Living under New Zealand’s alert level restrictions doesn’t mean you need to neglect your fitness. Here are our tips for staying active and healthy from home during these unprecedented times.
We talked a lot about the importance of creating and maintaining a schedule as we find our new normal in this article, and exercise is no different. Scheduling your workouts will not only prevent you from getting to the end of the day having run out of time, but it will also help you know when to eat to ensure you’re adequately fuelled to go into your training. By scheduling your workouts you can also let your family or housemates know you’ll need an area free of interruptions, well in advance. And you may even be able to coerce someone into joining you.
Whether from your home ‘bubble’ - or a friend you can train with virtually - having a training buddy can make exercise something you look forward to each day. Knowing they’re relying on you will make you less likely to find excuses when it’s time to train. To keep things interesting, you can also take turns at creating the day’s workout, choosing the route to walk, or workout video to follow.
Going for a walk is a great way to add movement into each day, especially during a time where you could naturally find yourself moving a lot less. For some, a walk will be all the exercise they can get in a day – if this is you, aim to walk for at least half an hour. Or if you’re aiming to increase your fitness, try doing a home workout and a walk each day. If you find being at home all day a little unnerving, a couple of local walks can be a nice way to break the day up, and help to ease any anxious feelings.
At home you won’t have the variety of equipment available that you would find at a gym. So take advantage of the plethora of free workouts available on the internet (look on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook) and on apps. Or, if you have the budget and the desire, hire an online Personal Trainer to teach you how to correctly perform movements and keep you progressing.
One of the nice things about not relying on a gym is the ability to train outside. If this is possible where you live, take your workout outdoors (on the balcony will do) and lap up some sunshine while you’re working up a sweat. The fresh air, vitamin D and natural light will do your body added favours too.
Make sure you’re not solely focused on one type of exercise, as different types offer different benefits. Try to incorporate cardiovascular, resistance (strength) and some form of stretch-based exercise into your routine.
If you're a beginner, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week, and 20 to 30 minutes of strength work three times a week. Be sure your strength work covers all major muscle groups throughout the week. Aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions for each strength-based exercise and be sure to stretch after each workout.
If you’ve got a well-equipped home gym in the garage, you’re already sitting pretty. However, if this isn’t the case you can create your own equipment with a little DIY. Use tinned cans, filled water bottles (opt for larger bottles for a heavier weight), buckets, broom handles, wheelbarrows the list goes on. Look online for some inspiration and learn how to use basic household items as fitness equipment… just ensure you’re always being safe.
Goal-setting is important no matter where you’re training. Having a goal will not only help motivate you to start, but also to keep going on days you’d rather just sit on the couch and do nothing.
Use a journal to track your progress and jot down any breakthroughs you may have or small milestones you reach, such as your first successful week of training. When you have a bad day make sure to write that down too, to help you to identify patterns you can break. For example, you may find that training in the morning helps you get your workout done, rather than leaving it till the evening when you feel tired and less motivated.
When it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals (or any goals for that matter), being consistent with the positive changes you make to your lifestyle is key. By keeping consistent with your healthy changes, you’ll form healthy new habits which in turn become your ‘new normal’ or new way of life.
Working out and keeping yourself physically active is all well and good, but without focusing on healthy nutrition it’s like trying to swim upstream. Eating healthily not only helps to adequately fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best, it also helps to positively reinforce the healthy changes you’re making in other areas of your life such as your fitness.
You've heard the phrase "you can't out-train a bad diet," and this is the bottom line when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Nutrition and exercise are both important aspects of losing fat and gaining fitness and strength. However, nutritional habits will have a far greater impact on your body composition and physique goals than any other fitness component alone. When a combination of exercise and healthy nutrition are implemented, that’s when successful changes in the body happen.
Keep an eye out for our home workout videos!
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be uploading workout videos you can do from home to help you keep fit and stay active during this isolation period. Keep an eye out on our hub for these videos and more!
1. Smith, P. (2018), How to get fit without a gym.
2. Sarnataro, B, R. (2005), Get in shape without leaving the house.
3. Bremer, L. (2018) Consistency - The missing link to achieving your health & fitness goals.
4. Leal, D. (2019) Is nutrition more important than exercise?