Tempted to skip your workout routine? It can be difficult to exercise or go to the gym since the pandemic has restricted our movement, according to HelpGuide, a reader’s trusted guide to mental health and wellness. You might be feeling frustrated or angry that you are not as active as you were before or you are missing the camaraderie and the gym’s atmosphere if you like participating in fitness classes.
However, exercise still plays a pivotal role in helping ease your feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s okay if you are less motivated to work out due to disruptions in routine. But staying active can help make a difference in your physical and mental health.
How Many People Are Lying About Working Out?
Market research company OnePoll conducted a survey on behalf of Gatorade, revealing that 19% of 2,000 American adults had lied about working out in the past, reported Jennifer Fabiano of The Ladders, a job search and expert network. The respondents lied about working out because they wanted to convince another person that they were busy (37%), to impress another person (35%), and too embarrassed to admit what they were actually doing (31%).
Moreover, 37% said they are likely to finish a workout early because they forgot something and 30% skipped an entire workout because they did not have an “essential” item. The most essential items were sneakers (83%), workout bottoms (70%), socks (69%), hydration (67%), a workout top (64%). 56% said their headphones are essential workout gear and 50% said they would not be able to complete their workout routine without their favorite music.
More Individuals are Exercising to Manage Their Mental Health
Sport England, a non-departmental public body under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, revealed in a survey that 63% of individuals across the first six weeks of lockdown were exercising to manage their mental health, cited Lauren Clark of Yahoo! Sports, a sports news website. Since late March, people have engaged in fitness due to restrictions on movement.
60% of respondents were worried about leaving home in the first fortnight, but in the sixth week of lockdown, the percentage declined to 47%. The most popular activities were walking (59% in week one and 63% in week six) and cycling (8% and 13%). Prior to the pandemic, only 61.9% and 16.3% of adults were walking and cycling at least twice a month. Further, 45% of respondents said they have been working out at home by engaging in activities such as exercise classes.
More men (35%) were doing the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week than women (30%). More women (40%) were doing less activity than usual during lockdown (versus 36%). 23% of respondents with long-term health conditions were doing the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week unlike those without (35%).
How to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. “Sneak” Movement Into Everyday Tasks
Think of it as a physical choice rather than as an event. Finish your household chores at a brisk pace, which builds and works your arms and legs’ muscles. When watching TV, try to use commercial breaks and credits to do squats, push-ups, lunges, and jumping jacks.
Take advantage of pauses such as waiting for your Zoom meeting to begin to sneak in some arm exercises and yoga poses. Walk around the house if you are making a call or go up and down the stairs a few times a day.
2. Allot Space In Your Home
Select a space in your house to become your makeshift “gym,” suggested Sabrina Barr of The Independent, a British online news publisher. “Having a dedicated space will not only remind you to exercise regularly but it will also be a great motivator knowing that the space is ready for use and you don’t need to reshuffle the furniture,” said Ollie Thompson, a personal trainer for SIX3NINE in Covent Garden, London.
3. Exercise With Your Loved Ones
If possible, exercise with your family or the people you are quarantined with. For example, you can take walks, go on bike rides, have dance parties, or have backyard soccer games with your household members, recommended Nuvance Health, a network of convenient hospital and outpatient locations. If you have children, you can play tag or hopscotch or dance together.
4. Follow Your Body’s Rhythm
Stick to a routine to maintain structure and to prevent you from skipping or procrastinating your workouts. Make sure your workouts are done at a time when you have the most energy. You can also announce your regimen to your loved ones or social group—be it offline or online—to help you stay on track.
If you live alone, you can post your workout program on social media to motivate your connections to exercise. You will be motivated to exercise if they give positive feedback about your routine.
5. Ask Yourself How the Workout Will Make You Feel
It is important to do physical activities that you enjoy. Avoid feeling that you need to copy somebody’s exercise routine. “If you’ve never been somebody that enjoys running, don’t force yourself to,” added Thompson. If you find an exercise routine that you enjoy the most and is possible to do with the space and resources you have, then go all out.
Former Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill suggests not thinking too much about how hard or daunting your workout is going to be. Rather, it is better to focus on the endorphin rush and how great you will feel after your workout.
6. Seek Help
If you don’t know where to start with your home workout routine, Thompson suggested consulting a fitness professional for assistance. Additionally, you can look through online health and fitness programs from various disciplines such as dancing, cardio, and yoga.
7. Reward Yourself
It’s okay to feel that exercising is not as enjoyable as before. No days will be perfect so do not be too hard on yourself. If you managed to engage with your favorite exercise routine, you can take a hot bubble bath, make a fruit smoothie, or call your family member or a friend.
Getting fit and jumpstarting one’s fitness routine may be more frustrating due to social disruptions. However, everyone should strive to exercise and squeeze in some movement to improve their mood and to instill a sense of achievement.