Happy February, we’ve made it this far! Albeit we’ve been pretty lucky weather-wise, with our worst weather being only around -20 degrees so far (but I don’t want to jinx it so let’s pretend I didn’t say that!).
With the chillier weather settling in and C***d-19 still around, leaving the house is a bit of an ordeal, nevermind leaving the house to exercise (read: finding the motivation to exercise at all is an ordeal). Now I know gyms are on their way to re-opening (yay) but this doesn’t mean everyone will be comfortable going back straight away.
A lot of us have been trying our best to keep the motivation high and the knees even higher, but when you’re out of your normal routine and life is throwing a million new stressors in your path – exercise is often the first thing to fall off the to-do list. As much as I am the same as everyone else, I take issue with that – why is our health the first thing we drop when we’re stressed? It should be the last thing to go! Keeping yourself active even in some way has a huge (really huge) effect on how much sleep you are getting, your work productivity, your happiness, health and especially immunity levels (1, 2).
What are some of the reasons we bail on exercise? I’m sure you’ve all heard (or used yourself) one of these: “I’m too tired” “I don’t know what to do” “I don’t have the equipment” “I have too much work to do” “The kids/dog/husband needs my help” “I’ll just do a longer session tomorrow” and many more. How do we fight that? Here’s how:
- YOU are IMPORTANT. Your health matters. Plain and simple. Make time to get a good sweat in WITHOUT feeling guilty. If you’re not in top top shape, how will you care for anyone else?
- Make it ROUTINE. We all love routine, it keeps our frazzled brains in check. If you’re not going to remember a session on your own, make an appointment with yourself in your calendar (and don’t ignore it when the reminder goes off).
- You may have to make some SACRIFICES. And by that I mean maybe not binging all of “The Queen’s Gambit” in a day. Watch an episode – do some exercise. It’s all about balance.
- Think about your WHY. Do you exercise to feel good? Do you do it to look good? Do you exercise to stay healthy? There are a million reasons to exercise but one of the most important ‘why’s’ is your health. If you neglect your body …… Try to always come back to your why.
Motivational speech aside, another big problem with working out from home is the lack of equipment, and if you’ve tried to purchase any exercise equipment during the pandemic, you know it’s not easy to get your hands on some. Here are a few tips to help get you set up:
- No weights? MacGyver it! Using plastic milk jugs filled with sand or water can be a great substitute for weights, and if you fill them 75% full the extra sloshing around will add another layer of challenge!
- Use them for: weighted squats and lunges, shoulder raises, and overhead presses
- Backpacks aren’t just for school. Filling a backpack up with heavy items (ie. books, utensils, shoes, etc.) and use it in place of weights.
- Use it for: in place of kettlebell swings, or wear it like normal to add some weight to calf raises
- Bed sheets: you can sleep on them AND use them for exercise – who knew?!
- Use them for: in place of battle ropes for a good cardio and upper body workout, or fixed through the door frame (or something solid) for upper body exercises like face pulls, pull ups, pec flys, etc.
- Therabands: a Physio’s bread and butter! It’s no secret we Physio’s love our exercise bands, be them tubes, or the small circles, or just a long band – they are SO versatile!
- Use them for: basically any shoulder exercise (ie. overhead presses, chest pressed, raises, face pulls, and many more), attach them onto a door handle (on the opposite side -> then close the door on the band), stand on them to add resistance for double or single leg romanian deadlifts, or tie them onto a chair to really smash your quads with some loaded knee extensions.
In summary, as much as the pandemic can squash our motivation at times, gym limitations and reduced access to equipment doesn’t need to slow us down that much! Once you get started and feel those endorphins flowing, you’ll wonder why you ever took a break from exercising.
If you want to know more about any of the above, or have questions about reps and sets, or how to exercise a certain muscle group – reach out! Physio doesn’t have to be for injury rehab, we are here for all your health needs!
P.S. check out our instagram for videos of some of the above mentioned exercises!
- Ströhle, A. Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. J Neural Transm 116, 777 (2009).
- Bridget, F. et al. The effects of exercise interventions on quality of life in clinical and healthy populations; a meta-analysis. Social Science & Medicine 9:68 1700-1710.