As we get used to this new norm of staying at home and self-isolating, it’s more important than ever to move your body and dance like no one’s watching!
I miss the gym. More than I ever thought I would. I miss going for hikes, long walks and the vibrancy of moving about outside. Yet, the importance of staying indoors currently to protect yourself and others is paramount and must be done.
That said, moving about and getting some exercise is necessary to keep your body and mind functioning well, strengthening your immune system and keeping your spirits up - whether you’ve been an avid gym-goer or not.
So how do you stay fit and active in a home environment we’ve traditionally associated with lounging and relaxing? Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to stay active, along with some accessible resources, which I hope can help you during the days to come:
- Get your body moving as you wake up
- Be active even while studying or working
- Make time for a home-workout
- Use your body weight
- Dance away at home
Although the temptation to stay in bed longer is harder to resist, having a routine where you get out of bed, shower and maybe make a coffee prompts simple movement. You can do a few simple stretches or side bends, even in the kitchen, to get your blood circulating.
Alternatively, you could take the chance to learn something new and try a guided yoga routine in your bedroom. There are many free flows available on YouTube and free apps, where you could choose to stretch, sweat-it-out or improve your flexibility.
Tip: Yoga with Adriene routines are free on YouTube and are particularly simple and easy to follow.
Create your little workspace where you can sit-up straight while working/studying and be sure to alternate periods of work between sitting and standing.
Take regular screen breaks every 20-30mins. Go for a quick walk to get some fresh air, walk around the house, around your backyard, climb up and down stairs or play with your pet. Tip: Try not to work in bed. Your bed should remain a place of sleep, rest and comfort at the end of the day.
With so much time on our hands, regular exercise is now possible. There are hundreds of circuit-training, HIIT or Tabata workouts freely available on YouTube. It will get your heart pumping, burn calories and energy up. Here are some examples of ‘Tabata HIIT’ and ‘No equipment body workouts’ on YouTube to try out.
Alternatively, Melbourne University Sport is also providing a vast range of activities, including online group fitness classes with access to the well-known Les Mills workouts, exclusive workouts for the day and tips to stay active.
Tip: Alternating between different workout types is recommended, depending on your fitness goals and to keep yourself enthused/entertained.
Many studies show that strength-based exercises using your body weight are great for your health and wellness. You could do squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups using your body weight and alternatively combine resistance exercises using a wall or chair.
Tip: If you need some weights for your workouts, don’t worry. You can use filled-up water bottles, repurpose plastic milk cartons filled with water, bags of rice or even backpacks in your workouts.
If none of the above works for you, well, the option of dancing is always there. Dancing is a great way to get that movement in your body, pump up your heart rate and maintain fitness. Get your friends to join in on video, listen to music or live-stream concerts and dance away!
So far, I’m finding that staying active, trying new things and challenging my body is helping keep my spirits up during this challenging time. Remember, you can always start small, drawing upon as many resources and support services as you need. Make your fitness and health a priority, so that when we’re all finally able to get out there, we will ready, mind and body!
Ashani Ratnayake, MBS Student