How to stay on track with exercise during isolation.

By David Hawkins, Physiotherapist and Exercise Specialist

With the current COVID-19 crisis and imposed social distancing restrictions, gym and other sports’ venue closures, working out from home has never played a more important role in helping you to stay on track with your weight loss and fitness goals.

Unfortunately, however, exercising at home can be difficult for many.  Some reasons offered, include the many distractions at home (such as working from home, household chores, looking after children etc), a shortage of available space, lack of equipment and most commonly reported, a reduction in motivation. By addressing these challenges, we may help you to stay on track and continue to exercise without leaving your home!

Distractions: Some ideas to help you overcome the many distractions at home, are:

  • Prioritise yourself. It’s ok to put yourself first!  Try scheduling time in your day to exercise – this often helps with consistency and forming good habits. 
  • Workout first thing in the morning: the greatest potential obstacle to working out in the morning is the alarm clock. However, once you’ve managed to get up early for a few weeks, it usually becomes much easier to do so. 
  • Break your workout into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, in 3 short minutes, you can complete 3 sets of an exercise.  Repeat this for 6-8 different exercises at certain opportune moments throughout the day (e.g. while the kettle boils, while dinner is cooking, while the washing machine finishes it’s cycle, etc.) and you’ve completed a whole resistance training workout throughout the day!
  • Combine your exercise with other tasks: By working out in front of the telly, with your kids or while you listen to your podcast or favourite tunes, you will find a more efficient way to spend your time, but it might just make your exercise more enjoyable, too.
  • Space restrictions: Plenty of exercises can be performed in a very small amount of space. Some examples include: squats, step-ups, chair dips, door frame rows, push-ups, planks, lunges and split squats.
  • Lack of equipment: Great workouts can be performed with little to no equipment. Calisthenics or body-weight exercises are more popular than ever and a simple search of the internet will give you so many options and ideas that you will have countless workouts to perform in the comfort of your own home.
  • Motivation: Some simple ideas that can really help to inspire your workouts, include:
    • SMART goals: These are like jet fuel. They have the potential to blast you into action.  Remember, SMART goals are Specific, Meaningful and Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.  
    • Incentivise your workouts: From a daily workout calendar you can tick off, to a sticker chart, money jar or other reward systems, incentives can really help with your motivation to exercise.
    • Activity trackers, smart watches and/or phone or computer apps: From simply counting your daily activity, through to complex tracking and reporting, these devices and apps have the potential to motivate you into action and can help you to stay on track with your exercise regime.

Whatever your challenges, I hope this short list helps you to stay on track with your exercise while you are at home. 

Good luck, stay safe and enjoy!

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