Keeping Active In these Difficult Times
If, like me you are used to being out and about, visiting the gym, running when you want, going to local park runs to meet friends then I’m sure you’ll be feeling just as side swiped as I am. The last week and a half as passed by in a blur and I am still struggling to get my head round the speed that things have progressed. We are currently in a state of national emergency and the Government have issued strict guidance to for us to try and prevent the spread of this awful disease. Please take notice of these measures and for the safety of yourself, those you love and our NHS stick to them.
I am currently helping out our local community by collecting shopping, medication and offering free phone consultations for those with physiotherapy concerns. I have also had some requests to phone just for a chat. Its very strange being out and I feel like I should explain that I am shopping for others and not myself. We have a plant based diet so have had no issues with any of the products in the vegan isle. There’s a weird etiquette about being out where you automatically distance yourself as you walk past someone and delivering stuff is a whole kerfuffle of wiping, knocking, stepping back then, chatting from afar then wiping and washing. I am lucky enough to not have young children, just a teenage daughter. She’s in lower 6th form so is currently working hard at home towards exams that have been cancelled with no new date in place. She seems to have a good routine through school and there is lots of online support for them. I think she quite likes being indoors with her online friends and Netflix so I am trying to encourage her to get some fresh air each day. I am trying to stick to my routine as much as possible regarding exercise and have made use of the #1aday. I’m so lucky where I live that I can head out pretty much straight to the fields and not see a soul.
My clinic is fully equipped with a gym so I am able to do a good weights session and this has enabled me to have a space where I can do some live workouts.
So, all is not doom and gloom quite yet and as I sit here typing the sun is out and it does feel very much like spring.
I know not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a garden or an open space and many families are cooped up together. With this in mind I wanted to share some tips on staying active at home.
Tip 1 – Find some kit
Some of you may already own things like dumbbells, hand weights, resistance bands, but you don’t need specific kit. Be creative!! Use things like water bottes to add a bit of weight, put some books in a rucksack to make squats harder, use a broom handle to help with mobility exercises. Most of us have a step somewhere in the house.
Tip 2- Get outside once every day.
Whether its for a run, a bike ride or a walk. Fresh air and sunshine is vitally important. We produce Vitamin D when we are out in the sunshine and if we don’t go out there is a danger we can become Vitamin D deficient. Fresh air and exercise is also important to maintain good mental wellbeing so you may find that if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation that a walk may make things seem a little less fraught. More advice on keeping good mental health can be found here https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
Tip 3- Get a routine
Try to follow a daily routine as much as possible. Get up and dressed as normal, factor in home schooling if that’s part of your day. Set a lunch time and dinner time and try to stick to them. If you usually run on a specific day then try to keep to that. Jo Wickes is doing a home workout every day for free on YouTube. There’s also lots of free online exercise channels so try to pick a time that you would usually do some exercise and stick a video on. I am building my YouTube channel so please feel free to take a look and join in with my daily 30 minute water bottle workouts at 5pm and 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. Its aimed at all levels and can be done in a chair, standing, low level or high level.
Tip 4- Be kind to yourself.
Now isnt the time to start setting huge goals of training for crazy challenges. At the moment all events are off so its a chance to focus on different things. Don’t beat yourself up because that marathon you were aiming for has been postponed. See it as a positive. More time to train, a chance to try some new things at home. Maybe time to address niggles and pains. Keep your goals simple, it may be that each day is challenging enough in these difficult times. So, be kind to yourself. Use the free online content, make some time in the morning with some yoga or mobility exercises. We’ll never have time like this again so try to make the most of it. If it does all go out of the window, it doesn’t matter. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and remember ‘tomorrow is a new day’.
Tip 5- Stay connected
We’re all stuck at home, unable to roam freely and this is something non of us have ever experienced. Thankfully though there are numerous platforms to stay well connected with friends and family. I’ve been skyping friends and its been so lovely to see them on the screen. Likewise join in with free exercise sessions with folks you know. It’ll be much more fun and you’ll feel connected with the outside world. I’ll be writing regular blogs through the next few weeks with advice on physiotherapy related issues to please sign up to receive them.
Finally, if you do need a bit more physiotherapy input please get in touch. I am available for online consultations which you can book online via the website. My diary is pretty empty so time slots aren’t really an issue. I’m charging £30 for an initial skype/WhatsApp consultation and this is still a great way to collect your symptoms history, assess your movement and do some specific testing.
If we all work together we can all get through this safely so please stay indoors, stay safe and keep active. Much love to you and your families and a huge thank you to all the NHS staff who are working so hard to help those in need as well as those who are continuing to work to maintain the running of our beautiful country.