Exercising during a lockdown — The Opportunities
During any period of isolation whether externally enforced or internally chosen creates new opportunities from a fitness perspective that should be embraced.
With half the worlds population in lockdown its easy to neglect the exercise regime in favour of screen time and accept the new norm because the gyms are closed. Netflixs and a beer? What else is there to do?
Instead, I encourage anyone to seek the opportunities within this new way of living. Invest in yourself, develop your knowledge and be a better person when all this is over.
We essentially have two pathways to take;
A) Accept this is just the new way I have to live.
Wake up with an extended lie-in as the commute from the bedroom to the working from home setup is minimal. Have a coffee, scroll through social media, open the laptop and start work. Take regular trips to the kitchen for food, more coffee or even some alcohol at an acceptable time. Close the laptop whenever your colleagues call it a day, turn on the TV and binge watch whilst checking social media. Bed later than usual as there’s no early alarm clock.
B) Embrace this new life.
Keep the same wake up time — If you got up at 5am for training before the lockdown, stay in that routine. The benefits of an early wake up are endless. There is always something to do, something you’ve always wanted to do but never have the time. Meditate, stretch, read a book, chat with friends/family in different timezones, etc.
Exercise at least once a day — That time you’ve instantaneously got back from not having to commute to the office is now yours. For most people it’s generally an hour or more. Before the lockdown kicked in, if someone offered you a free hour in your day, you would grasp it with both hands — yet people are using this extra hour to work or watch TV
This is the perfect opportunity to exercise. If you’re new to working from home, don’t feel obliged to chain yourself to the desk. Yes, your company might be monitoring your productivity levels via installed software, however this doesn’t correlate to being ‘active/online’ constantly for 10 hours a day, feeling anxious that the second your status changes to ‘away’ a colleague will hunt you down.
Don’t be in the situation when normal life resumes the realisation of how much weight you’ve put on, the fitness lost & generally a lower self-esteem becomes mindful.
Be the one who goes back into the office & everyone goes wow you look great — you must of used the lockdown as an opportunity whilst others drank & watched Netflix. In the Southern Hemisphere, one would hope normal life will return towards the end of the year — which coincidentally is the start of summer. I can guarantee, when gyms reopen it’ll be a sea of panic, weights being thrown everywhere, a people desperately chasing the person they were.
Here are some quick tips;
Be creative with your environment — All the space you need for a workout is right in front of you. Block an hour out of your day away from screen time, in a room or even outdoors (if available) that’s not your working location. The change in scenario will work wonders to refresh the tedious sights.
Invest in basic equipment — Swiss ball, medicine ball, weights, kettlebells, yoga mat, foam roller, etc. This doesn’t have to be expensive, your local Target will have the majority of this gear, if they’re sold out look online for delivery options. To justify the purchase, quickly calculate how much money you’re saving from not commuting to work, your gym membership on hold, entry fees to competitive races or even after work drinks. It’ll surprise you.
If you prefer to save money during this period due to uncertainty then use what you have. Fill water bottles up for weights, use bags of sugar in as shopping ball as a medicine ball, a towel instead of bands, etc.
I’m fortunate enough to have the apartment rooftop space, if you don’t just be creative with what you have. It’s better to do tricep dips using a chair or push ups in the kitchen then nothing at all.
For cycling and running there are alternatives to going outside that might stick with you for life.
Indoor bike trainer — They might look serious and put people off. However, with indoor cycling becoming a booming industry there’s options for everyone. Whether you just want to connect an old bike to the trainer and spin the legs for 30 minutes a day, or race in virtual worlds at maximum effort over an hour long event against people all around the world. The opportunities are huge.
Indoor running — Running whilst staring at the same thing fills people with dread. However, there’s hope which may entice you. Connecting your running to a virtual world via a device that clips onto your trainers (Usually called a footpod) allows you to run on a platform similar to the cycling platform. Otherwise, YouTube has various running videos where people have attached a camera to their chest whilst running famous courses. You’ll be amazed how this virtual landscape motivates you. With the future only going to get more virtual I’ll recommend embracing this style now.
In summary, the actions and habits you create now will stick with you for a long time once this lockdown is over. This period we’re going through is a major transition to a new way of life. Working from home will become more common. Exercising without a gym or personal trainer will seem normal.
Don’t regret looking back and wishing you took this period as an opportunity.