EXERCISING AT HOME – THERE'S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME!
If you are missing the gym, your weekend round of golf, or tennis at your local club whilst the world is in lock down it can be hard to find the incentive to keep up your activity levels exercise whilst confined in-doors.
Exercise doesn’t just help with weight, being active is good for our general health as well as mental health. When performed regularly exercise has been shown to prevent and help manage many chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and musculo-skeletal disorders such as arthritis and back pain.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the following:
For People Aged between 5 and 17:
- 60 minutes of moderate to vigorously-intense physical activity – every day
- More than 60minutes daily will provide even more health benefits
- Most of this daily physical exercise should be aerobic
- It should also incorporate vigorous intensity activities which strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week
For People Aged between 18 and 64:
- 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic physical activity every week
- Aerobic activity should be ideally be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes
- 300 minutes of moderately intense or 150 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic physical activity brings even more health benefits
- Muscle-strengthening activities should be performed involving the major muscle groups on two or more days each week.
If You are Over 65 Years of Age:
- 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic physical activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic physical activity
- Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes
- 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 150 of vigorous aerobic physical activity brings even greater health benefits
- Activities which enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week
- Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving the major muscle groups, on 2 or more days a week
- The goal is to be as physically active as your abilities and conditions allow.
Just because you exercised in your youth it doesn’t mean you can’t bank it’s benefits. This means it’s important to keep active throughout your lifetime. Since you won’t have access to the usual places that used to help you keep active, it’s easy to think your fitness, strength and exercise levels will inevitably have to suffer during periods of isolation in doors. However, even little can go a long way, a 20 minute home workout a couple of times a week will help stave off ill health (and a spare tyre). With a small investment in some minimal equipment, such as a resistance band and a couple of light dumbbells (you could use a pair of water bottles instead of dumbbells) it’s possible to be even more productive with home workouts. Furthermore, if you are finding you have extra time on your hands, now is your perfect time to dedicate to improving your fitness!
If you are planning on getting into working out from home, here are my top tips:
Don’t Forget to Warm-Up
If you are exercising at home, you may be off the sofa or out of your home office. If so, a decent warm up becomes all the more important to raise prepare the body and prevent injury. A low intensity warm up routine is also a great opportunity to incorporate some balance and mobility work such as one leg stands and ankle movement. For an example (thorough) warm up routine below.
Choose Online Workout’s Wisely
Particularly if you are harbouring an injury, or have suffered from sports or “wear and tear” injuries in the past (more likely as you get older) you should be sure you are not choosing to a follow along workout videos that are not quite suited to you. Most personal trainers know all there is to know when it comes to shedding pounds and toning muscles but have relatively little experience dealing with or catering for people with (past) injuries. If you are not used to star jumps, burpees, kettlebell swings, and the like, it’s probably wise to give these high impact or explosive movements a miss, since they come with a greater chance of injury, especially if don’t have a personal trainer by your side scrutinising your performance technique (trust me I’ve seen many a patient in clinic who caused themselves mischief with such things)!
Don’t Forget to Exercise Your Back Muscles (Posterior Chain)
It can be tempting to focus on pushing movements (such as push-ups, shoulder presses and abdominal crunches) as these are the most familiar exercise to most people exercising at home. However, the risk of relatively over0working these anterior chain muscles, is that it can cause disadvantages posture (e.g. rounded shoulders and “kypho-lordosis”) that can lead to pain and injuries.
To balance out the effects of anterior chain / push movements be sure to incorporate posterior chain exercises that use the glute, back and muscles in-between the shoulder blades (rhomboids, lats and mid & lower trapezius). This is achieve with exercises such as (single arm) rows, rear lunges and glute bridges.
Improvisation is the Key
You can be forgiven for thinking you lack the equipment for an effective workout at home. The truth is however that there are numerous options for most people. With a kitchen chair or stool, you can perform triceps dips. If you have a kitchen bench, you can do incline push ups here we come(easier than the floor push up variety and won’t leave you covered in dog hair). Got a set of stairs? If you have, then incorporate steps ups, or even decline press ups. And with a broomstick and a pair of chairs (or kitchen stools) you can perform reverse rows (show below)
Invest in a Set of Resistance Bands
With a set of resistance bands the possibilities become even more numerous. You’ll be to eplicate most weight and pulley exercise machines and in the gym, such as bicep curls, triceps press-downs, cable rows, leg press and perform even more functional (and (rehabilitative) versions of classics like the leg extension such as a banded Bulgarian split squat (one of my personal favourite’s, shown below).
See my “Whole Body – Home Exercise Band Routine ” below (Including mini warm-up, all performed from a standing position, no getting up and down off the floor).
The mantra used to be that Inactivity was associated with being overweight, which then led to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, recent studies have shown that even individuals of normal weight, who are inactive, are also at increased risk of developing disease.
Individuals following the recommended guidelines on physical activity have been shown to have a 39% lower risk of dying. Even doing half the recommended amount of activity have shown a 20% reduced risk and it’s never too late to gain benefit. Regular physical activity halves your risk of developing some cancers, such as bowel and breast cancer. If that were a pill, surely pill worth taking!
So, if you are a regular exerciser don’t stop your good habits during this period of enforced isolation and if you are new to exercise, now is the perfect time to start.
We have some advice sheets covering 10 of the most common medical conditions with specific physical activity guidelines and advice for each:
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