By SHEENA MABILANGAN
Many people have started working out at home during the lockdown, but as restrictions begin to ease, the question is, can we make fitness a part of our lifestyle when our busy work schedules resume? And, because people are afraid to gather in one place, can we still do it without access to fitness facilities and equipment?
The answer is absolutely.
It all starts with habits we choose day in and day out and making conscious efforts to prioritizing health.
Here are some tips in keeping healthy and active in a world without gyms, and without all the time lockdown gave us:
1. Schedule a consistent time each week (ideally three times a week) of exercise. There really isn’t any excuse with the amount of virtual classes that have become accessible since the lockdown, and not to mention Youtube has always had an endless list of instruction videos. The resources are endless. If you really struggle to keep yourself accountable, then ask a friend (or a few) to join you.
2. If you feel you’re unsure as to where to start and need assistance to build confidence, then invest in a coach to help get you started. They are a great way to keep you accountable with proper technique and form.
3. Don’t get discouraged when you miss a session. As long as you’re moving, you can still get a bare minimum of active minutes in. Don’t shy away from adding it in. The more you let it slide, you’ll lose that motive.
4. For daily commuters who drive to work on a daily basis, have a look at a map and see if there are alternate spots to park where you can maximize your step count. Park a little farther from your workplace to get yourself more of an opportunity for you to keep fit. Yes, accumulating steps are a great way to get physical movement in. How much is recommended? Ideally, a recommended target is 10,000 steps. If you know you only get 2,000, start off adding in 1,000 steps each week before we endeavor a high count.
5. For those who want a bit more of a challenge, try and take the ‘tougher’ route. By tough I mean the stairs. If you have access to the stairwell at work, your condominium, or even when you go to the shops, by all means, take it. This is a great way to build leg endurance and strength. It’s also a great thing to add to your workouts if you’re short on time.
6. If you want to be really ambitious with activity, try and invest in a bike to work. Not only is it better for the environment, it also keeps you active in a pretty cool way. It also saves you from spending on petrol and finding parking. Just make sure to invest in a a sturdy brand, and that you pack a set of spare clothes, and wear safety gear such as a high visibility shirt and a helmet. You might even potentially want to partake in cycling events in future.
7. A great suggestion for those who manage a team in a workplace, create or propose a timeframe where you can go for a walk for meetings (if you don’t require a presentation) even if it is 10 minutes to promote blood flow and less sedentary habits. We all rely on coffee but walking a great alternative to get the body stimulated by elevating the heart rate. Ask your friends to join you on a walk outside for lunch with the appropriate protocols of maintaining social distancing.8. For those who are still working from home, remove or reduce what won’t support you on your goals. This can include decluttering space that you can convert to a space to exercise. Buy more fruit or veggies, and a two-liter drink bottle to enhance hydration. These are simple and great changes that can have a massive effect.9. For those who have kids, get them involved rather than keeping them away. It’s a great way to educate the benefits of movement and for you to get involved with your kids. You’ll be surprised how much they love to copy you. 10. On days that you find it tough to implement high intensity exercises—like you had a long day at work and just don’t feel like elevating your heart rate more—there are always the slower and more steady movements such as yoga, meditation,and stretching. These are great methods for those who feel limited and great routine to apply before going to bed and waking up. It may be a different sort of exercise but these aregreat to help slow down your mind, help align your breathing,and fix your posture. All you really need is a floor, mat, or towel.
As we go into the new normal, we want to make sure that we prioritize health in any form. Start by making better choices for you and your family. At the end of the day, it’s better to be in a preventative scenario rather than being susceptible/ prone to metabolic diseases.
Sheena Mabilangan is a qualified Cert 3 and 4 personal trainer with five years of experience, Cert 3 and 4 allied health professional, and CrossFit coach and part owner of UFT Playgrounds.