With more lockdown restrictions on the cards and that post-Christmas weight gain, many of us will be looking for ways to keep active during lockdown. Summer meant that we could get out into the garden or wander around the park, but with icy paths and chilly winds, we need to get a bit more creative for the days when it’s not so simple to go out for a wander. (I’m talking about the days when it’s more of a slip than a walk – thinking of the first week of January in Manchester!)
Even with the restrictions on getting out and about, there are still plenty of ways that you can keep active outside, and indoors too!
While it is colder outside and the rain/snow/sleet is pelting down, it doesn’t mean that you can simply curl up on the sofa and hibernate under a blanket. That won’t do you any good in the long-term and you’ll want to feel fighting fit for when things start to look a bit more normal.
Current restrictions say that we can exercise outdoors once per day. There are no limits on the amount of time that you can be outdoors, but it needs to be for exercise and not recreation – that means no stopping for a picnic. Walking is a brilliant form of exercise, whether you’re a meanderer or a power walker, you can pick a speed and distance to suit you. If you want to work out a route by mileage, you can use Plotaroute to plot a suitable route around your neighbourhood (and also use it to find some local greenspace too)
I use the plotter regularly to find different walks from my doorstep for my reverse commute.
Do a Reverse Commute
If you are working from home, you will probably notice that your step count is somewhat lower than usual with only having to commute from the kitchen to your desk, or bedroom to the kitchen table. To help up your walking, why not add a reverse commute into the mix. I do one every day, which means that I get up nice and early, do my morning jobs and then head out for a walk before sitting at my desk to start the work day. I treat it as though I were going to an office – where I would have to go out no matter what the weather or what I had on my to-do list. As you would if you needed to be at your desk for a certain time.
Treating is as a need rather than a want makes it more important and honestly, it is a great way to start the day. Or you can end your day with it instead, entirely up to you! If you want to make the space between ‘you time’ and ‘work time’, then a reverse commute helps cement that and also keeps your body moving rather than leaving your desk, mooching in the fridge and then slumping on the settee.
You can read more about my Reverse Commute in this post, where I share more about why I do it.
Get your essentials on foot
While we are only allowed to exercise outdoors once per day, you can walk or cycle to do your essential shopping. I’d recommend leaving the car at home and heading out with your rucksack on your back to do your shopping locally. This one has a couple of benefits as it helps your local shopping area, by giving them the money rather than a big supermarket, it gets you active with a bit of weighted exercise and also saves there being one more car on the road for a bit.
I am not suggesting that you break the rules of the lockdown, but doing your weekly shop on foot is a great way to add a couple of miles and a lot of steps into your weekly routine. If you have kids, think about walking them to school instead of driving to
That Counts! Moving at home
Greater Manchester moving has been working to encourage all of us to move a bit more and have a fantastic ideas bank which had been produced with the Covid restrictions in mind. I would highly recommend checking it out to get some inspiration for moving more at home. They have created a list of video workouts and non-video workouts that you can try from the comfort of your own living room. You’ll be surprised at the activities you can do in your house (which you might not have thought of as exercise) which count!
Play outdoors while you exercise
If simply walking isn’t your kind of fun, why not add a couple of activities or a bit of play into it to keep things interesting. These posts might inspire you: Outdoor Nature Activities for Adults and 10 Fun Outdoor Activities for Adults.
Add a Stretch Clock to your website browser
With many of us working from home, we are spending even more time sitting on our bums. No walking to the work kitchen or canteen to keep us on our feet. Sitting at the computer for long periods of time can play havoc on our posture, so taking time out in your day to stretch and move is a great way to keep moving. You can either add a timer to your phone or add the Stretch Clock extension to your Chrome browser. It’ll regularly remind you to stretch and get up for a bit.
This video will get you started with some stretch ideas that you can do even when sat at your desk.
Dance like nobody is watching
The benefit of being at home is that you really can dance like nobody is watching. Dancing is a great mood enhancer and brilliant for loosening up all the tight limbs from sitting at a desk or staying put for too long. Pop on your favourite tunes and boogie away! Get the family involved and the cats and dogs if they want to join too.
Just get moving and having fun!
The most important thing to make sure you keep active during lockdown is to have fun with it. Whether it is singing while hoovering the house, taking a photowalk. Doing a living room YouTube Yoga (I recommend Yoga with Adrienne) or walking to do your shopping. There are plenty of ways to get out and about or moving in your home. The bonus is that nobody is looking, so you can flail around in your dressing gown and nobody will know!
Got some ideas of your own to keep active during lockdown, let me know! I’d love to add more to the collection.
Here’s to keeping smiling and moving our bodies in fun and active ways!