The complete guide to maintaining health and fitness during lockdown
The Coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on our lives. Several months ago, many of us had never heard of the term COVID-19, let alone the pending impact that the virus would have.
With lockdown and social distancing now part of the new normal, we have to work harder than ever to maintain peak condition. The good news, however, is that you are not alone in facing these challenges.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide for athletes and amateurs alike, designed to answer all your questions and provide you with some easy and accessible activities and exercises in order to effectively manage your health and fitness during lockdown.
Why lockdown makes you tired
A large number of us are finding lockdown tiring – this almost seems like an impossible concept, but rest assured, it is normal to feel this way.
If you find that your new lifestyle during lockdown is making you tired, this could be due to any one of a number of factors.
- Your sleeping pattern has changed – you may have been furloughed or begun working from home. Whatever your situation, you may find that bad habits have crept in to your day-to-day living pattern. Be mindful of the fact that going to bed just 1-2 hours later than you used to could make a huge difference to your sleeping pattern, and can lead to fatigue if you are waking up at the same time the next day.
- Lack of exposure to sunlight – it has been cited by professionals that a lack of vitamin D could lead to feelings of grogginess or fatigue. Make sure to monitor your vitamin D intake, and consider safely spending time in your garden during the warmer months in order to ensure you are gaining important vitamins from natural sunlight. If you are concerned about your vitamin D intake, speak to your GP. They may recommend vitamin supplements.
- Lack of ‘fight-or-flight’ response – many of us may translate tiredness as simply not being alert and full of energy. In truth, our newfound state of mind could simply mean that we are calmer and more relaxed. In our normal day-to-day lives we find ourselves rushing around, trying to achieve as much as possible in as little time as we can. Stressful or anxious times in our day can lead to that feeling of fight or flight, where the body and mind becomes heightened and alert. Consider whether or not you actually feel genuinely tired at the moment, or if you are simply not battling as many challenges throughout your day as you were before. Being less physically active can also equal feeling more tired. Make the most of daily exercise opportunities!
Can lockdown cause depression?
It can prove to be extremely difficult to manage our mental health and fitness during lockdown.
With many UK and international stores selling out of home gym and fitness equipment and a lack of space for many to exercise, self-isolation and social distancing can make it extremely difficult to stay on top of things. In addition to this, for those who already suffer with sports performance anxiety and depression, lockdown and self-isolation can lead to a downward spiral, and it’s vitally important to combat any negative thoughts or feelings that you may have.
Human interaction is vitally important during this time, and there are a number of short-term solutions which can be beneficial during the coronavirus lockdown:
- Online Yoga classes
- Virtual group exercise classes
- Discussing your concerns with a healthcare professional
If you are an athlete and feel yourself ‘slipping’, take a look at our article on how anxiety effects sports performance and get some top tips on how to combat the negative effects of anxiety for good.
Lockdown without a garden
Many people do not have the luxury of a garden or private outdoor space to relax and exercise in. This can make it more difficult to effectively manage your health and fitness in the long-term – but that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t adapt.
If you live in a flat or don’t have access to a garden, there are are a number of tactics that you can adopt to make the most of what you do have:
- Bring the outdoors in – plants, flowers and herbs can all be grown inside. Clear a space on your window sill and ensure that they get the right level of sunlight. Not only will you get enjoyment from growing and maintaining them, but you will also find your self-isolation cooking improve when you start sprinkling basil leaves over your salad, or adding mint to your roast lamb! There are also a number of lighting solutions available on the market which are designed to improve the quality of indoor light, emulating natural daylight and combatting the negative effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Ensure a clean and tidy living area – let’s face it, we all need to accept the fact that over the coming weeks and months we are spending more time indoors than ever before. Make sure that you have a home to be proud of, by keeping your leaving space as clean and tidy as possible.
- Start the day the right way – there are a number of great ways to kick-start your day. From meditation to list-writing, decide what works for you and adopt a morning routine that works. This will help make sure that you don’t spend the day on the sofa, craving that garden that you don’t currently have.
- Open windows – make sure you have a constant flow of fresh air, and ensure that you open your windows during the daytime. You’ll be amazed by the difference it can make.
- Make the most of your daily outdoor exercise – at time of writing this, the British public are able to leave their home for essential travel or one form of daily exercise. Make the most of this opportunity and go outdoors if it is safe to do so, practising social distancing and burning calories at the same time.
Lockdown is making me fat
Okay, we hate to break it to you, but if you feel this way let us assure you – lockdown is not making you fat.
Whilst you may find yourself experiencing weight-gain during this period, it’s probably because you haven’t adequately adapted to a new way of life which is needed in the current climate.
You are no-doubt covering far less miles on a daily basis than you were before, group exercise activities such as squash or 5-a-side football that were part of your previous schedule are no more and let’s face it – you’ve probably started comfort eating and drinking throughout the week.
If you are concerned that you are putting on weight during lockdown, it’s important to first discover the root cause of this.
- Are you eating more than before?
- Are you eating differently to how you used to?
- Are you exercising less?
- Are you watching TV more?
- Have you introduced alcohol to your midweek diet?
- Has your sleeping pattern changed?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, chances are your body will undergo changes in line with your lifestyle changes. Identify the reason behind your weight gain and develop a plan to combat any unhealthy bodily changes during this time.
How lockdown might be lifted
The truth is that we don’t yet know exactly how and when lockdown might be lifted. What is important is that we continue to follow rules and restrictions put in place by the government at all times.
At the time of writing this article, Britain is in the midst of its first lockdown, which could in time become one of many. There are plans for the gentle reintroduction of sport and social activity further down the line, and we may well find a number of sporting fixtures being completed behind closed doors under strict social distancing measures. Many professional sports may not be functioning fully until sometime in 2021 and athletes should prepare for all possible eventualities.
As and when sporting activity does begin to resume, check out our ultimate coronavirus checklist for athletes and sportspeople which has a number of tactics designed to help create a sensible and safe working environment for amateur and professional athletes alike.
For up-to-date information on government advice and guidelines on lockdown, it is best to visiting the gov.uk website to find out more.
There are a number of lockdown health and fitness activities that are perfect for individuals, couples and families. Here are just a few of our favourites…
Activities for individuals
- Weight training
- Shadow boxing
- Running – one form of outdoor daily activity
- Stair climbs
Activities for couples
- Yoga – great on your own, and a fantastic way for couples to connect and stay fit
- ‘Reach and touch’ plank
- Dynamic stretching
- Back-to-back wall-sits
- Garden sports – badminton, catch, frisbee
Activities for families
- A Saturday night boogie!
- Piggy in the middle
- Walking – one form of outdoor daily activity
- 2 v 2 garden football
- Housework – give it a competitive edge and make it fun!
Online injury rehabilitation
During the coronavirus pandemic, Jenkins Soft Tissue Therapy is not offering face-to-face treatments, but our online injury rehabilitation packages are perfect for managing injury during lockdown. Contact us today to find out more.