Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Right now, it’s never been easier to be inactive. With Quarantines, Isolations, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and gym closures, it can be a difficult time to stay physically active.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways. If you're like many people in Australia and around the world, more time at home can lead to cycles of inactivity, increased stresses, and poor nutritional habits.
All of this can lead to reductions in physical and psychological health. But as things open up across Australia, right now is the perfect time to get a little more active, and to get the best out of this year.
If any of this feels like it’s talking to you, I’ve got a few top tips for a safe return to a little more activity and exercise.
Find something you enjoy - it’s not only about sweating it out in the gym and lifting weights. There are so many ways to be physically active. Whether you want some time to yourself, or are more comfortable with the accountability and social benefits of group activities, don't feel pressured into anything you don't enjoy doing.
Aim to achieve 30 mins of moderate, or 15 mins vigorous physical activity on most days of the week (ref). Fortunately, the evidence tells us that you can accumulate the minimum of 150 minutes in any way that works for you. But try to do some things that get your heart rate up (like hilly walks, or jogging or even dancing!), and a few things against some bodyweight resistance (like push-ups and squats) to keep those large muscle groups strong.
Try to view it as quality time away from work, phones, and laptops, and make it a priority in your day. You have the choice to either make time for physical activity or you make time for the effects of ill health. It's really that important.
Start where you are. Find the level that puts you towards the edge of your comfort zone and go from there. Don't try and do too much, too soon. The chance of injury is very low when you build up the intensity, frequency, and duration slowly.
Fitness is always a journey and not a destination. Aim to build active and sustainable habits for a lifetime, not just a month.
Remember that every move counts. Ther’s no minimum dose of physical activity to start seeing health benefits for the heart, body & mind. Some is always better than none.
Importantly, this applies to all ages & all abilities
If you’re not sure where to start, schedule one walking meeting each day for the next two weeks - I promise you, you’ll thank yourself for the efforts, and will notice the benefits in that time!
Okay, that’s it from me.
Take care out there, and have a fantastic and physically active day!
References and Further Reading
Bull FC, et al. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:1451–1462. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2020-102955 https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/bjsports/54/24/1451.full.pdf
WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015111