Updated: Apr 23, 2021
Struggling to kickstart your health and fitness journey because of lockdown? Finding it hard to stay fit & healthy at home?
Lockdown has left many of us feeling demotivated and struggling to stay active. We’re having to face a new reality of spending most of our time at home, and it’s starting to take a toll on all of our physical and mental health. For some of you out there, gym closures mean you may have stopped exercising all together. Not to mention the fact that the weather is cold and the prospect of going for ANOTHER walk just doesn’t appeal.
The reality is that there has never been a more important time to be fit and healthy. Factors such as obesity, poor immunity and weak cardiovascular health can play a key role in helping us combat Covid.
Keeping this in mind, here’s 8 tips & tricks to help you stay fit and active from the comfort and safety of your own home!
Set yourself small daily goals
At the beginning of lockdown, I purchased a small, budget friendly whiteboard to write myself little checklists for the day. It honestly has helped me to stay on track, and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can tick things off it throughout the day. If you don’t feel like purchasing one, just use a pen and pad!
Your daily checklist doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Small things done incrementally help you to create habits which you’re more likely to adopt and stick to over time. For example, I include things like – morning stretches (literally for 3-5 minutes whilst I’m waiting for my coffee to brew or porridge to be ready!) and ‘drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water every day’ or ‘go for a walk’. More recently I even write things like ‘move a little every hour’ just to remind myself to avoid sitting for too long and stiffening up. Something as simple as making a list at the start of each day can really make a difference to help you stay motivated, fit and active!
Have breakfast and try to get in your 5-a-day
This might sound obvious, but it’s a game changer for me in terms of my energy levels throughout the day. With the majority of us being forced to work from home, it’s easy to roll out of bed and straight to the laptop to check work emails. If you can, I recommend taking the time to sit down and enjoy breakfast. Set yourself up for the day with a healthy breakfast (See my top 3 recommendations for healthy & delicious options here!) and you’ll find you’re less likely to face an energy crash later, and the subsequent risk of snacking on low quality, sugary foods! Try to get in 5 portions of fruit & veg each day too to help boost your immunity. How you eat will play a key role in your overall energy and mood, so take the time to eat nutritious food!
Exercise in the morning
You’ll set yourself up for the day and will be less likely to skip it by saying you’ll do it ‘later!’ You don’t need a state-of-the-art home gym to stay fit! You also don’t need much equipment to get you started. Many of my clients do bodyweight only workouts for 20 minutes in the morning, and it’s all they need. If you have dumbbells, perfect. Add them in for extra resistance, but don’t worry if you don’t. Just grab a matt (or comfortable carpet!) and some budget friendly resistance bands from Amazon and you’re good to go! If you’re looking for workouts you can do at home, or need some coaching, check out Bel’s recommended online coaches here.
Recently, I’ve heard from people looking to get fit after finding themselves moving less than ever this past year. If you track your daily steps, you may have noticed a significant drop since the lockdowns hit. Many of us are in the same boat. Don’t worry. Just move when you can. I tell my clients to try and walk 250 steps every hour. If you’re on your 100th zoom call of the day, then try standing and walking whilst talking.
If you can hide your camera on a call you don’t need to be on (I’ve been there!), then try getting in some squats or lunges. We burn more calories from non-exercise activity in a typical day, so try and move as much as you can!
Keep screen time to a minimum
Lockdown, and this new way of living, has resulted in a screen-time surge for the majority of people. We’re spending longer periods in front of our phones, laptops and televisions. Do your best to give your eyes a rest and put the phone down (after you read this blog!). Try to do other things which are less draining on your energy levels. Read a book or listen to a podcast. I recommend putting on some music and doing some gentle exercise or getting in some stretches.
With a decrease in overall activity, many people are not consuming enough water throughout the day, and it’s impacting energy levels and overall mood. Consider buying a budget friendly flask from Amazon with a measure down the side which tells you how much water you’ve consumed! It’s actually a really effective way to get you to drink more! If you don’t want to buy a flask, I’d suggest aiming to consume about 8 glasses of water each day. Tick them off your checklist as you go!
Avoid consuming alcohol daily
I know. I know. There’s ‘nothing else to do’. I hear you. The reality is that alcohol can play havoc with our mood and health. Try opting for 3-4 nights off drinking, or consuming less. For example, if you're currently drinking 2 glasses of wine each night, have 1 or opt for less calorific options. For example, 1 glass of red can contain 230 calories in comparison to a gin and slimline tonic, which contains about 60 calories. In addition to consuming less calories, you’ll also feel fresher the next day!
Consider hiring an online coach
Many people who come to me for help, do so because they’re looking for someone to keep them motivated and to hold them accountable. Just because the gyms are shut, doesn’t mean your access to external support is gone too! There are so many incredible coaches out there doing their best to keep the nation fit and healthy through online coaching! If you’re considering an online coach, be sure not to choose a coach just because of their social media following. You don’t have to be a good coach to have a million followers! If you’re not sure how to find the right online coach for you, let BEL connect you with your ideal coach.
Lockdown isn’t easy and obviously some days you won’t feel like doing any of these things! And that’s OK. Be kind to yourself. See if you can start by introducing one or two of these tips just to get you started. What are some other things you’ve enjoyed during lockdown? Feel free to comment below or drop me a note on my website.