Four tips for staying healthy at home

Most indoor and outdoor sports facilities are shut as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
Most indoor and outdoor sports facilities are shut as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

At the moment, very little about life feels normal.

If things feel strange and uncertain in lockdown, then that is because they are, but keeping your mind and body fresh are two of the most effective ways to manage your time in the coming weeks.

Over the last fortnight, millions of people have joined together in an online effort to stay active inside.

Here, BBC Sport NI speaks to two experts in mental and physical wellbeing, sports psychologist Anne Marie Kennedy and personal trainer Paul Reynolds, who like many have taken their work online as people find new ways to keep fit.

They have shared four easy and accessible ways in which everyone can look after themselves both physically and mentally while staying at home.

1. Relaxation - easier said than done

In a particularly anxiety-inducing time, you could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed.

"There are tools that we use in sport that can be used by the general population, and the first thing is to begin to manage to stress," says Kennedy.

"We need to learn to think well in times of stress.

"I would recommend for people out there just to take a step back.

"Try to reset and look at what skills you have to help you face some of the challenges that are coming down the line.

"It's no harm to look back at times when you have come through difficult situations, that you have done tough things before and you will be able to do them again."

2. The importance of a routine

Where we are at the moment is new territory, it is unstructured and it is certainly unsettling.

For most people, the most basic routine of going to school or work has been temporarily taken away, leaving huge gaps in what would usually form the spine of a standard weekly structure.

In the absence of such basic structures, try to map out a plan that can help bring recognisable a pattern in your day.

"First things first, a routine is vital," says Reynolds.

"It's extremely difficult to stay active if there's not a routine.

"Let's be honest, this is a chance to set new habits and routines, staying active is more vital than ever."

Up until now, the uncertainty of what may happen in the coming weeks and months has led many people to simply take each day as it comes.

While again an understandable approach, taking some time to plan the days ahead may help settle the anxiety that often accompanies not knowing what is around the corner.

"Start at getting organised, getting prepared the night before and having some structure to your day," advises Kennedy.

"Keeping your same sleep times, getting up at the same time.

"Taking your lunch is really important. When I started working from home I would work through breaks, if you do that, what will happen is that you will burn out.

"Take your breaks, get your physical exercise and it's really good to have some rituals in the evening whereby you can decide at five o'clock 'that's it, I'm closing my laptop. Work is over and I'm going to engage in other aspects of my life.',"

Gym Equipment
Many people are put off by a lack of gym equipment at home

3. No equipment? No problem

The wave of home workouts and exercise videos that have emerged in recent weeks centre around one very simple message: anyone can do this in their own house.

It is important to understand that a home workout is designed to be accessible to everyone, you don't need gym equipment or even a garden.

"There are so many different ways to be creative with no equipment," says Reynolds.

"For example consider a chair, you can do push-ups, dips, step-ups, squats and many more exercises.

"I think people are going to realise not being able to get to the gym isn't an excuse at all!

"For example walk up and down the stairs four times every 30 mins and try to beat your previous time, or plank and try to beat your plank time each hour.

"Try 30 day challenge such as push-ups and plank challenges. Each day you try to do more than the previous day, the difficulty increases but you are always progressing, and progress is rewarding."

Fitness at home
Many fitness instructors have started online classes as a result of lockdown and social distancing measures

4. Finding a new community and chasing joy

It is worth remembering that while concerns about becoming isolated or lonely are, for many, very legitimate, there are other ways in which companionship through exercise can be achieved without having to leave your house.

"There's never been a better time to focus all your energy on something," says Reynolds.

"So why not take this opportunity to try something new?"

"Right now, there are different kind of workouts at all times of the day such as dance, yoga, pilates and HIIT, which can be found easily with a quick internet search.

"Signing up to an online class instantly invites you into a new community, where you can bounce off like minded individuals."

"There needs to be some playfulness," concludes Kennedy.

"You have to chase joy at the moment so engaging in some activities that take the pressure off and have some fun in these concerning times."

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport