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Struggling to get active? You’re not alone (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
This January it feels like groundhog day. Gyms are closed, fitnesses classes have stopped, sports sessions are out of the question.
Staying fit during cold January months is always a struggle, but without the structure of gyms and classes – or the support of teammates and fitness buddies – it is going to be even harder during lockdown.
Thanks to the last two lockdowns in 2020, this time we are more prepared. And there are plenty of ways to motivate yourself to stay active and keep fit, even while we are stuck at home.
Feel Good Contacts has teamed up with personal trainer, Badrul Islam to help you to stay fit and motivated all through lockdown – and it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Badrul says the key thing when working from home, is to break up your days and build some movement into your natural schedule. Otherwise, you will end up barely moving.
He also has some fault-proof tips for those of us who are struggling with fitness motivation:
Find a buddy
Once you’re back to working from home after the festive break, find a co-worker or friend with similar New Year health goals so that you can support each other.
It is easier to stick with your plan if a buddy is going through the same resolution and helps you to adhere to your schedule and nutritional goals.
And – you don’t even have to meet in person. You could suggest weekly Zoom team workouts. Or set up a motivational WhatsApp group to cheer each other on and record your progress.
Think outside the box – get online and try something new (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Set an alarm
Try to break up multiple chunks of sitting time (set an alarm if you feel you need it) with some movement by taking trips to the kitchen – or up and down the stairs.
The general rule is to take a walk at least every half an hour to get a glass of water. People get dehydrated when they sit, plus at this time of year the heating will be on so you’ll need the extra h20.
What dead time?
When you’re stuck with some dead time, for example, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, don’t be embarrassed to do some light exercises like calf raises, squats or lunges.
Get some fresh air
If you can manage to brave the cold weather, then go for a walk in your break. Use your longer lunch break for a workout.
Go to your local park for a power walk or run. If you’re new to running, then download the NHS’s Couch to 5K app podcast. It will ease you in gently.
For a variety of exercises, look out for the communal gym equipment that has been installed in many parks up and down the country. Failing that, you’ll often find monkey bars in the children’s playground where you can work on your pull ups.
In terms of drinking, water is one of the easiest ways to manage body weight and reduce your food consumption.
To ensure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of water, keep two bottles of water (1.5- 2 litres) handy. This will leave you with no excuse for not drinking enough.
When full, your water bottles will also be a perfect substitute for dumbbells or weights.
If you need to drink something warm, then try non sugary herbal drinks, black coffee or broth.
Mobilise your muscles
If you don’t have a standing desk, stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.
Use a towel or find a broomstick to use for stretching. Holding the towel or broomstick with straight arms at either end, rotate back and forth over your head slowly. Doing this can help to open up your chest muscles and mobilise your back muscles.
Stretching is vital for maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk (or dining table) for several hours a day. It will also help to reduce back and neck pain significantly.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic then why not try some deskercise.
No one knows about fitness motivation better than professional athletes, so we asked a couple of British basketball for their top lockdown fitness tips:
Make a plan and stick to it
‘Training during the winter can be tough and it can be hard to remain focused and motivated,’ says London Lions star Dirk Williams.
‘Making a consistent fitness routine will help you to keep on top of your regime and a lot easier to stick to it.
‘A lot of people start the new year on a fitness kick but then fail to keep it up, but if you make a plan and a strict routine, then you will find it easier to maintain.
‘I usually go for a regime of cardio and high-intensity interval style fitness workouts as on the court it’s a lot of back and forth running and explosive bursts, so a mixture of cardio and interval training is key.
‘Sticking to your fitness regime is the hardest part, so finding one that keeps you focused and motivated is important.’
Fitness tips for lockdown
In partnership with Sony, popular fitness influencer, Ellie Hoad has compiled her top five tips for beginners who might need a little extra motivation come 2021:
Don’t expect results overnight
Progress takes time and you need to be consistent with what you’re doing. When you feel like giving up, that’s when you need to keep going!
Do what you enjoy!
Forcing yourself to do something every day is only going to lead to resentment and failure. Focus on the things which you look forward to. That way it won’t feel like a chore.
Don’t focus on the scales
The number is irrelevant. Instead, focus on how much stronger you are, how you look and most importantly how you feel.
Set mini goals
Focus on small wins rather than the end goal.
Fitness is your own journey
Don’t compare yourself to others. There is no comparison between the sun and the moon.
Ellie Hoad, Fitness influencer and women’s online coach
Don’t make excuses
‘Don’t use the bad weather as an excuse and don’t let the elements deter you from getting your workouts in,’ says 2X league MVP Justin Robinson.
‘Nothing comes easy, so don’t make excuses. Just make sure to use the correct gear. If you have the correct training gear, then no matter what the weather you will be able to get your exercise in.
‘If you find it hard to motivate yourself, then try working out early in the morning. Start your day off right with productivity and this will help set the tone for the rest of the day.
‘Keeping active has never been more important, but at the same time it has never been harder. Many of us are suffering from a lack of motivation and it only takes one look out the window to put us off.
‘Right now, we all need to stop making those excuses and just get out and do. And trust me, you’ll feel a lot better for it.’
If you need some inspiration to get you started, why not try this home workout that’s perfect for a small space.
Or, this low-impact, gentle workout for days when you’re feeling a bit lethargic.
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