As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the number of cases continues to rise, and there is other health concerns for governments across the world than just social distancing and contracting the disease. Families now have to endure more stressful situations, especially parents and breadwinners of dependants. How can we keep an active healthy mind during these challenging times?
How can in-home fitness reduce stress for parents and breadwinners during the pandemic crisis?
As our crisis of COVID-19 spreads internationally, our concern for our loved ones and families continues to grow. The feeling of our jobs and stable economy in jeopardy becomes a reality. Businesses are forced to let go of staff and the talk of a recession in various countries globally begins to circulate. Parents or breadwinners who have dependents (young or old) are forced to plan for the worst.
Many people are looking at alternative options to support our families as many of us begin to file for social welfare benefit and employment insurance. What we need to understand as people, that a lot of this is out of our control. We need to simply just stay indoors, and keep the number of fatalities as low as possible, simply waiting for governments worldwide to give further instructions and what we can do to prosper and recover.
So what can we do to help each other?
It may not seem like a big deal to people, but maintaining your own health while in quarantine is very important for yourself and for others. While a lot may seem out of control, keeping a healthy body, mind and soul is your responsibility!
Keeping fit and healthy during this difficult time, we can reduce further costs for the health departments worldwide, who have already had to borrow money and force themselves into debt during the pandemic crisis.
How you maintain your well-being and spend your money, is going to have an impact on our society as a whole.
Now that we can’t go to the pub, or visit any late night venues to squander a few bucks, maybe this time can be a blessing in disguise to build better habits, which can be maintained when this situation blows over.
Here are some health tips and exercises to maintain your physical and mental health at home:
1 – Keep your social distance
Going to a gym only increases the risk of infection. When exercising, we increase our rate of respiration and breathe heavily, making distancing yourself from another individual more necessary when working out. Being in a public fitness facility means handling a lot of equipment and using the bathroom/shower facilities. I would avoid going to these places at this time as you increase the risk of bringing coronavirus back to your family at home.
2 – Tackle Stress
Keeping your loved ones safe in this situation is stressful, and going out at all is going increase paranoia. During this time where many parents are being temporary laid off, there is a lot of feelings of financial stress. Stress releases cortisol into the bloodstream and can cause hormonal imbalance. Staying healthy and focused is hard at this time but its essential. By giving 30-45 minutes a day to our fitness, we can combat these feeling and keep our mental health intact.
3 – Budget Your Fitness Plan
While we suggest staying fit and healthy, you also want to budget your fitness plan. Being on employment insurance temporarily, you will want to budget everything as much as you can during the economic downturn. Freeze your gym services, and follow some online fitness programs that are simple on YouTube. If you have a relationship with a fitness professional, perhaps negotiate the option of online or in home personal training to budget the costs and steer clear of the gym. Your budget should cater to healthy eating and a possible rainy day also.
4 – Avoid Depression
By keeping social distance, you will be subject to long hours indoors. Being in a confined space, and getting an adequate amount of sunlight can lead to depression. Make sure to still communicate with friends daily, play online board games and keep active with meaningful discussions. It wasn’t that long ago we didn’t have Internet or cell phones! There is ways to keep active mentally.
5 – You’re Important Too
As parents and breadwinner, you are subject to worry and that is only natural. this can tempt us to go off track. If you have made a significant amount of progress in your fitness levels, you don’t have to go off the rails! Plan your day with your family and write down your schedule in advance. Pen down that slot for 30-45 mins where you can do your fitness session at home.
6 – Partner up! Or Get the Family Involved!
As mentioned before, if you have a fitness specialist who lives close, and may consider doing an online or in home personal training program instead, then perhaps budget yourself further if you have a partner, spouse or want to get the family involved. Getting everybody involved means the service is a better bang for your buck and can be very beneficial bonding time.
Other Activities you can do in Quarantine to Stay Mentally Healthy:
1 – Monitor Needless Spending
Maybe this is chance to monitor how you spend your money! How much do you spend on recreational activities during the week and weekend. In this moment of time, it might be a good idea to reduce your alcohol consumption, or if being a smoker, try to avoid the shopping marts to buy cigarettes. These stimulants are only going to accelerate feelings of stress and anxiety during the pandemic crisis.
