As humans, we are not designed to sit or lay down all day, and in fact, studies have shown that a sedentary life (too much time sitting or lying) can be the trigger for physical health problems, and mental health problems too. However, at the moment, for those of us that may be self-isolating in small student flats, staying active can be far from easy, and may not even feel that appealing to you.
Have you found yourself spending most of your time in bed, or slumped on the sofa, hunching over your laptop? Trust me, we get it. It can be incredibly difficult to stay motivated and moving when you are staring at the same four walls.
Luckily though, there are actually plenty of ways you can add movement into your day, that you may not have considered before. With just a little bit of effort, you can see big differences in how you are feeling, both physically and mentally.
Physical activity is much more than just high intensity workouts, lifting heavy weights or bending into all sorts of strange positions. Scientifically speaking, regular movement of the body (in whichever form you choose) is one of the key ingredients to a healthy body and mind. Moving our bodies releases ‘feel good’ chemicals within the brain to help us do just that – FEEL GOOD! It can boost our self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing our risk of stress and depression.
What does this mean?
Essentially, what this means is, as long as you are doing around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day (anything that raises your heart rate, such as taking a walk, riding a bike or playing active games with your flatmates), reducing the amount that you are sedentary (sitting or lying), and doing strengthening exercises at least twice per week (following a body weight exercise class, or taking the bins out), you are meeting the guidelines set by the NHS.
Do what’s right for you!
You do not need to push yourself to complete crazy workouts every day. Activities like getting outside in the fresh air for even 10 minutes can be amazing for your physical as well as your mental health, and I would highly recommend it, if you can. But even if you can’t do that, just focusing on trying to move, or finding time to focus on doing something to help you feel good can work wonders to support your health and your wellbeing.
Five ways to stay active whilst self isolating:
Make a routine and stick to it
You may not be able to stick to your normal routine, but you can create a new one which includes alternative ways to stay active. As tempting as it may be to stay in bed all day, in the long run this is bound to make you feel much worse.
So keep your alarm set for a normal time and do what you would normally do in the morning like have a shower and a good breakfast. And if you can get your body moving in the morning, even better!
Set yourself reminders to take regular breaks throughout the day and MOVE. You can find lots of ideas on the @UWEBristolSport Instagram and other social media pages.
Join a virtual exercise class
Throughout lockdown, hundreds of online exercise classes have emerged to help you keep active whilst spending more time at home. UWE Bristol Sport are delivering FREE live workout classes. Click here for a full list of classes available to you.
Never tried one of our exercise classes before? Well now is the perfect time to give them a go from the comfort of your own home!
Sport England have also collated lots of resources from around the UK to help you stay active and Join the Movement.
Maintain your hobbies or start a new one
Just as it is important to keep your body active, it’s important to keep your brain active too! Learning something new, or maintaining an activity that challenges your mind is a great way to keep your brain healthy and one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.
Get creative with your friends, family or housemates
Fancy getting your housemates involved in your new hobby? Why not video call a friend whilst completing the same virtual workout? Or show your family your new skill during a family video call?
Staying connected in any way that you can is another important way to look after your wellbeing. Plus, if you can teach someone else a new skill, you could be helping them support their wellbeing too – bonus!
Complete the household chores you’ve been putting off
This one is probably quite self-explanatory. Is it time to do the washing up after all that baking?
Visit our how to stay well in self-isolation page for more ideas on how to keep learning, keep well, keep connecting and of course, keep active!