This year, especially, is a really challenging time, both physically and mentally. Usually, we set ourselves targets to ‘get back into running’ or ‘get rid of that gut’, but Covid 19 – and its new variant – are making things tougher for some of us. Many of us are struggling to juggle working from home and keeping the kids on track with their home studies – and then when they’ve finished them (if they ever do), keeping them entertained so that we can maintain focus on our own work.
A lot of us are still going to work ‘as normal’, or as near to it as we can manage. This has its own stresses; needing to interact with other people and perhaps being worried that children are also mixing with others in schools. The rest of us still need to go shopping to put food on the table, so there may be anxiety attached here too. With gyms being closed and only limited outdoor (out of home, that is) exercise being allowed, it’s also much trickier to get that physical bump that we all need too.
Every year, the list is scribbled out, the home exercise gear is bought and good intentions are believed. We’re possibly all guilty of trying too hard – not with the resultant exercise but with the preparation. The first few days go really well and aching muscles ascribe to our strenuous endeavours, but then a day is missed, followed by another couple, and before we know it, the new equipment stays folded up in the corner of the room and the sweats remain sweaty in the bottom of the wash bin.
This year, we probably need to make a more concerted effort. Not to do more, just to do something – and to continue doing that something. I personally found last summer to be a lot easier; it was warm, dry and sunny most of the time, and easier, therefore, to get out and keep fit whilst soaking up the sun. Cold, damp, dark weather tends to not only keep us indoors more, but also saps our mood. This has a knock-on effect of lower motivation, so it’s great to give yourself some impetus at the start of the New Year – just make sure it remains continually achievable.
There’s an interesting article I found online regarding light exercise that lists a few ideas to get you started with the physical aspect by just integrating some new methodologies into your normal daily routine [WikiHow]:
- Get up and stretch every 30 minutes and walk a little every 60 minutes.
- Park your car or get off the bus 10 minutes from your destination.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift when possible.
- Put on music that makes you want to dance whilst doing housework.
I especially like the idea of parking a ten-minute walk away from my destination. Perhaps that’s because I can see it saving money on cheaper car parking! The same article also gives advice for people who are complete physical exercise novices, and then something a bit more adventurous if you can make the time:
- Go for a 30-minute walk or light jog in between activities during the day.
- Walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike at an easy pace.
- Use instructional videos to do yoga or tai chi at home.
- Do light strength training 2-3 times weekly to round off your exercise routine.
As far as the retention of good mental health goes, the NHS have a simple five-point plan:
- Connect with other people.
- Be physically active.
- Learn new skills.
- Give to others.
- Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness).
It doesn’t take a massive amount of effort to get started. In fact, if you’re reasonably well organised you can get a plan together quite easily. The trick is to make that plan fit within your daily routine, time constraints and be fun enough to keep you engaged moving forwards. Have a look online at some different routines and ideas and give them a go. Our sister company, PE PRO has just launched our FREE online PE challenges every day. Have a look at our social media links to find out more about them:
And don’t forget – have fun!