As I write this post, the current lockdown worldwide is a problem for everyone, but it is also a necessity to keep everyone safe. However, we shouldn’t let it stop us from keeping busy or trying to stay fit. So I decided to put together some ideas for everyone to show how keeping fit during lockdown is possible.
One thing that I have noticed over the past few weeks is the number of people that are actually out and about taking up some form of daily exercise and avoiding unnecessary travel. There are young, old, fit, not so fit, families, couples and much more.
This tells me a couple of things:
- The lockdown has forced a lot of us to rethink how we do things – personally, even though I am still working, it’s been great to see people make an effort to do some form of exercise.
- This is the best chance as human beings to see that just maybe we can change all our lives for the better in the future – do we really want to go back to the way we were before?
Personally, I think it has been amazing seeing so many people out and about getting their daily exercise whilst still conforming to the social distancing rules.
The purpose of this post is to give you some ideas on the various ways you can keep fit and healthy, not only during these testing times but just maybe for the rest of your life. There has been no better time to find a routine that you can stick to moving forwards – and the great thing is, you don’t even need to pay for a gym membership right?
So, let’s take a look at the best ways of keeping fit during a lockdown.
This may be obvious, but it’s a great one, especially if you are new to keeping fit. If you knew me, you would know that walking was the thing I started doing when I decided to make changes in my life back in 2016.
The other great thing about walking? It’s free to do and you can get surprisingly fit doing it.
If you are new to fitness or have decided its time for a change then try these simple routines to improve your health with walking.
Spend the first week getting used to walking and start incorporating some different pace into your routine. For example, start your walk at an easy pace for 2 to 3 minutes and then increase to a brisk pace for at least 10 minutes before slowing back down for the last couple of minutes. As you get used to walking more, increase the time you are walking at your brisk pace.
As you do this for longer, start to incorporate some hill work into the daily workout routine – once you start doing this you will see a significant change in your fitness levels and also your weight, as long as you ensure your diet is on point during this time.
I have to include running as it’s the sport that changed my life and that’s no exaggeration. I initially started walking as outlined above and progressed to running over a period of time.
The great thing about running is that there are so many forms of it you can do and incorporate into your routine. Personally, I love trail running as you might have guessed, but at the moment I am limited on the trails because I can’t drive to them. But that doesn’t stop me and it shouldn’t stop you either.
If you are new to running then I would suggest walking in the first instance until you are at a level you feel you could start to do a little bit of jogging. The start to incorporate a routine where you are both running and walking over a period of time. You will be surprised as to how quickly you start to improve.
As I have said in other posts, I started doing the run/walk training when I decided to get fit back in 2016. Within 9 months I had competed in a number of marathon and 50k races. Of course, not everyone is the same, and this is by no means me bragging about my achievements, it’s purely to show that with focus you can improve at a very good pace.
With running the idea is to start slow and short. Build up distance over time and ensure you are having rest days in between – if you want to keep those rest days active then go for a steady walk.
Don’t overdo it – leave the ego at the front door and just go out and enjoy yourself. There are various running methods you can use within your training to not only keep things fresh but to also help you improve.
I’m not going to leave any sort of a running plan here because everyone is different. I must admit I looked at loads of plans when I first started running and basically didn’t stick with any of them – why? Because they weren’t written specifically for me.
My advice would be to start slow and steady, don’t overdo it, listen to your body and make sure you rest when your body tells you to. Do this and you will see improvements in your running and overall fitness.
I’ve never really been a big fan of cycling in the past and I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I just didn’t like cycling on the busy, pot-holed UK roads.
However, after much deliberation on the type of bike to buy I purchased a mountain bike as I wanted to use it for cycling to work, especially during the lockdown, and also in the event that I wanted to cycle to some near-by trails to change things up in my training and fitness.
To be honest, I’ve seen so many people out and about on their bikes recently and it’s also a great option for keeping a social distance when required. It’s even better now that the roads are quieter for sure.
In terms of fitness, it’s a mixture of an easy ride out for an hour or finding some hills and giving your legs a blast. You might also want to try an easy warm-up followed by 2 minutes at pace followed by 2 minutes easy and do this for a period of time. Whatever you decide to do it is completely up to you as at the end of the day you are being active.
Cycling can also be used as active recovery on the rest days in between running – that’s how I do it anyway.
Strength training doesn’t have to be about pushing and pulling big weights at the gym. I have to be honest, the biggest issue I have had with the lockdown is the fact my gym closed like so many others and I can no longer do my heavy squats and deadlifts which were great training for running.
However, for most people starting out with strength training this would be way too advanced anyway. I would advise anyone who is thinking about getting into strength training to concentrate on bodyweight exercises in the first instance – after all, why would you want to try and bench press 100kg if you can’t perform 10 bodyweight press-ups.
So, the perfect strength training routine for any beginner is bodyweight training, or Calisthenics as it’s better known. And the beauty of this once again is that you don’t need any equipment to do it, therefore, you don’t have to purchase anything to start.
Bodyweight strength exercises you can incorporate into a routine are:
- Push-ups (press-ups) – Variations include Incline, Decline, Close Hand (Diamond), Wide-Hand etc.
- Pull-ups, Chin-ups, Inverted rows
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Bodyweight Squats
There are many more variations of these exercises but if you are new then as a beginner I would suggest a routine that involves Push-ups, Dips, Pull-ups, Squats, Lunges and leg raises.
As a beginner why not try this workout for the first month. Perform the routine 3 times per week and rest on the days in between or do some sort of active recovery (walk, cycle).
For each circuit, perform the exercise until you feel like you are close to failure, and rest for 60 – 90 seconds between exercises. Once you finish a complete circuit, rest for 3 – 5 minutes and perform it again for a total of 3 circuits. Feel free to increase the number of circuits and reduce the rest time as you get stronger and fitter.
The circuit is as follows:
- Pull-ups – use a bar, a tree or anything else you can pull yourself up with.
- Bodyweight Squats
- 30-Second Wall Sit
- Chair/Bench Dips
- Hanging Knee Raises
- Diamond Pushups
Of course, there are many other options to get fit at home. There are so many videos with workouts nowadays, but of course, that usually involves you working out in the house which is not something I like to do. If I can I get outside even if it’s only for a short period of time.
So, I hope this post has helped you understand that it is not impossible keeping fit during a lockdown, in fact, it’s fairly simple if you put your mind to it. My hope is that with all that has happened in the early months of 2020, we as a population have learnt that life is special and we should try every day to make the most of what we have and stay as fit and healthy as we possibly can. It isn’t difficult, you just need to take action and do something for you each and every day.
If you have any comments or questions then why not leave one below and let’s get the discussion going.
All the very best,