Covid-19. You are probably sick of hearing and seeing the name. But the truth is, it’s here, and not going anywhere anytime soon. The likelihood is that we will probably be talking about it and feeling its impact for many years to come. But what about now? Everyone has been affected in so many different ways, mentally, physically and financially.
As fitness professionals, Coaches at Elysium Edinburgh has been taking care of the Health and Fitness of thousands of people for years, so we know exactly how to help people through a time of need, whether that be physically or mentally.
This article is a guide to helping you optimise your current situation and really take control of your health and fitness right now, so that when we do return to normal you don’t have a big hill to climb. Some people right now will not be motivated, and that’s ok. But remember, that even a small change right now can help you improve over the next few weeks. Small changes add up to big results over time. Learn some new habits now and you can reap the rewards in future.
When it comes to training at home, people think they are limited because they have none or limited equipment, but the truth is that’s an easy obstacle with a bit of creativity and guidance. The real problem for people is MOTIVATION. Right now, people’s lives have been turned upside down and inside out and they really have no idea how to change it, so training is often last on the list of priorities. This is a problem, because without exercise, people can really start to decline physically, leading to an inherent decline in their mental health too. We believe that a healthy body = a healthy mind. Even small amounts of exercise have been shown to:
- Improve mental health
- Improve strength
- Improve posture
- Increase metabolic rate
- Decrease risk of Disease including but not limited to;
0 Heart disease
That’s just a small number of things that it can benefit in your life. So really why would you NOT want to exercise when you’re protecting your health? It’s just human nature. So how can we overcome the obstacles and integrate exercise into our lives during this time?
MAKE IT A HABIT
Humans are creatures of habit, so it’s important to start to see exercise as a positive habit. Just like brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, we should integrate. We find the best way to do this right now is can be done by committing a certain time of day to doing some physical activity. Say you wake up and go straight out for a walk, or you dedicate a space at 12pm each day to doing a home workout, it will help you be accountable. Remember, exercise doesn’t need to be a High Intensity circuit class or a 10k run, even a walk will give you some of the health boosting benefits. Right now, we have been given permission to go outdoors and exercise once a day, so USE IT. Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and exercise at the same time. Whether it’s a walk, a run or a cycle, get outdoors and enjoy the space.
GET A PROGRAM
I cannot under emphasise the importance of having a guide to support you through this time. If you are following an exercise program you are significantly more likely to commit to exercise rather than just “wanting” to do it. So, find a program that works for you, with the equipment and time that you have and make a commitment to complete it for the week. Being accountable is a fantastic motivator, if you have a coach writing training sessions for you checking in making sure you are doing your workouts it’s a very powerful tool. Or even if you have a program and hold yourself accountable it is still better than just doing it when you “feel” like it. The truth is you might never “feel” like doing it. So, make a commitment to a program and dedicate time each week.
MIX UP YOUR TRAINING
I would recommend using a variety of different workouts to do over the course of a week. It not only keeps things varied and exciting, but you can work on a range of physical fitness elements including Strength, Power, Endurance, Mobility, with a mixture of resistance training and Aerobic work. It is important to have a range, so you are working on these different elements of your fitness. To mix it up well you may pick different days to work on different things. An example of this may be:
Monday – Strength Work (Home Workout)
Tuesday – Aerobic Session (Run/Cycle)
Wednesday – Strength Session (Circuit)
Thursday – Mobility Session (Yoga)
Friday – Aerobic Session (Run)
Saturday – Strength Work (Home Workout)
Sunday – Walk/Rest Day
This is a broad mix, and you can even just pick 2-3 days per week and start with that then build up to doing more.
GET THE FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD INVOLVED
If you are in the household with other people ask them to get involved, if you have kids then get them active too. It will help keep everyone together and you can even motivate each other as well. Get creative with workouts with kids and have some fun. Not only will it break up the day for you and them, but you will even build stronger relationships. It’s a Win-Win. But don’t forget the power of being alone and having time on your own to breathe. As described above, getting outdoors and being in the fresh air is a great way to “escape” the monotony and have some time for yourself.
