Third times a charm! England is back to a national lockdown as of 6th of January 2021, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about keeping (or getting) active. Lockdown 1.0 & 2.0 were a little different, it was warmer, the weather was better and I think many people weren't thinking we'd still be stuck indoors in 2021.
Getting active can be challenging at the best of times, but it's a bit harder during a pandemic. Here are some ways to get a fitness in during this lockdown!
Ok, this one was more fun during the first couple of lockdowns. The warmer weather made for a good walk but just because it's a bit nippy outside doesn't mean you can't go for a walk. We're allowed to go outside for exercise once a day, by yourself, with people you live with, with one other person not from your household if alone or with someone you have a support bubble with. I'd recommend going to quiet places and avoiding crowds, although that was my recommendation before COVID too.
If you're looking for a way to jazz up a walk, bring along your headphones. Music, podcasts and audiobooks melt away the miles on a long walk. If you like the sound of a walk and an audiobook you can get a free audiobook by clicking here. (affiliate link)
2. Running and jogging
It's a great way to keep fit! Harder than walking of course, but effective, nevertheless. It starts off being a cheap hobby too, although it can get pricey when you get into it (£120 shoes, £150 wireless headphone, £300 activity monitor, £100 moisture wicking clothing and the free trial to STRAVA, because nobody actually subscribes!).
If you're just starting, I recommend doing a couch to 5K program. That's what I did when I started running. I used the app by Public Health England and had Michael Johnson in my ear telling me what to do, other celebrities are available. There's a 9 week program and you start with short jogs and walking, as you progress the jogging intervals get longer and in your final week you'll be running for half an hour.
Running is a safe activity but an issue many people bump into is aches and pains. A bit of muscular soreness is going to happen, its call DOMS which stands for Delayed-onset muscle soreness. DOMS occurs when a muscle is repairing after it has been broken down by exercise, and it's particularly prevalent when you start a new activity or training style. Pain is a bit of a red flag. It's common in new runners not because running is bad for your joints, but people push themselves too hard and do too much too soon. Your body needs time to adapt to the stimulus, if you go out hammer and tongs your body will tell you you've over done it with pain. So take your time, build it up slowly and allow for days off for your body to recover.
If you develop a re-occurring pain or niggle, it's best practice to speak to a health professional like a physiotherapist to get assessed.
3. Now Active On Demand (Update - Now called Now Active Virtual Classes)
Am I going to recommend my services? Yes, yes I am, but I'll put it in at number 3 so it's less obvious. I started Now Active On Demand because I think these lockdowns have changed peoples habits, many people have discovered the benefits of working out from home. It's cheaper, the equipment's always free, there's no commute and there's no-one grunting in the corner (or at least there's fewer people grunting in the corner).
Now Active On Demand is my follow along fitness video service, for just £9.99 a month you'll get 5 follow along workout videos a week. The workouts change every week, so you shouldn't get bored doing the same thing repeatedly. There's even a free 1 week trial to try before you buy! If you don't like it, you can cancel your subscription by going to the members area and if you do it before the end of the free trial you won't be charged a thing.
When I started working out, I began with home workouts, I found some apps and some videos to follow and it was a great way to start. A problem I kept having was with the repetition. The apps I used would repeat the same workouts again and again, and the quality of the workouts would be inconsistent following along to YouTube videos, and they'd often have movements that I simply couldn't do. I remembered all this when I was building Now Active On Demand, the workouts change every week and there're modifications to challenging movements so you should be able to follow along no matter where you're at with your fitness.
4. House work and gardening
It may not seem like a workout and it isn't glamorous, but it definitely can be exercise and anything that gets people off the couch and moving counts. Work that involves lifting and moving objects like gardening can be an effective way of incorporating some resistance training into your life, and 1 hour of housework could burn 100 to 300 calories! So maybe it's time to start ticking things off your to do list!
5. Online fitness classes
With gyms closed there are thousands of Personal Trainers offering online fitness classes, from aerobics to Zumba if you can think of it, then there's already a Zoom class for it. The quality of the classes will vary depending on who you go with so have a look around and try a couple out to find the best one for you.
Personally, I recommend one where they monitor you instead of working out with you. Zoom classes are normally much more expensive than workout videos and if the instructor is miles away from their screen not checking up on your form or offering encouraging or helpful words when you're flagging you're basically doing a workout video but paying more for it.
Pre COVID when studios were open it was much easier for instructors to monitor their participants and show the workout at the same time as you were all in the same place but right now you're on an iPad screen on the other side of the room, if the instructors working out with you and coaching efficiently, they've got to have incredible eyesight!
Something you get with these classes is a social element, you get to talk and see people albeit digitally and at times like these social interaction is important. Some instructors will open their conference rooms 5 - 10 minutes early because they've learnt it's something their members want or need.
I hope you've found this post helpful. If you've got any ideas on how to keep active, post them in the comments below.