Spring is now Summer and with the warmer weather and longer days, our fitness habits during lockdown have changed too. Many of us have moved from kitchen Pilates, staircase climbing and living room lunges, to bike rides in the park, morning runs and afternoon rambles (all keeping our safe distance of course!).
While life has been more than a little limiting it has felt great to move a little more to keep our bodies and brains active. Being able to do it all outside? Even better!
The thing is, as and when restrictions are eased and we start to get back to a new normality, it will be easy to forget some of the good habits you’ve been developing. With that in mind, here are a few points to help you keep up the good work this summer.
Remember when walking became, fun?
In the past, many of us viewed walking as something functional (possible something to be avoided!). Just a way of getting from a to b. But, thanks to lockdown, we’ve become reacquainted with the activity as an enjoyable experience in its own right.
It’s a gentle way the whole family can get moving, enjoy the fresh air and get your heart pumping without requiring special equipment. It also helps build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier, not to mention the mental health benefits.
So, if you’ve re-discovered the joy of walking, don’t let this good habit slip. Why not look up some new routes you and your family can enjoy once we can all walk a little further? There’s no reason why getting out for a walk can’t become a key part of your new normal.
Sun potion – get your vit hit
We’ve all been making the most of our gardens and outside spaces for exercise during lockdown. Why? Because it felt so good to get out for a bit of fresh air and natural light.
Well, this is another habit we shouldn’t let slip. Because in addition to benefiting from whatever exercises we’ve been doing, we’ve all been getting an important dose of Vitamin D in the process.
Vitamin D is actually essential for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, and, in turn, helps maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles. What’s more, Vitamin D is wonderful for boosting our immune systems.
When life get a little more normal and more of our traditional freedoms return, that sofa might start to look pretty appealing again. If it does, just remember how fond you became of being active outside. No matter how dull the sky may seem, your body will benefit!
Just remember to slap on a minimum of factor 15 sunscreen if you’re outside in the summer (even in the UK!), and make that factor 30 and up for the kids.
Getting a good night’s sleep has never been more important. It’s a time for our minds and bodies to recuperate from the day’s stresses.
It’s also another reason to keep up your outdoor exercise routine. Taking part in outdoor activities exposes your body to the elements and stimulates all your senses, adding a different layer of intensity to your workout and tiring you out for a good night’s sleep.
Our sleep cycles also rely on the sunlight to let our body know when it’s time to wind down or wake up, so you will also find that spending more time outdoors and less time in dark houses will help regulate your sleep pattern, which is essential when it comes to maximising your body’s recovery and repair!
Keep it up!
According to NHS guidelines adults need to get around 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, while children should be getting around an hour. Lockdown has actually prompted many of us to hit these targets…simply for something to do. Don’t stop! But also don’t forget that you can mix activity with all the benefits of being outside.
When lockdown lifts, perhaps continue to keep track of when you are getting outdoors and what you are doing – aiming to make sure you are doing one active thing outdoors each day.
If you look back at the week and realised you have spent most of it cooped up inside, try and introduce an outdoor workout or a walk around the block? It doesn’t need to be strenuous, as long as your heart beats a little quicker and you get warmer.
Whether you’ve used the lockdown to form new habits, or you’ve desperately missed the gym and sports sessions, don’t underestimate the advantages of these changes – and don’t be too quick to dismiss them in the future!