How to STAY mentalLY FIT DURING lockdown
Fitness sensation Joe Wicks has candidly discussed feeling down and stressed during the coronavirus lockdown, so if you're feeling the same, you're in good company: the nation's PE Teacher feels the same! We know that exercise can make us feel better, we've all experienced the post-workout high, but sometimes it's difficult to get motivated. We asked our very own fitness guru and chief motivator - Kieran Hanshaw - what he'll be doing during lockdown:
"I will be going offline more and enjoying what I have around me! Where we live online workouts aren't essential. Make time for family, rest and do the things that you never get time for. I encourage offline workouts and cooking."
Working-out, whether it's indoors, outdoors or both(!), can help your mental fitness. In case you need some motivation to get you started, here are 4 pointers for starters:
Cardiovascular exercise helps create new brain cells. This enhances brainpower and brain activity.
Exercising increases the production of cells that are responsible for learning and memory.
Exercising increases the number of endorphins that are released into your body and increases productivity.
Exercising can help ease your mind and rejuvenate your body. Working out will make you feel great and boost your confidence.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU EXERCISE?
Well, the guidance changes of course, but as we write, this is where we stand: on April 16 the nationwide lockdown was extended for at least three weeks. However, there was a silver lining. To coincide with the extension, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) released new guidelines that aim to clear up any confusion about what you can and can’t do during the lockdown.
"Exercising more than once per day" is found listed in the 'likely to be reasonable' column of the policing document - but it comes with a condition. "The only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a 'reasonable excuse' for leaving home," reads the guidance. What it effectively means is that it's up to you to make that decision - but try to ensure you're making it rationally and selflessly.
You are also able to stop to rest or have lunch on a bench - as long as the time exercising is longer than the time 'resting'.
In light of this, how can you stay happy and healthy through exercise?
It is good to split your exercise into health and fitness if you don't have to squeeze both into one workout. Firstly, it's good to think about cardio. Going out for a long walk or run is positive for your mental wellbeing, and keeps you healthy.
The second 'exercise' could be something more outcome-orientated - what would you like to achieve? Would you like to be leaner? Fitter? Stronger? Think about your goal and research ways to achieve that specifically - if you need advice, you can always get in touch with us and we'll help.
Plan & develop a routine
Not everything is in your control right now, but your exercise is. A good thing to do is to split your workouts out into AM and PM if you can. Routine is good for mental wellbeing, especially when everything else is so unpredictable. Try to mix up indoor and outdoor exercise. Setting yourself a goal also helps, so if you want to achieve results in three weeks, research workouts that are in line with that. Listening to music helps to amp your workout too - find out more.
Write it down
If you're feeling low, it's possible to use your exercise to guide a positive-pivot in your thinking. Pause, and take a moment to write down what you have learned about yourself in the last three weeks; base this on your exercise goal. How much progress have you made? What's working for you? What's not? What's working that you can focus on for the next three weeks? Reviewing this will help keep your motivation high and will remind you that, even when it feels like things are unpredictable, you still have control.
Talk it out
Our final tip is to talk it out. When you come to SALT, you're used to social connection, and that's sorely missing right now (we know - we're feeling it too!) If you are feeling particularly out-of-sorts, and you need a really effective solution to help you feel better, there's nothing better than conversation. Free apps such as Zoom can help you connect with people near and far, and you don't have to make a lot of effort, simply sit and have a cup of tea together. It could even be more subtle than that - if you take a walk, greet people. If you’re taking a walk at the same time every day you’ll get to know people, so you can say hello. Just a little connection can help.