How to Keep Healthy in Lockdown

A drinks bottle, yoga mat & dumbells lined up in a row next to a person in trainers
This is a guest post, not an article written by me & as such I do not endorse any opinions in this article unless explicitly stated

Staying fit and active during lockdown is vitally important whether you’re a gym lover or a complete beginner. Exercise, in whatever form it takes, isn’t just key to physical health, many studies have shown that it can have a positive impact on mental health too.

Although it feels like we have more time on our hands during a lockdown, exercise can often become low on the priority list, behind family life, work and baking banana bread.

Here's some helpful tips for you, to get things moving in the right direction. If you do have an existing medical condition or any concerns at all, consult with a qualified medical professional before you embark on a new diet or exercise regime.

Mindset

Before you even start exercising, you need to think about what your motivation is and what your goals are, now and in the long term. This will help you to determine what you should be focusing on with your diet and exercise programme. For example, if your goal is fat lost you’ll need a different plan to focusing on stamina.

Try to make your goals as specific as possible and set yourself deadline which is achievable. Make sure you follow the recommended guidance for things like calorie intake and healthy weight loss. Whilst it can be tempting to think that you know better, the steady and slow approach will be much better in the long run.

It can be really motivating to have a look at health and exercise materials both whilst you are embarking on your new plan, and also to keep your mind focused as you progress through. There are literally thousands of articles, recipes and videos online to browse or why not keep a recipe book in the kitchen for inspiration?


A girl led on a yoga mat next to her laptop looking for workout videos online

Exercise

Starting out on a new exercise programme can be a daunting prospect, especially if it's an activity you've not tried before, or you’re a bit out of practice.

Now is the time to be honest with yourself, and really look at what is realistic for you to work towards your goals. Look at your motivation levels through the day as well as the time you have available, there’s no point tiring yourself out just before you have to head out on the school run! Exercise doesn’t need to take a long time either, there are plenty of activities which you can do in short bursts, or how about extending your daily activities to fit some exercise in? Core exercises are super easy to slot into daily life or you could speed up the pace when you’re out and about. Starting off slowly isn’t a crime, even if you just fit in 10 minutes of walking then you’re on the right path.

Take some time to think about what equipment you’re going to need before you embark on your exercise journey. A sure-fire way of losing your willpower is to start a new class only to find you needed a set of weights, a yoga mat or some resistance bands. Perhaps also start to think a bit outside the box for other equipment that might keep you in the zone, for example a waist trainer will give you the look of instant curves that you might be aiming for whilst increasing perspiration as you work out.

Diet

There are plenty of tips and hints for keeping healthy, and staying away from the takeways and unhealthy snacks at the end of a long day. The real key to it is planning - take a small amount of time to plan out your food strategy for the week ahead; it will really help you stay on top of things. Pick a time for planning that works within your schedule, making sure you’re aligned with your food shopping habits. Writing out a meal plan can be really helpful, for main meals as well as snacks.

When you start out with your meal plan, write down even the smallest details, like what snacks you are going to have throughout the day and don’t forget about hot drinks. As you get more used to planning, it will become easier and not require as much time and effort as at the start. Try not to get into the habit of always having the same thing on the same days each week though, it’s important to introduce variety where you can so that you don't get bored. Check your meal plan off against nutritional guidance to ensure you are getting the right balance of foods across your week.


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