It can be a little bit tricky to figure out how to remain active whilst gyms are closed and regular sports groups are not able to meet, but it isn’t impossible!

Much like when it comes to working from home, our first key tip is to make a dedicated space for the activity. Having an open, well-lit space can make all the difference when it comes to exercising at home. Research has shown that increased amount of natural daylight can improve mood and sleep quality[1] – so why not maximise your exposure?!

 

Get your vitamin D! 

Get the kids involved in your exercise – Time is one of the key barriers to exercise and it goes without saying that having children can be very time-consuming. What better way to make sure the whole family sees the benefit of exercise than getting everyone involved? Family walks, yoga sessions or workouts are just a few ideas! If you live on your own, you could arrange to do an online workout with some friends online? Or give someone a call while you are on a walk? Just because you are being active at home, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone!

Tai Chi – Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art (one for the history buffs!) and is one of the gentlest ways to exercise, but it is also hugely beneficial for your mental health. Due to the focus on breathing and mindfulness, it has been shown to have positive effects on mood, endorphin levels, concentration, and stress levels. In addition, Tai Chi is also ideal for anyone who is experiencing mobility or physical health issues due to its slow and gentle nature![2]

Yoga – Much like Tai Chi; Yoga is a gentle, low-risk high-reward approach to improving your physical and mental health. It has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. Physically, Yoga can reduce heartrate, lower blood pressure and ease respiration.[3] Bonus top tip, Yoga can be completed without a mat – but if you would like some extra support try using a towel as a mat and having a rolled up towel as a ‘block’ for extra support when needed!

If you are keen to get started right away, why not try one of our favourites – Yoga with Adrienne?

Body Weight Workout – Research has shown that body weight and resistance exercises are not only good for inflating your muscles, but also your mood. It can have benefits such as increased endorphin release, reduced stress levels and boost your self-worth and confidence.[4] Another bit of good news – it can be equipment free, so no extra cost to get started!

Amazon Prime Video – Did you know that if you are an Amazon Prime Member, you already have access to a large number of fitness videos? In fact, there are over 6,000 fitness & workout sessions available!

HIIT – HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is one of the fastest growing forms of exercise in the World and it is not as scary as it seems! It is known for rapidly increasing physical fitness, but like many high-intensity forms of exercise it has huge benefits for mental health too. Partaking in just a single session of HIIT can have large increases in mood and wellbeing, and sustained sessions just twice a week can lead to a large reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety.[5] There are thousands of HIIT workouts available, so you can definitely find a session that suits you!

Okay, the next 3 are kind of cheating because they aren’t technically at home – unless you are lucky enough to have a big garden or access to a treadmill/exercise bike…

Walking – As a form of exercise, you really can’t do much better than walking. It has been shown that regular walking can positively impact stress, mood, self-esteem, and sleep quality[6]. Another benefit is that under current guidance, we can meet up with one other person not in our bubble to exercise – so why not consider going on a mindfulness walk? Or setting yourself an achievable daily step goal?

Pound that Pavement! 

Jogging – Much like the other form of exercise previously mentioned, jogging has a huge positive impact on your mental health including our old favourites of sleeping better, feeling more rested, and having improved concentration - as well as all of the physical health benefits too.[7] Jogging is a brilliant way to explore your surroundings, but we cannot stress enough the importance of getting dedicated running shoes - this will help prevent injury and help keep your motivation up!

Cycling – Similarly to jogging, cycling is higher intensity activity that is best taken on outside. However, one interesting positive to getting out on your bike is that the repetitive movement of cycling can have a relaxing effect on the brain – which stabilises both physical and mental function.[8]

Active Video Games – Video games might not be your first thought when it comes to being active, but there is a growing market for games which are based around fitness and exercise. It is a brilliant place to start when it comes to being active and a way of making it fun and accessible for the whole family – why not see what games are available on your devices?!

Does anyone remember Wii Fit? 

Any form of exercise is massively beneficial for your mental and physical health. The key is to make the most of the space that you do have and try and build exercise into your usual routine. If you do find that exercise is no longer a habit, or something you would like to do more, remember, every day is a new day, and you can always draw a line under yesterday, what new activity could you try today?

 

References:

[1] - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4031400/

[2] - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917559/

[3] - https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

[4] - https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-strength-training-2019-2

[5] - https://foreverfitscience.com/hiit/can-hiit-improve-mental-health/

[6] - https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/get-walking/why-walk/healthy-minds#

[7] - https://www.coachmag.co.uk/mental-health/8602/how-running-can-improve-your-mental-health

[8] - https://mensline.org.au/mens-mental-health/cycling-positive-mental-health/