Keep moving to beat the blues

Ever considered Coronavirus Bingo while watching the news or shadow boxing in the front room? Senior Lecturer in Sports Therapy Peter Thain has some original ideas for staying physically active during these ‘unprecedented times’.

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Exercise to improve your mood

Following government advice, as more of us begin to self-isolate and social gatherings are halted again, this could expose us to new feelings of low mood and stress. Exercise is a great way to combat stress, improve mood and gain a sense of wellbeing. This is why it’s really important that we try to exercise at home, rather than sitting on the sofa, binge watching Netflix.

For the older population, who may enjoy walking to the shops as their exercise, it’s worth considering alternative methods. If you have a garden, take a stroll in it, walking a few lengths frequently throughout the day. Equally, as spring approaches, it’s time to dig up those perennial weeds— gardening is a great way to exercise.

If you don’t have a garden, walk up and down the stairs to maintain muscular strength in your legs and cardiovascular fitness. If you don’t have stairs, frequently perform repetitive stand-up sit-downs in the chair to feel the legs working. Every time you want a cup of tea, stand and perform calf raises, for the time the kettle boils. Furthermore, why not put on some music and have a dance around the front room?

Coronavirus information  

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Coronavirus Bingo? 

It’s important to make exercise fun, rather than thinking you have 40 minutes of exercise to perform. Why not play 20 minutes of Coronavirus Bingo? When the News is on at 1pm and 6pm, and a certain word is mentioned, you have to perform an exercise. For example:

  • Boris – Stand up and sit down in your chair 10 times.
  • World Health Organisation – 10 calf raises.
  • Coronavirus – 10 arm raises with claps above your head.
  • Chief Medical Officer – walk up and down the stairs twice.

Whether young or old, you may think it’s difficult to exercise away from the gym. However, think about creating a circuit within your home, performing 40 seconds of exercise, with 20 seconds rest. Have a minute between each round and perform four to five rounds. Some examples include:

  • Step up, step down at the bottom of your stairs
  • Star jumps
  • Plank with shoulder taps
  • Using the side of the bed for triceps dips
  • Using the side of the bed for incline press ups  
  • Shuttle runs in the garden.

If you’re not self-isolating, go for a jog or cycle on your own. Alternatively, why not don the boxing gloves and shadow box in the front room?

Everyone has different health needs and this is not intended as a prescription of exercise for all, but rather a few ideas to maintain physical activity when at home.

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