. Push ups

3. Crunches

4. Skydivers

5. Burpees

Here’s a clip of the whole routine.



Stage 3: Cooldown and recovery

This is just as important as the other two stages. Do each exercise for 30-60 seconds.


1. Rear foot elevated hip stretch

In the gym you’d use a bench, but the edge of a chair is fine, or you can just do it from the floor.


2. Angry cat

3. Chest and shoulder stretch


And you’re done!

Now enjoy a shower, and eat something healthy and nutritious. Remember to keep sipping water throughout the day too.


How to tailor the routine to your fitness

Everyone should do the first and third stages in the same way. You can adapt the main routine as follows:


Beginner Don’t do the burpees (exercise number 5 in the main routine). Do exercise 1 five times, then immediately do exercise 2 five times, then immediately do exercise 3 five times, then immediately do exercise 4 five times. That’s one circuit. Rest for between one and two minutes, then repeat. Do between three and five circuits in total.


Intermediate Do all five exercises. Do 10 reps per exercise, and between three and five circuits with a one-minute rest between them.


Advanced Do all five exercises. Do 15 reps per exercise, and five circuits with no rest, or as little as possible.


Good luck

We hope you enjoy this routine. We guarantee that if you do it properly and stick at it, you’ll see results. We’ll be back with more health and fitness advice in future blogs. Till then, have fun and keep moving.

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