The COVID restrictions have taken their toll on many aspects of our lives. Many people find that they are eating more, drinking more alcohol and lacking motivation. That's why it's so important to be aware of your daily habits and make a genuine effort to stay active during lockdown. After all, staying active boosts the immune system as well as your general physical and mental heath and wellbeing.
The Health Service Exective says:
You can transform your life by being physically active. Exercise helps with not only your physical health but your mental health. It releases chemicals in your brain (endorphins) that have a positive effect on your mood and your body.
It doesn't take huge changes. Start small. Just keep moving, whatever your age or ability. You’ll feel better, have more energy and even live longer.
Here are some great, simple tips from the HSE on how you can introduce some activity in your daily life.
- Move in your chair. At work, set a reminder to stand up and move every 30 minutes.
- Take it easy when starting a new fitness routine. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes a few times a week and build up to the recommended 30 minutes 5 days a week.
- Walk as much as you can throughout the day. It’s a great form of activity and it’s free.
- Active housework counts toward your activity goals. Gardening, hoovering, cleaning floors and washing windows are all good ways of keeping active.
- Join an online walking or sports challenge group. People who join a group for activity are more motivated to be active. Many groups like this have appeared online since COVID restrictions began.
- Be active indoors. There are countless fitness, dance and exercise videos on YouTube which will inspire you to try something new!
- Turn up the music and have a dance.
- Put more effort into household chores. You can get a good workout sweeping or washing floors. You'll feel better and have a great looking home.
- Gardening is a good way to be physically active.
- Try balancing on one foot or stretching while you brush your teeth or watch TV.
- Use the ad breaks on the TV to do short bursts of exercise, such as squats or jumping jacks.
- Take a walk with your lunch - keep a pair of runners in your car or under your desk at work.
- Have 'walk and talk' meetings (always adhering to public health guidelines!)
- Stretch in your chair every half hour.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Turn your commute into a workout - walk, jog or bike to work. Get off your bus or train a few stops earlier or park the car farther away to extend your walking time.
Challenge yourself after you’ve gotten into the habit of walking. Set yourself goals. This might be how many steps you can take over 4 weeks or how far you can walk over 21 days.
Download the cards below from the HSE to help you keep track of your progress:
4 Week Step Challenge record card
21 Day Walking Challenge