Keeping active when options are limited?
The entire country is into its third national lockdown, closing schools, non-essential retail closed and we are being asked to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS. We all know that the amount of time we spend sitting down in our daily lives is not doing our bodies any favours and staying at home isn’t helping. However, the good news is, over the past year there have been so many great ideas generated and so many innovative ways to do things from home especially when our resources have been limited. In this article, we have put together ways to keep active, including some fun physical activity ideas to help you get up and/or move more in a fun way.
Keeping active is linked to positive mental and physical health and well-being so it’s vital that we take care of ourselves; there are a variety of ideas some that you can do indoors and some outdoors; on your own or with other members of your household. Select one or two ideas to start with and incorporate them into your week. Having a structure to your day is essential for your mental health so why not make a lockdown list of ‘physical activity to do’s with our suggestions below?
- Make up a dance routine to a song you enjoy listening to. Think of your favourite uplifting song and create your very own dance moves to it; you can do it by yourself or with other members of your household. That’s approximately three minutes of moving more per song right there.
- Play catch with a ball or if you don’t have a ball use a pair of socks wrapped up to mimic one. Try and see how many catches you can do with each hand in one minute – adds a bit of fun using the non-dominant hand and you could have a fun competition with each member of the household, trying to beat your own time or the overall highest.
- Try some chair-based movements or exercises. Remember even if you are not mobile on your feet you can still move whilst in the seated position – you can find some great chair-based exercises here.
- With a bat and ball see how many hits you can make in a minute before dropping the ball and try to beat that each time – again you could have a fun competition with each member of the household.
- Try some gentle yoga stretches. There are different types of yoga that may suit different abilities, it’s finding a method that suits you. Here are a couple of examples that you could try
Yoga with lj exercise video
Chronic back pain pilates exercise video
- Play an at-home scavenger hunt – this could be done indoors or outdoors, but with the cold wet weather you may want to try it at home instead. Chose a theme, for example, hide alphabet letters to make up a word or household items that represent something; create clues to find the ‘treasure’ it’s a fun innovative way to get children involved and active too especially if they are at home.
- See who can do the most repetitions in a minute of star jumps / sit ups / hops / jumps from side to side – play against yourself or other members of your household.
- Get green-fingered. If gardening got you through the last lockdown and the weather is keeping you away from it this month, why not try some indoor planting? Indoor plants can help you feel calm, improve air quality and lift your mood and get you moving too.
- Upgrade your household chores from the regular routines to doing some DIY? We are spending more time at home so could you spend some time to give that dull wall a fresh coat of paint or update kitchen cupboard door handles?
- If it’s windy outside – go out and try and catch the leaves. Or if you are on a walk see if you can collect up to 10 different types of leaves – not only does this get you out but it also connects you to nature and makes this a more mindful exercise as you can observe the differences/similarities between them whilst keeping active.
- Walk or run against the wind. We always tend to walk in the opposite direction the wind – but why not try walking against it – it can add some resistance to your walk and you may even feel a more fulfilling accomplishment.
- See how far you can walk down the road in 5 minutes and try to get a bit further each time.
- Create an outdoor treasure hunt. They are great fun, easy to organise and adults and children can do them in lots of different places. For example for the children: Things to find in a park: some daisies, a long stick, a leaf with more than one colour in it, different types of leaves, a feather, smooth stones, rough stones. Once they’ve found all these, you could take them home, and create a nature type of collage/display.
- Try the lamp post challenge, when on a walk try jogging or running between the lampposts not only does it get you to your destination quicker, and passes the time, but it also adds to your daily physical activity recommendations.
- Time yourself walking around the park and see if you can beat it by a few seconds each week.
With all of these activities bear in mind it is so important that children are supervised and are road aware and that we must still remember social distancing in public spaces.
Finally, a note to say that not every day is going to be the same. Take a moment each morning to check in with yourself and see where you are emotionally and physically. Then according to where you are at, set goals that are in line with how you feel. There will be days when we are more organised and motivated than others so remember to be kind to yourself. Good Luck and keep active.
We would love to hear from you; jump on your programme community and share – what’s your favourite song to dance to? What projects have got you moving indoors? What are you trying outdoors to make moving more fun?