If you’re stuck at home, staying active through regular exercise will bring huge benefits, whether you have time around work or on the weekends or you have many hours in the day while at home. It can be overwhelming though: where do I start? Can I just jump into cardio? What about strength training? How often should I do it? Keeping reading on, I'll do my best to answer these questions!
The best place to start with activity is do something you enjoy! This is especially important if you are just starting out. If you feel like an activity is a chore, it’s hard to stick with. You used to do yoga back in the day and felt so flexible? What about that dance class you took all those years ago and how much fun you had? You remember running in college and feeling great? How about that beautiful walk on that warm summer’s day? Often we have positive memories of at least one type of activity. If we are finding it hard to get into, that is a good place to start. Do something you know you have enjoyed in the past or will enjoy now.
What if you want to get into something new? The only way to know is to try! For myself, I have recently begun running again. After a year or two of no running whatsoever, it feels like a completely new activity and my body has had to adapt! I can certainly say that it was difficult to get back into.
Whether you are rediscovering an activity or trying something out for the first time, I have found that there are a few important factors to take into account:
Start easy. There’s no harm in starting slow and controlled and building up over time. In fact, this is often much better as you will avoid injury and most likely come away with a positive ‘first’ experience, motivating you to continue!
External motivation. Like many, you may find that tuning into a live group workout session or a prerecorded video gives you enough motivation to push through! There are many fitness and health personalities on YouTube and Instagram giving live workout sessions that you can follow along with at your own pace. Alternatively, you can check out back catalogues for workouts on many platforms (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook) and choose a time that works for you. I would recommend Joe Wick’s series “PE with Joe.” Do you remember P.E. back in the day? Whether you loved it or hated it, Joe’s PE sessions will get you moving and you’ll feel great. P.S. Strava has been a great app for me to start running again. I can look back at my runs and watch myself improve or know what I should work on to get better! Competing against friends is a great motivator if you like a bit of competition.
Gently challenge yourself. Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt. Just look at humans that live in the most extreme environments, they are able to thrive because they have adapted to adversity. The same goes for exercise and activity. You will get stronger if you challenge yourself. It is important that you challenge yourself over time, in order to give the body time to rebuild and regenerate. Building up one’s tolerance to an activity can take weeks so enjoy the process! P.S. Little and often is the key. Going for a monster run or doing a big work out once a week is great, but could potentially lead to injury if you’re not used to it. Keep your body engaged with regular activity over time and there’s no need to overload!
Rest and time to recover. This is important. The benefits of exercise and activity will only be felt if you give your body enough time to regenerate. Working muscles with strength training requires a period of rest in order for the body to regenerate those worked muscle fibres, allowing you to become stronger. If you’re really keen to stay active during periods of rest and recovery, do activities that fit within your limits and don’t push you too far. A good example is light mobility-based yoga which will help regenerate and also help with blood flow, flexibility and breathing.
I hope these tips have given you some ideas and encouragement to stay active.
If you have any questions about staying active while at home, get in touch today! Wishing you good health and happiness.
P.E. with Joe Wicks, The Body Coach TV https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1/videos