By Ashleigh Podolak (Physiotherapist)
Going back into lockdown for the second time has been rough. Let’s all admit it. We find ourselves in the midst of a global health crisis that has never been experienced before. We had a taste of normality with reopening of gyms and cafés but now it feels like we’re right back where we started around Easter! One step forward two steps back. For lots of us this has made it difficult to find motivation to keep up our physical activity with the stress of change and a global pandemic draining our energy. This blog explains why exercise is so important to energise our bodies and minds, especially during lockdown and I’ll give you my hot tips for how to find your motivation to keep moving.
Having to decide how to live during lockdown can be mentally exhausting. We are all accustomed to normal work hours and scheduled gym classes holding us accountable to a certain start and finish time. It’s important we work to pull ourselves out of the ‘no end in sight’ mentality. Instead we need to tell ourselves to make the most of today. One today is worth as much as two tomorrows and promising yourself you will run tomorrow or start fresh on Monday because your motivation is wanting today only brings you further from getting the job done.
‘Working out’ in any form benefits both your physical and mental health in the long and short term. Do not underestimate how much a quick workout can energise your mind and boost your mood! The rush of endorphins we all appreciate after physical activity could be just the thing you need to get out of a rut. There’s a reason they call it a ‘runners high’. When down time regularly looks like scrolling on your phone or watching TV it can be easy to become overwhelmed with the latest statistics, case numbers and pandemic updates. This does nothing but fuel your anxiety and sap your energy. Instead, switching off social media and the news and taking time focus on yourself and your body in the present moment, separate from the global news and simply do something you enjoy.
Get some rays
Limited exposure to sunlight affects mood and generally causes decreased serotonin levels, that’s why there is a seasonal pattern of major depression (seasonal affective disorder SAD). When we stay inside in dim light it promotes production of melatonin which makes us sleepy. As well as this vitamin D from the sun is important for bone health and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis. So, getting outside for as little as 15 minutes most days throughout mid-winter lockdown can have massive benefits for your mind and body. Whatever that looks like for you: walking the dog, a jog, dusting off the bike, kicking a footy, a stretch in the backyard don’t undervalue a couple rays of sunshine.
So what are my hot tips to get you through lockdown 2.0?
Sometimes when sheer willpower is not enough, try these tips to keep yourself motivated for exercise:
_Find your ‘why’
Don’t force yourself to run if you don’t like running, don’t want to be dreading your workout- look forward to it
Do what makes you feel good and fits in your space
Personally, I look forward to the endorphin rush and the energy boost I feel afterwards
Taking time to practice mindfulness is so important for your overall well being
Don’t wait for free time to pop up
Stick to a regular routine; in lockdown days can seem to blend together
Committing to a routine helps to keep you accountable, track the time and track your progress
We have a psychological need to keep busy in order to avoid larger issues
Write it down with pen and paper or record in an app like Strava, Chris Hemsworth’s program or Keep it Cleaner
Area of home to relax separate from workout/ work space
Leave it set up to get rid of barriers and act as a reminder/motivator
Video chat with a friend and follow an online workout. It’s way more fun with someone else! Facetime or zoom are just a couple of platforms you can use.
Meet up with a friend for a socially distanced walk or run
Keep each other accountable or even make it a competition if that works for you
_Don’t overdo it
Quality not quantity: don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations
Rest is important to maintain energy and to mentally and physically recover
It is important not to be hard on yourself. Current living circumstances are stressful, and everyone is doing their best to stay afloat. Do what you can where you can and above all else make sure you are enjoying what you do.
If you are wanting more direction, consult a health professional. During the current lockdown at Beyond our Exercise Physiologists are committed to running 1 on 1 Pilates and strength sessions to ensure everyone is staying safe, distanced and active!
If you’re in need of some inspiration, a great place to start is our Move Beyond Facebook live classes (they are free!) and the Beyond Movement Hub which has a huge variety of different classes for some much needed at home ideas. Whether you’re looking for a gentle stretch and release, a booty burning Pilates class of a HIIT sweaty workout check out our movement hub!
Make use of our online resources or come in and visit us if you’re looking for more direction so we can help you move through life!