5 Ways You Can Improve Your Fitness During Lockdown

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January is the month where the whole world has a look at their fitness and decides to make a change.

For many, they are fresh off a few weeks of festive feasting and it is now time to get back to normality.

For others, this can feel like the final straw as they wish to change unhealthy habits that have accumulated over the years.

And for those in the fitness industry, it is usually a great time.

The gyms are bustling as everyone is eager and motivated to start the year in a positive manner.

However, as I write this article, all gyms are closed and as such, your only chance of getting fit again is either in your front room or your local park.

You do not need to be a gambler to bet that this January will be the most difficult when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.

Yet, you cannot let a band hand stop you from playing.

In 2017, Frank Booth et al published a study showing how physical inactivity can increase your likelihood of suffering from 35 chronic diseases.

Currently, being medically overweight is seen as a risk factor for the Covid-19 pandemic that has parylsed everyones’ lives. 

You are at the card table and you have been dealt a band hand. That does not mean it is time to throw down your cards and walk away.

Instead, I am going to show the five best ways that you can stay fit throughout this lockdown.

1. Increasing Your Daily activity

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (or NEAT, as us fitpros refer to it as) may be a bit of a mouthful but it is an important concept when weight loss is in mind. 

It refers to the fact your body will burn up lots of calories outside of your allotted exercise sessions.

It sounds complex but in truth, it is the difference between moving about on your feet or sitting on your bum.

The best way of doing this is by tracking your steps day-to-day and then, trying to increase them week-to-week.

What does that look like in practice?

Getting out for a walk everyday is the obvious one; it could also be walking to the supermarket instead of driving, or getting up from the work desk every hour and moving about the house for 5 minutes.

Whatever it looks like, if your steps are improving the liklihood is you are, too.

2. Running

You are not the only one who is reaching into the cupboard and dusting off your old running trainers.

Running has always been a popular method to increase your fitness in January.

The barrier for entry is fairly low; all you need is little else than a pair of trainers.

Once you have that equipment sorted,  you just need to get yourself out there.

I would not describe myself as a runner but here is my advice; start small and start slowly.

If you’re new to running, start off with some walking and jogging intervals; i.e. walk for a minute, jog for a minute for 15-30 minutes, depending on how you feel.

If you’re more of a seasoned runner, keep your pace comfortable and consistent.

Either way, gradually increase your jogging intervals and/or up your pace or  week by week.

The bottom line is you just have to keep moving, keep the routine and as the Spencer Davis Group told us back in the 60’s, “Keep on running!”

3. Home Workouts

 Your living room has never been so aptly named.

You will be juggling a mixture of work, play and rest as life seems to exist between these four walls.

When it comes to the home gym, the yoga mat might be on the ground and the resistance bands in arms reach but unfortunately, the hard part is figuring out how best to use them.

If you are lost, fire up social media and try to follow along with a respected fitness professional’s home workout.

In the short term, this can be the difference between a rest day becoming a rest week. Long term, though, you are going to need a plan.

If you have some fitness pals, this could be a good excuse for a catch up call.

Better yet, if you do have a personal trainer that you trust, now would be a great time to see if they are offering some online coaching.

The fitness world has been shaken to its core lately so not only are you supporting yourself by keeping fit and healthy but you have an added bonus of supporting a local business too.

4. Outdoor Workouts

When Improve opened up for some outdoor sessions in August, I found myself pondering ‘Why is this not more popular here?’

Two hours later, the heavens opened and I stood tall and soaked, like I had just finished a rendition of that scene in ‘Flashdance.’

When the weather holds, outdoor workouts can be an amazing way of keeping fit.

It opens up the variety of movements you can perform: jumps, pull ups and sprints all become especially difficult when you live in a flat.

Another benefit is that under current guidelines, you can meet with another person for a socially distanced workout.

For those who are not the lone wolf in the gym, this can give some much needed accountability when you get to meet up with your beloved gym buddy.

Furthermore, if you have a personal trainer who offers this, this can be your only chance for some in-person coaching to occur.

In terms of getting the most from your sessions, outdoor workouts could be your best bet.

…just make sure to check the weather forecast first!

5. Zoom Workouts

 Remember when ‘zoom’ was just the thing you did when you were taking a picture of your pal and you wanted to annoy them?

Software like Zoom has become a lifesaver as the world tries to keep up with the social life it once knew and loved.

For those who love training with others, it has become the way of exercising.

Group training can often help people to work a little harder, train more consistently and most importantly, enjoy their sessions much more.

Similarly, this allows you to get some real-time coaching from an expert in their field.

Whether you are used to yoga, dance or HIIT classes, someone in your local area will have set up sessions online.

Even if you have moved away from an old trainer, now could be the perfect time to check in with them and see if they are offering something online.

Certainly, you can get very fit without doing a pushup in front of your laptop.

However, if you find you are struggling to get the fitness ball rolling in 2021, looking into some Zoom workouts could be your answer.

Regardless of how you exercise, sorting out a routine that is achievable and enjoyable is where success lies.

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