Well, these last few months have been a tricky one for health and fitness! Where have you stood, or possibly sat, during the lockdown months?
Many started with great intentions; out walking more, taking up running, home workouts and cycling, but alongside this, there seemed to be more ‘evening comfort’ and possibly more alcohol than usual. I don’t think I was the only one, spending more on alcohol per week than I was on petrol…
But with lockdown coming to an end (hopefully for the forseeable) and more shops, gyms and holiday destinations opening up again, it’s almost like we’re at New Year again – ditching the excess, and time to set some personal focus on our health and fitness.
If that sounds about right, here are my 5 Post Lockdown Health and Fitness Tips.
- Back to working out / the gym?
Start steady! Even if you’ve been doing some home workouts, it’s unlikely you’ll be at the level physically you were when lockdown occurred. For this reason, leave the ego at the door when it comes to weights – and start lighter than you used to use. There’s no rush for body results, so start steadily, possibly reduce the weight and increase the number of repetitions you use per set, so lift for longer with a lighter weight. This will help get your muscles and connective tissue back used to the stress placed upon them.
Of course if you currently don’t feel comfortable in a gym environment, consider a Personal Trainer, with a 1-1 service. Improved results as well as the safer option.
- Alcohol reduction?
As I mentioned above, it’s likely alcohol has crept in a little too frequently. Rarely do we stick to anything when we create a restrictive plan, so for this reason look to have a couple of ‘dry days’ in the week first, and then look to increase this further once accomplished. If you’re used to drinking most days, but tell yourself “I’m not drinking in the week”, you are almost setting yourself a trap for the first warm evening, BBQ or social engagement and will go overboard! It’s much easier and achievable to set smaller wins and targets you can repeat often, which will all add up. Reducing alcohol will not only reduce the waistline, but will improve your sleep patterns, which in turn has a beneficial impact on your energy levels and mental focus, allowing you to make better choices and actions – so it’s a win/win.
- Boredom Eating?
This seems to have been a common factor for many that I’ve spoken with. A great tip for boredom is that it’s the ‘environment’ you’re in, which creates the emotion of boredom, leading to eating. By this I mean, if you’re excited, it’s the environment that created that feeling, something you read, saw, heard etc. The same for boredom. For this reason, if it’s always a set time this occurs, change the routine around that time. Go for an evening walk if it’s post dinner boredom. Find a new TV boxset, set yourself a 20min gardening ‘challenge’ in an evening, or buy a cheap badminton set for a family tournament (yep, happened here!). Anytime you don’t like the ‘feeling’ you have, change the environment for a new stimulus.
- Home working
Many more people are working from home.This possibly felt great at first, but again more boredom has possibly crept in alongside that feeling of now having to work from home and relax from home. It can feel like you’re compacted into one place….. back to environments like above.
Having worked from home for 19 years, it’s best to create an area to work away from where you relax – keep things separate. Use a method like the Pomodoro Technique to work on priority tasks for a strict 25 mins with no disturbances. Having a timer brings more focus to the task at hand, and more gets completed by the end of day. After 3-4 blocks of 25 mins work, take 20mins off and get away from the work area to change environments, thoughts and focus.
- Walking is better than you think!
After being in a consistent calorie deficit to lose weight, aiming to walk a minimum of 8,000 steps a day is the second most important factor for health and weight management, as opposed to workouts. As humans, we’re designed to move (it saves our lower back from sitting aches and pains too) but it also expends energy, resulting in weight loss.
8,000 steps don’t have to be done in one go, but again, maybe set yourself the aim of walking the garden on the hour, walking to the end of the road or splitting your day into blocks and just move frequently.
Everything adds up, even the smallest movements when done often, and you’ll be surprised how easily you can reach a target you might not initially feel possible. Have something to measure this by, otherwise it’ll be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. An iWatch, Fitbit or a cheap step counter will suffice. Track and record them each day for a week, workout your daily average, then the next week look to add 500 more steps onto that daily average, then do the same the following week… it all adds up!
Maybe even contact a friend or group that are working from home, and ‘pal-up’ to meet the same time each day, which will benefits you all.
A healthy body and mind is one which adapts to situations better!
It doesn’t matter how small improvement steps are,
What matters is that the steps happen often.
If you’d like more tips and tricks, visit my PT Website for my FREE Look Great Feel Great Formula at www.MarksPT.co.uk
Mark is a Personal Trainer online and in person of 19 years from Milford, Surrey. With clients comprising TV presenters to parents and business owners, he specialises in helping adapt daily habits to bring manageable steps and focus to Llook and feel great
Website – www.MarksPT.co.uk
Instagram – @ImprovingYou_PT