With the world practicing self-isolation and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, all individuals in the UK have been urged to work from home if they can. But staying in can be just as fun and productive (or not) as going out.
A healthy diet can help keep your immune system working well – so it’s a great time to enjoy eating a range of healthy foods and enjoying making delicious food for yourself.
if you have food in the cupboard or in the freezer, this is a good time to use it. You will probably be surprised at what’s hiding in the back of your cupboards – those good intention healthy buys, like lentils and dried fruit. As you might not be used to cooking with some of your ingredients, try starting with the ingredient and then track down the right recipe.
Exercise will help boost your immune system and your mood and help you to avoid putting on weight while you're at home.
The guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week can be made up of short (around 10 minute) stints carried out at different points in the day and there are so many household activities - mowing the lawn, painting walls and ceilings, vacuuming - that will count towards the low-moderate end of the physical activity guidelines.
In order to improve fitness, we have to work our body harder than regular movement activities, for example, we need to walk at a brisk pace, dance or move faster than we would normally. To improve aspects of cardiovascular fitness, this means raising heart rate and starting to breathe more heavily.
If you’re at home all day, it can be easy to lose any sense of daily routine. So put exercise times in your diary to give some structure to your day. To be consistent, it may help to set up a sort of routine, doing it on the same day at the same time every week. or maybe you would rather keep it fresh, and mix it up, doing different things at different times. Be creative with your exercising; resistance exercise includes anything that offers a resistance to normal movement patterns - this can include lifting items at home (stockpiled tins, filled bottles or children!), using resistance bands or even just performing exercises against body weight, for example, squats or press ups. These should be carried out in 2-4 sets per muscle group for 6-12 repetitions per set. Rest intervals of 2-3 minutes per set are suitable. Rest periods of around 48 hours are suitable to allow for appropriate recovery.
Where whole households are self-isolating, it may be an opportunity to stay active together. Dance together, garden together, walk together. One thing you may miss desperately, is the support of a group. We all need to see and speak to people, and there’s lots you could try to help you not to feel lonely. Group exercise has proved to enhance motivation and effort, and being part of a team has been identified as important for maintaining a positive self and social identity. Importantly, group exercise has been shown to decrease anxiety and adherence levels are consistently reported to be higher among group exercise program's. One study found that 95 per cent of participants completed a weight loss program when they undertook it as part of a group, compared to just 76 per cent who completed it alone.
In the current climate it is therefore going to be challenging to retain some of the benefits associated with being active as part of a group and to remain being active at all. Luckily, the RhiFIT community has your back. You can chat in the forum, or on the Facebook page, and know that we are all dancing and working out together!
Dance to your favorite songs. Dance with scarves, with hats, with props, with other people in your household. Use it as a stress reliever as much as a tool to keep fit and healthy in isolation.
Using different methods to help your mental health will keep you feeling positive in this situation. Many people find writing a diary helpful. It doesn’t have to be a traditional diary: it could be pictures or poems, or anything you want.
Try to reset your mindset, if you can. It’s better if we can accept a lack of control, and see the positives – is it nice not to be commuting from work? Could you get a book delivered, or is there one on your shelf that you’ve been meaning to read? Could you make a list of films you’ve been hoping to see and enjoy getting through them? Is there something you’d like to learn that you could block out in your day – like learning to cook something new or doing a free online course? What would you enjoy that you can do at home?
With all this in mind, whatever you need to do to get through this with your physical and mental health in check must be your top priority.
What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions we are feeling right now, more focus on gentle and positive ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us.
The priority is keeping you and your family safe and healthy, while keeping your mental health boosted. Everything else, all the extra things (or not) are a bonus.
However you are dealing with this, be gentle with yourself.