Physical Health: Keeping Fit During Isolation

The measures put in place across the world to limit the spread of COVID-19 have meant that all of us suddenly find ourselves spending significantly more time at home dealing with a more sedentary way of life.

Self-isolation and social distancing have gone from being abstract concepts to vital aspects of our daily lives in an astoundingly short space of time . Certainly where physical health is concerned; the activities we enjoyed and took for granted just a few short weeks ago, now require a total rethink. It is important to do so because home life can often lend itself to a much slower paced lifestyle…

Self-isolation means significantly fewer opportunities to be physically active, even if before we didn’t do it consciously, simple everyday tasks such as commuting, negotiating stairs and other things that make up our normal working day kept us busy, active and healthy.

The good news is we are now allowed to exercise outside more than once, in new ways than we have been, whilst remaining socially distant. That being said, a lot of people will still be unsure on the best way to exercise safely, so here are some tips for keeping fit during isolation.


Making the most of your time

From today individuals in England are now allowed to exercise outdoors more than once a day. We can also partake in more outside activities such as certain non contact sports.

Our minds and bodies need exercise to function normally, to prevent the risk of weight gain and essentially, to keep our immune systems strong and therefore more able to fend off infections.

What exercise you choose will be different from one person to the next. For some it might mean an early morning run, for others it might mean a rare chance to take the children outside for fresh air and a brisk walk. Anything is OK as long as it falls within current government guidance.

You can now meet with one person from another household in an outside space like a park and go for a walk together- making sure you always remain two meters apart. This could be a great opportunity to finally see another person if you are living alone, or give you a chance for a much needed catch up with a friend. This not only helps with your physical well-being but your mental health too.

The government has said that we can now play golf, tennis, or basketball with one person from outside our household as long as you stay 2 meters apart. We can travel further afield- providing you don’t cross the border and you do not stay overnight. This means people can now enjoy new environments and open spaces.

We now have more choice available to us but it is important to do what is right for you at this time. Do what you feel safe doing, while following government guidelines.

The most important thing to remember is that any level of exercise is better than none.


Focus on the things you can do

Falling into negativity is shockingly easy when daily routines are disrupted and we spend much more time inactive and alone than we are used to.

Missing the things we enjoy doing can be a major catalyst for negative feelings. If those activities helped to keep us fit such as jogging with friends, taking part in sports, or visiting the gym then temporarily replacing them with something else is vital.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, working in it as well as relaxing in it can be beneficial physically as well as mentally. All those larger, more strenuous jobs you didn’t previously have time for; digging, moving, carrying or planting all make for good physical activity. Plus you have the added bonus of a beautiful garden to enjoy as a result. Has there ever been a better time to do it..?

Here are a few more things to try, some are small, simple changes but they all add up.

• When working from home, take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes and fill those breaks with a physical activity. This could be a walk around the garden or playing with a pet.

• Set up a standing work area.

• If you are climbing the stairs climb them as quickly as is comfortable for you, it is good cardiovascular exercise.

• Utilise the weight of your body instead of gym weights to promote strength and fitness through activities such as sit-ups, push-ups and a range of other exercises that require little or no equipment to undertake.

• Aim to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and staying hydrated throughout the day.


Make technology work for you

By our own admission, many of us are slaves to the mobile devices and gadgets we use daily, and the extra time on our hands can only compound the problem. Paradoxically though we have never relied more on our electronic devices, to keep in touch with colleagues , friends and loved ones who we are unable to see at the moment.

Technology also has the potential to help us stay fit and active through activities such as online exercise classes. Yoga, dance and Tai-chi are just some of the endless variety of classes available online, many of them free at the moment.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is simply just to do something, no matter how small as often as possible to prevent long term setbacks to physical health during isolation. These challenging times will pass and life will once again resume for all of us. Making sure you are as fit and physically healthy is an incredible achievement and an inspiring goal to have.