If you’re one of the millions of Australians in lockdown right now, you’re likely sick of reading about it. Same. But still, though, I’m frantically Googling things. What can I buy to make my living situation better? What are some fun things I can do in lockdown to occupy my time? When will living with restrictions finally end? My laptop can barely keep up.
So, with that in mind, I thought it worth writing yet another lockdown-related story that I felt offered some helpful advice: some hacks for keeping active while stuck at home. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re finding it hard. The last thing I want to do when I close my laptop at the end of the day is to go for a run or do an online exercise class. And while that’s completely fine — to do nothing but relax after work — it’s a known fact that exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health. So it’s definitely worth staying on top of.
Here, Dr Andrew Thompson, a registered doctor at InstantScripts, shares five easy ways you can keep active during lockdown.
Remember That Any Physical Activity Is Better Than None
As mentioned, living in lockdown can be quite stressful and emotionally exhausting, and finding the motivation to exercise at home can be challenging. But remember that even as little as 20 minutes of physical activity can vastly improve your overall well-being.
While it can be hard to find time to schedule exercise into our day, it’s important to step outside for fresh air at least once or twice a day, whether that be for taking a short walk around the block or for some time spent at a local park exercising with a friend.
Gamify Your Workout
Implement a few game-like tactics to your usual workout routine and you’ll kick exercise boredom and kick-start your motivation.
You can start by keeping track of your own workout records and trying to compete with your previous scores. Or you can compete with friends virtually, keeping track of each other’s best times and, whenever any of you goes to exercise, try to beat someone in the group.
If you use a fitness tracker, you can often earn ‘badges’ by completing certain activities, such as taking over 10,000 steps in a day. There are also plenty of other free apps in the market designed to make workouts more fun, allowing you to play games during exercise and compete against yourself or others in the community.
Buy New Workout Wear
You don’t need to break the bank or buy a whole new wardrobe, but a new yoga mat or pair of sneakers can often serve as the motivation and confidence booster needed to get your fitness back on track.
Several studies have realised the psychological impact clothing can have on us, particularly clothing that is produced for a specific purpose. One such study compared volunteers wearing lab coats to those wearing everyday clothes. After performing attention-related tasks, those wearing lab coats were found to be much more successful in completing them. Further experiments also found their performance improved when wearing a professional lab coat, as opposed to a more generic coat.
Maintain the Exercise Routine You Had Pre-Lockdown
During lockdown, we have 24-hour access to our fridges and pantries, and it can be easy to fall into patterns turn to food and snacks as a comfort measure.
To stay active and motivated, plan your exercise routine for the week. If you used to exercise three times a week, maintain this schedule and set yourself alarms or add reminders to your calendar to keep you on track.
While you may feel less motivated during this time, push yourself to exercise, even if it’s a walk around the block. Try and be stricter with your diet as well. Your routine may be out of balance so it’s important to maintain routines you had pre-lockdown. If you used to limit your snacking or if you meal-prepped for the week, try to bring this back.
Diversify Your Workouts
Diversifying your workouts can also help you stay motivated. You’ll be less likely to fall out of your routine if you keep your workouts fresh and new.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of virtual workouts to take advantage of during lockdown to help you try something new. At-home exercise equipment has also become more popular and readily available, allowing you to change up your workouts easily depending on the areas you want to work on.
Our bodies are highly adaptable, so they can become easily accustomed to regular workout routines which can often lead to a fitness or weight loss plateau. Gradually increasing intensity or incorporating new exercises into your routine can help counter this by working your muscles in new ways.
Avoiding boredom in your workout routine is key to being able to adapt a healthy lifestyle and to maintaining it long-term, as the more bored we are in an activity, the less inclined we are to continue. For instance, if you’re used to running, try picking up some weights or do an online Pilates class. Even switching up your usual walking route can make a huge difference.
Ready to break out a sweat? Ahead are three items to help get you back on that workout bandwagon.
Fitbit Luxe, $199.95