Put your mask on and keep your dumbell distance!

How to keep healthy, fit and sane during lockdown!

Please put your mask on and keep your dumbell distance! Be sure to swerve sharply to the left to avoid any contact with oncoming runners and upon your return wash those hands vigorously!

Extraordinary times indeed, where I find myself trying to reinvent exercise guidelines to fit into Covid19 rules and regulations. How do you comfortably run and breath normally with a mask on? How to keep yourself motivated without attending your favourite instructor’s class? Not being allowed to hug close friends when you meet for your morning walk, and having to put a “back off” sign on the fridge to stop you from mindlessly opening it several times an hour!

First and foremost, we all have to accept the current situation and muddle through it as best we can. It’s utterly pointless trying to fight it.

From a health point of view, my number one tip is to manage your sleep and stress and make them a priority during lockdown.

Sleep is one of those underlying issues which could hinder your efforts to lose weight and feel healthy. Therefore managing your sleep is pivotal in gearing up for a lean, healthy and happy lifestyle.

Chronic stress is an unnatural state for the body, and when it’s sustained or frequently repeated, cortisol levels get locked in high gear, leading to higher insulin levels and an around-the-clock appetite, typically for sweets and fatty foods. Elevated cortisol stockpiles calories, storing them in fat cells, especially around the tummy area for future use. It also causes a drop in the brain chemical serotonin, leading to depression, irritability and cravings.

You may not be able to control what causes your stress, but you do have control over how you respond; take an active role in managing your stress with a healthy response which will make you naturally feel less stressed out. Interestingly enough, a fit healthy body will easily deal with spiked cortisol levels, whereas an unhealthy body will struggle with cortisol highs

If your health is important to you, then embarking on a regular exercise and healthy eating regime during these times is critical, not only to manage stress and sleep, but for every aspect of your health. You cannot afford to ignore these facts, but finding the balance is key.

Here are my top guidelines for a healthy, happy body during Covid19 lockdown:

Because face masks hinder breathing it’s important to listen to your body. The workout will feel harder than normal, so I would recommend walking as opposed to running. Walking is a great way to burn calories and accumulate the recommended daily step intake, so walk for the limited time allowed outdoors and enjoy the moment.

Exercising with a reusable mask also creates a slight risk of skin infection over time so wash the mask regularly like you would any exercise clothing. Without washing it, you risk building up some bacteria.

Use the outdoors to do some of your strength training exercises. Find a bench to do step-ups and triceps dips. Walking lunges are a great way to keep your legs and glutes strong and toned, or find a patch of grass to perform some modified push-ups or even work your abs.

Keep intense exercise for indoors, without the discomfort of wearing a mask. I have a fabulous 11 minute HIIT programme which I’ve been teaching on Zoom.

Get onto Zoom with your favourite instructor! The fitness world has gone virtual and once you get your head around it, you may even give up your gym membership for life. Online training is time-efficient, you can wear what you like, and work out with some of the top fitness instructors in the world.

If you’ve previously felt intimidated to walk into a gym or class (as so many of us do), here’s your chance to workout in the comfort of your own home and build your confidence.

A little discipline during lockdown will motivate you to keep healthy and when you’re happy and healthy you’re less likely to raid the fridge.


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