Tips for Keeping Fit and Mentally Healthy at Home While Social Distancing
By Ben Walker
Are you starting to feel bored from the pandemic situation and suffering with cabin fever?
While we are all playing our part in social distancing, we all have to be careful that we don’t suffer from the outcomes of social isolation. Cabin Fever can affect our physical and mental health, and it is important to include recreational activities that promote a healthy mind as well as fitness.
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of cabin fever and social isolation is very important.
Today I am going to give you some simple tips, so you can balance your day and maintain your well-being.
4 Tips To Stay Fit and Mentally Healthy While Social Distancing
#1 Make Sure To Get Sunlight
It is really important to get an adequate amount of sunlight on a daily basis!
Having a lack of sunlight on a daily basis can increase feelings of depression and anxiety. Light from the sun improves our mood by releasing endorphins in our body and increasing levels of serotonin, which is great for productivity, motivation and feeling more sharp and on the ball.
Recommendation: If you have a front or back garden, or even a balcony, make sure to sit out for 20-30 minutes a day. Go for a walk close to home and keep your space from other people if needed.
#2 — Avoid Being Sedentary
Did you know that looking at social media, tv screens, and computers for long hours can lead to depression? Too much publicity and propaganda can cause people to feel anxious. This is because they feel a certain sense of self-expectation from what they see in the media. What you see on these platforms does not reflect perfection, nor does it display what happens in reality. Keep social media, tv shows, and computers to a limit. Too much of this activity will also affect your sleep patterns, which will neglect your mental health also.
A second point to make about being sedentary is that your body becomes inactive. Your muscles, joints, and metabolism are all affected by prolonged hours of sitting. This can make you feel tight and sluggish. Despite this being impactful for your physical health, it can also make us feel mentally oppressed and unwell.
Recommendation: Keep a routine around your home. Do chores that involve moving around and staying active. Write down a set schedule for the day. Call your friends and have meaningful conversations opposed to following others on social media all day long that don’t impact your life.
#3 — Play Practical Games
Board games are a great way to socialise and improve your cognitive abilities. If you have family members or roommates living at home, try and restore your interest in these activities by digging around for old games like chess or a deck of cards. This is a great way to relieve stress, increase mental abilities and improve your focus.
Recommendation: Learn how to play a new card game online or dig around for some old board games. If you can’t find one, try and order some cheap ones online!
#4 — Start A Fitness Program At Home
It’s pretty simple to start a fitness program at home. It’s mind over matter. Most people associate their home as their resting place, so they avoid committing to a workout plan in their own living space. Now would be an ideal time to overcome that habit, as we are unsure to how long we will be in quarantine.
If you are new to fitness, I would recommend consulting an online or in home personal trainer, who can give advice on how to develop a progressive program, which you can follow at home.
If you are already keeping physically active, maybe touching up your skills by following a credible online program is all you need.
To perform a fitness program at home, you will need a small amount of fitness equipment. If not, no worries! You can always perform body weight exercises.
For this reason, if able to attain any fitness equipment, I recommend obtaining the following apparatus:
- Light Dumbbells
- Resistance Bands
- Medicine Ball
This equipment is light, easy to manage and easy to carry out to the garden or to the park.
With all this equipment, you can design various fitness programs and get a full body workout.
If you have no access to getting fitness equipment right now, here are some great bodyweight exercises you can perform at home:
- Bridge Exercise
- Push Ups
Squats are a great exercise for the whole body. They primarily target the muscles in your legs – quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and calves. When performed correctly, they also strengthen your core and lower back. Because so many muscles are used in this exercise, the body requires a lot of blood flow to these muscles. This improves circulation and overall wellness, while burning a lot of calories for weight loss. This exercise benefits all components of your fitness.
How To Perform A Squat:
- Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart. Keep your feet aligned straight with your knees, with your heels planted on the floor.
- Looking straight ahead at all times, push back with your hips, as if you were going to sit in a chair. Lower yourself till your hip and thighs are positioned 90 degrees horizontal to the floor.
- Keep your core engaged and drive the force upwards through your heels to your original position.
- Repeat this exercise over several repetitions.
Lunges are another great workout that can improve many functions your body. Like squats, this exercise will activate all the muscles in your legs. Your back and abdominal muscles will also benefit from this routine. Lunges are also great for keeping your hip flexors functional. This is particularly important for when we age. Our hips become tight from our working lives, and simple tasks can be make harder if we don’t keep these muscles flexible. Examples include, sitting, standing, twisting and bending. It shouldn’t be too much effort to pick up your phone or a set of car keys!
How To Perform A Lunge:
- Keep your upper body straight. Retract your shoulders back slightly and keep them relaxed, looking ahead at all times. Engage your core at all times to keep your back straight.
- Step forward with one leg. Focus on keeping control and lowering yourself from your hips.
- Make sure as you are descending that your ankle is aligned straight with your knee. If it isn’t you have gone too far, or not far enough. Make sure this is correct
- Make sure you lower yourself till your knee on the back foot almost touches the floor.
- Push the force through your heel to return to original position
- Repeat repetitions and perform exercise on the other side.
Bridges are an excellent exercise for relieving stress and targeting muscles in the lower extremities of your body. They are a great way of engaging your pelvic muscles, as well as your glutes and lower back. For this reason, the bridge exercise is highly recommended for women in post pregnancy. They are one of the key routines for improving your pelvic floor. It’s another great workout for those hip flexors we just mentioned.
How To Perform A Bridge:
- Lying flat on the floor in supine position, keep your back straight and firm on the ground.
- Extend your arms fully forward on both side with your palms planted on the floor face down. Bring your feet back towards your body until they are almost touching your gluteal muscles. Keep your heels fully planted on the floor.
- Using your hands and feet, push yourself off the floor, straightening your body as much as possible in a pencil like position. Contract your glutes and hip flexors to hold this position for a couple of seconds.
- Relax and come down to your starting position. Perform multiple repetitions.
Push-ups are great exercises for the functional and supporting muscles of the upper body. This exercise primarily targets your chest muscles and your triceps. Due to the exercise being performed in prone position, your core muscles strongly support your hands and feet, by preventing your body from touching the floor. This makes push ups a great routine for developing strength in your abdominal muscles.
How To Perform A Push-Up:
- Getting down on all fours, position your hands so they are directly aligned under your shoulders, and keep them slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Straighten your arms and extend your legs back, until you are your toes are supporting your weight off the floor.
- Leading with your face first, keep your neck straight, and lower your upper body towards the floor. Keep your lower back straight while performing this exercise at all times.
- Push your body back to original position using your chest and triceps. Don’t compensate the movement with any other part of your body.
- Repeat the exercise multiple times within your set.
Planks are a great exercise for strength and muscular endurance in your core muscles. They also help strengthen your shoulders, arms and lower back. They also start to work your legs more over holding the position for an extended time. This is because your legs support your core from touching the ground.
How To Perform A Plank
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders in a position slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Extend your legs fully and ground your toes, so they are supporting your body weight from the floor. Engage your core and glutes to give you that straight posture as you lift yourself into the right position.
- Hold the position for as long as you can and time yourself.
About The Author
Ben Walker is a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast from London Fitness. If you are looking for more tips about staying healthy during this time of social distancing, please reach out to him for more advice on how you can stay fit at home.
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