2 – Go For Walks
You can still social distance yourself and go for walks around the block, as long as you can keep 2-3 metres distance from your neighbours. This is great for your mental health and walking reduces feelings of anxiety. If you can go out more prepared then why not? Bring a scarf to cover your mouth or a face mask (if you have one). I even keep alcohol-based sanitizer in my pocket just in case.
3 – Take Breaks From Your Computer
A lot of us are still able to work from home. People that work in tech and IT are not as affected as much as service people who work in trades. There is now a temptation to spend long hours on the computer, either getting more done or looking for jobs. Make sure you take breaks and don’t burn yourself out by spending endless hours in front of a screen. Same goes for everybody using social media in a time of boredom. Take a break, put it away, and go for that walk!
The best exercises I can recommend while in social isolation are bodyweight exercises. No matter where you are, you can perform this workout routine anytime, anywhere.
Bodyweight exercises are an excellent workout because they improve all components of your fitness; cardiovascular health, strength and endurance.
If you haven’t made it to the store to pick up fitness equipment, you need not worry. The following routine is an example of a complete session for your fitness needs:
Squats are a great exercise for functional strength, but also for building your glutes and legs. This is a great workout for targeting several muscles. The other muscles engaged are your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and abdominals. Functionally, they also help your hip flexors and your joint flexibility.
How to perform a bodyweight squat:
- First stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your feet straight in line with your knees.
- Stay upright and engage your core, keeping your back straight and maintain good posture.
- Keep your spine in neutral position, and engage your hip flexors going backwards, as if you were going to sit down in a chair.
- Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor at a ninety-degree angle.
- Make sure to push from your body weight through your heels on the way back up.
Tip: If you wish to target your glute muscles more, make sure you lower yourself as much as possible. You can adjust your feet to a 45-degree position to make this easier if necessary.
Push Up Planks
Push Up Planks are a favorite exercise of mine. Two very exercises combined – the “push up” and the “plank”. So you can be guaranteed to get a great workout for your chest and your core. What makes them even better? Because you are constantly transitioning into position for both these exercises, you are getting a great cardiovascular workout too and burning a lot of calories.
How to perform push up planks:
- First start in a push up position with both hands on the floor supporting your bodyweight.
- Transition into a plank position by substituting your hands for your elbows for supporting your weight.
- Use your oblique and abdominal muscles to help you in the transition of this movement.
- While in plank position, push each hand against the floor to elevate back to push up position. Continue this sequence repeatedly.
Wall sits are a great exercise because they can be performed against any flat upright surface. While holding yourself in position, this exercise is great for improving strength, but also endurance in your legs.
How to perform a wall sit:
- Leaning against a wall, make sure your back is completely flat against the surface.
- Like a squat, separate your feet shoulder width from each other, and distance your feet about two meters from the wall.
- Slide your back down the wall until your legs are situated at a right angle position.
- Once in the correct position, time yourself for as long a possible!
Lunges benefit every aspect of your fitness. Because this exercise requires a lot of stability, it strengthens the primary muscles in your legs as well as all its stabilisers. By keeping balance and coordination at all times, the muscles are constantly challenged when in concentric and eccentric position. This means that lunges build a lot of endurance in your legs as well. Holding this position, challenges you mentally, which helps to improve your cognitive abilities.
- Standing in an upright position, keep your core engaged and upper body straight, demonstrating good posture with your shoulders slightly retracted backwards and your chin up.
- Step forward with one leg, and then use your hips to lower yourself until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. The front knee should be in line with your ankle. If your kneecap is blocking the view of your toes, you’ve stepped too far.
- Lower your other knee but make sure it doesn’t touch the ground, just above the surface.
- Drive the weight through your heels as you push back up to the starting position. Perform multiple repetitions and repeat with the other leg.
Keeping our social distance and physical, mental well-being is our responsibility during this pandemic crisis. From the tips and exercises provided, I hope you can start to construct a plan to keep a healthy mind, body and soul as we adapt to these changes. Make sure to get plenty of sunlight also and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Ben Walker from London Fitness – In Home Personal Training brought you this wellness information in association with Motley Health; dedicated health professionals who collaborate to bring all the advice you need in good health. Thanks once again for reading.
Ben is a fitness enthusiast, corporate wellness speaker and entrepreneur based in London. He has a successful track record in the wellness industry in the United Kingdom and in Canada.