Training at home can be a bit odd if you normally go to the gym, but we don’t have a choice right now and we need to be creative. The world of social media has seen a huge wave of “Home Workout Coaches”, but home workouts are not a new thing at all. There are hundreds of thousands of workouts you can find online, so you’ll never be stuck for choice. But the problem with this is there is SO MUCH content and conflicting information it all just gets a bit confusing. Our advice is to find a coach or website that you like and stick with what they are saying/providing. Elysium has a whole online program that our members are working out to which is a one stop shop with Strength Workouts, Circuits, Mobility Sessions etc and our members are working along to that program and loving it.
If all you have is your own body to use, you can still be creative so don’t worry. There are lots of exercises that you can do for every part of your body.
When it comes to what equipment to use there is a huge assortment of kit that you can use. Of course, if you are able to purchase some weights then your range of exercises you can do will increase massively
Pieces of kit that we would recommend getting if you can would include a Kettlebell or a Couple of Dumbbells. These are awesome pieces of kit that you can use for literally every exercise and give you limitless possibilities with variety. The industry has been ravaged with people buying kit however and you may struggle to find any.
You can also look for cheap and convenient kit which may be easier to come by on Amazon or similar such as resistance bands. For only a few pounds you can get a great set of resistance bands giving you unlimited amounts of variations you can do for the whole body.
If you can’t get any equipment, you can get creative by using things in the house such as a backpack filled with books/tins or even using a towel or pillowcase and putting something heavy in it. It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of imagination.
Before we go into this section, we want you to know that this topic is huge, and no article is ever long enough or broad enough to deliver all the information on improving your health. The aim of this article is to give you some useful information on optimising your health in the lockdown situation.
The big one. It’s all around us. From physical stress, to mental stress, to environmental stress, there’s no escaping it. So that leaves Stress Management. We need to learn how to understand that stress can be a good thing and that the way we manage it is the bigger factor on whether it can grow into a negative. Stress is a very relative thing also, and something that may stress one person out might not even be on another person’s radar. So, learn to understand what stresses you out, what your triggers are and develop a strategy to cope with them better.
The main things we could and should do to focus on stress management are:
Sleep – This is where our body fully recovers and regenerates. Strive for around 8 hours of sleep per night. It is important however, to look at sleep quality and not just the amount of sleep. A person getting a full 6-7 hours of great quality sleep will likely feel more rested than someone getting 8-9 hours of broken interrupted sleep.
Exercise – Yes, physical stress can build up our tolerance of stress in general and allow us to become stronger and more resistant to stressful situations.
Nutrition and Hydration – We know we should eat healthy and drink water etc, but we believe people underestimate the power of good nutrition on stress. Not to get too complicated but a healthy nutritional intake has been directly linked to enhanced gut health which has been directly linked to one’s mental health. So, understand your body, eat a broad spectrum of vegetables and fruits, enough protein, carbs and fats from a variety of sources. Drink enough water each day around 2-3L is plenty for most people.
Mindfulness Exercises – Taking time to meditate or practice mindfulness can alleviate stress very quickly. A lot of these practices may be a bit “odd” to some people, but the truth is, it’s just because people are not used to it. Once you practice daily habits like gratitude or practice positive affirmations for a while it becomes an absolute staple in dealing with stress and improving mental health. Different mindfulness activities include:
Being aware of the different things you can do to help work on your Fitness and Health throughout this time is very important so make sure to look at your day and see where each one fits in and if it’s not there, try to incorporate it in slowly. Small changes will add up over time and create long lasting change.
It is clear that this difficult time has and will continue to add stress to our lives. We have the power to create significant change in our lives and now has never been a more important time to do so to protect our physical and mental well-being. As stated previously, don’t think that you need to completely flip your whole life into being a fitness fanatic and eating nothing but salad, it’s all about marginal change which is enjoyable and sustainable. Not every day is going to be a great day where you are super motivated to train but being accountable to making small changes to your day for exercise, better nutrition and stress management can be a huge step towards getting through this time fitter, healthier and happier.
If you are looking for any guidance for training sessions, nutrition advice or just want to be part of a great community of people that are supporting each other please message firstname.lastname@example.org and a coach will contact you with information to help get you started.
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy.