Staying In, Working Out

Well, where do I start? In a short space of time life as we know it has changed immeasurably and our daily routines have been pretty much knocked on the head. Self-isolation and social distancing have entered the everyday lexicon and panic buying is making the human race look a little, well, irrational!

It’s enough to make you hide under your duvet until this is all over, but please remember folks, that it will be over. So, let’s keep a level head and figure out how we can stay healthy and sane for the next few months.

Firstly, I’d like to share some helpful links that will offer you clear and current information on Covid-19 (avoid the tabloids if you can!).

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

https://www.who.int

Secondly, I’ve put together some useful tips on keeping mind and body healthy.

Social Isolation - it’s not ideal but it is necessary, particularly for people with underlying conditions and especially for those experiencing symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. By now you’ll be aware of the many wonderful individuals and groups that have mobilised to help the vulnerable in your community. Keep a note of their contact details and request support when you need it. Staying in touch with family and friends by phone or video chat is an effective way to bolster mood. Why not go one step further and download a group video chat app like Hangouts, House Party or Facetime and enjoy a virtual coffee morning, book club or craft session!

Positivity - It can be difficult to find the silver linings in times like these but downtime can be a good thing. Keep your brain sharp and your mood light by learning something new, taking up or developing a hobby or interest, facetiming your loved ones, supporting others online or by phone and planning for the future. Keep your mind active but don’t overdose on 24/7 news. There are some fabulous online schools like Future Learn and Alison Courses that offer free courses. Who knows where it could lead? In a month’s time you could be an expert in origami!

Remember, this WILL end. Right now, we just need to remain calm, be patient and stay positive.

Keeping active at home - there’s no excuse not to stay fit! As well as benefiting your overall fitness it will lift your mood. It can also reduce the risk of contracting communicable diseases so it’s a win-win! Don’t go overboard though, take a sensible approach and you’ll reap the rewards. Keep an eye on my social media posts and on my blog for ideas for all the family!


Adults - In addition to a healthy diet with extra fruit and veg to boost immunity, a daily exercise routine will maintain optimum health.


Some ideas to motivate and inspire you:

- Set up circuits in your home with minimal equipment - bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, burpees, sit ups, push-ups and planks are perfect for building strength and improving heart and lung function.

- Don’t forget to incorporate cardio to get your heart rate up - run up and down the stairs, do some star jumps during the ad breaks or break out your exercise bike and dust off the cobwebs!

- Pilates is a wonderful stress reliever and perfect for keeping muscles supple. Use the stairs, chairs and other furniture to stretch and challenge your body. It’s amazing how easily you can work up a sweat without a ton of expensive equipment. Exercise will boost your mood and leave you feeling refreshed.

- A good brisk walk in the fresh air (while maintaining a safe distance of course) will do wonders for your wellbeing.

Stressful times bring unsettled sleep so try to keep to a daily routine (this is vital when the days start to roll into one!). Start your day early, fit in some cardio, eat your meals at set times and develop a nighttime routine that works for you:

- read a good book

- enjoy a warm bath earlier in the evening

- try not to read/watch the news late at night

- maintain a cool bedroom

- no screen time for at least an hour before bed.

- avoid caffeine if you can help it; it will only increase anxiety and will almost certainly disrupt much needed restful sleep.

Children - the schools are closed so what to do?

It’s the ideal time of year for a bit of gardening and planting as a family. Imagine how satisfying it will be harvesting and enjoying delicious fruit and veg you’ve grown yourselves!

Creating a fun (and safe!) obstacle course in the home or garden will transform your kids into real life Ninja Warriors!

It’s going to be difficult convincing your children that not playing with their friends is actually in their best interests so having a few fun, indoor activities up your sleeve is crucial! We all know that working up a sweat is the key to contented, tired out kids so build in chunks of physical activity to your day. Setting challenges throughout the day will make the hours fly by.

If you have a decent sized garden hold a sports day using what you have in the home and garden shed (if you have a trampoline, you’re set!).

Remember hopscotch, skipping and other street games? These are perfect for bored children, bearing in mind that they should only be played with your household.

Join in with them for some extra cardio and family bonding! Kids will know lots of suitable games from school so have them educate you for once.

Elderly - don’t feel that you need to embark on a new fitness regime as this may not always be in your best interests, particularly if you are unable to discuss in advance with your GP. Instead, try to move regularly, and refrain from sitting for long periods as this can cause issues with your neck, create muscle imbalances, chronic back pain, knee problems, weaken circulation, and tiredness and drowsiness, to name a few.

It's essential that you take 10-20 minutes a day to incorporate movement into your life. Try walking from room to room, up and down the stairs and ensure you can get up from your chair easily (and slowly, to maintain your balance).

Helping those in need

If you’re feeling healthy and are not one of those who need to self-isolate then consider finding out how you could help the more vulnerable members of your community.

A good place to start is your local parish council or community association. You may find that your town or village has an existing emergency response team.

This is when social media comes into its own. Facebook is a great source of up to date information. Whichever medium you choose you could find yourself picking up some groceries for your elderly neighbours and simultaneously developing lifelong relationships.

Hygiene

If ever there was a time to carry out a big spring clean, it’s now! Not only will a clear out reduce clutter and make life easier during self-isolation, it’ll also boost your mood. Tidy house, tidy mind! However, if this is not an option for you then continuing to maintain a clean and comfortable space is perfectly fine. You know what works for you, and if you do feel unwell sparkling windows are going to be the least of your worries.

If you’re having to work from home as a result of Covid-19 creating a peaceful, clean space will aid productivity. If you don’t have a home office then the dining room table is a perfectly acceptable alternative as long as you transfer your work ‘stuff’ to a dedicated storage box before meal times.

Inspiration

It’s hard to tear ourselves away from the news so if you feel compelled to go online then search out positive stories that will lift your mood. Sites like www.goodnewsnetwork.org and www.positive.news brim with optimism and are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Practicing mindfulness might help stave off the worst feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Take pleasure in the simple things, like sipping your first coffee of the day, wallowing in a relaxing bubble bath or listening to the birds in your garden. Stay grounded, live in the moment and try not to look too far ahead.

I hope this brief rundown of helpful information has proved useful. Keep it at hand, share with your friends and family and if you’re feeling anxious, remember, we’re all in this together!

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