TRAINING DURING LOCKDOWN
When you’re stuck at home, traveling with work, on vacation, or quarantining/ lockdown, it isn’t easy to stick to an exercise routine or keep track of your fitness goals. You may have limited access to fitness facilities or find it difficult to adjust to a new routine. So what do you think about starting training at your own home during this period that we are facing in Sydney?
Maintaining an exercise routine at home or in a hotel room can seem more like a ‘should’ than a ‘want to’. However, even a small amount of activity can make a huge difference to how well you think and feel. In fact, exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for staying physically and mentally healthy.
Making an exercise plan
Planning is key to developing and maintaining an exercise routine. When making an exercise plan, consider the time you have available and your energy and stress levels. Whatever your circumstances are, set reasonable goals focusing on activities that you enjoy. You are more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you start small. Other important aspects are: celebrate your success and build up gradually!
To follow your plan, try to be loyal to these three things:
1. Prioritize your workouts despite all your other responsibilities,
2. Workout at the time that is right for you, for example if you are more active during the morning, include your training at this part of your day.
3. Be specific in your goals and track your workouts.
Training at home
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and with limited space.
Feeling in a gym
If you have space available, designate an inviting area of your home to exercise and keep your equipment handy. Try using resistance bands, water bottles, or your own body weight to perform resistance exercises. You could start by doing push-ups against the wall then progress to doing them against the kitchen counter, the coffee table, and finally on the floor. Do you have stairs at home? Stair climbing is an efficient strength training activity. Keep one foot on a step and step up and down several times (or try stepping up two steps for an even tougher workout).
Following an online exercise class can also be a good idea for the ones who don’t feel comfortable training by yourself. Take advantage of the wealth of online exercise classes. Many of these are free and can be found on YouTube. If you have no experience performing these exercises, be cautious and aware of your own limitations.
Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active. If you have a call, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down. If you decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 1-meter distance from other people.
Reduce your sedentary time by standing up whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting and reclining time every 30 minutes. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing. During sedentary leisure time prioritize cognitively stimulating activities, such as reading, board games, and puzzles.
To support individuals in staying physically active while at home, Gracie Sydney has prepared a set of examples of home-based exercises.
Knee to elbow
Touch one knee with the opposite elbow, alternating sides. Find your own pace. Try to perform this for 1–2 minutes, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates.
Support your forearms firmly on the ground, with the elbows under the shoulders. Keep the hips at the level of the head. Hold for 20–30 seconds (or more, if possible), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your belly, arms and legs.
Touch your ears with your fingertips and lift your upper body, keeping the legs on the ground. Lower the upper body again. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your back muscles.
Place your feet at hip distance with the toes pointing slightly outwards. Bend the knees as much as feels comfortable, keeping the heels on the ground and the knees over (not in front of) the feet. Bend and stretch the legs. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your legs and glutes.
Side knee lifts
Touch your knee with your elbow, lifting the knee to the side, alternating sides. Find your own pace. Try to perform this for 1–2 minutes, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates.
Place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lift one arm forward and the opposite leg back, alternating sides. Perform this exercise 20–30 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your belly, glutes and back muscles.
Plant your feet firmly on the ground with the knees over the heels. Lift the hips as much as it feels comfortable and slowly lower them again. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your glutes.
Hold onto the seat of a chair, with your feet about half a meter away from the chair. Bend your arms as you lower your hips to the ground, then straighten the arms. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your triceps.
Don’t forget to stretch yourself before and after exercise! Here are some movements to improve your training and body conditioning.
Interlace your fingers behind your back. Stretch your arms and open your chest forward. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds (or more). This position stretches your chest and shoulders.
With the knees on the ground, bring your hips to your heels. Rest your belly on your thighs and actively stretch your arms forward. Breathe normally. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds (or more). This position stretches your back, shoulders and sides of the body.
Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs crossed (alternatively, sit on a chair). Make sure your back is straight. Close your eyes, relax your body and progressively deepen your breathing. Concentrate on your breath, trying not to focus on any thoughts or concerns. Remain in this position for 5–10 minutes or more, to relax and clear your mind.
Legs up the wall
Bring your hips close (5–10 cm) to the wall and let your legs rest. Close your eyes, relax your body and progressively deepen your breathing. Concentrate on your breath, trying not to focus on any thought or concern. Rest in this pose for up to 5 minutes. This position is meant to be comfortable, relaxing and de-stressing.
Now it’s with you and your own willing to keep moving your body during lockdown! Wear your best gym clothes, take your bottle of water and let’s sweat a little bit at home before we sweat again on the Gracie’s mats.
See you soon,
Gracie Humaita Sydney.
By Fernanda Monteiro.