At a time when gyms are closed and the population is being asked to stay at home, finding ways to keep active can be challenging. Regular physical activity is strongly associated with a reduced risk of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes as well as improving mental health. Even small increases in physical activity can positively impact on health. Heart Research UK have some tips to help you meet the recommended amount of physical activity while staying at home.
How much physical activity is recommended?
The Government recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. This can be broken down into chunks of ten minutes or more. It is also recommended that adults engage in strengthening activities on two days each week. If you are not yet in the habit of doing this amount of physical activity, you can start small and build up to the recommended amount over time.
Moderate Intensity Activities
(150 minutes weekly)
Your heart will beat faster, you will breathe harder, you will get warmer and you can probably maintain a conversation
E.g. Brisk Walking or cycling
Vigorous Intensity Activities
(75 minutes weekly)
Your heart will beat rapidly, you will breathe much harder, you will get warmer and it will be difficult to have a conversation
E.g. Running or football
(to be done on 2 days each week)
E.g. lifting weights, push-ups
- Replace your daily commute with physical activity
If you are working at home, you may be saving time that would normally be spent on commuting to and from work. Why not put this time to good use by scheduling in some physical activity. For example, you could go for a brisk walk, jog or cycle outdoors or walk briskly around the house, including going up and down flights of stairs.
- Find a range of exercises you can do inside your home
Find exercises that you can do in short bursts of ten minutes or more, at regular intervals throughout the day. For example, you could try some gentle weight-lifting, using cans of baked beans. The NHS provide tips for exercising without gym equipment: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/gym-free-workouts/
- Don’t be a couch potato
Rather than spending your evenings sitting on the sofa without moving much, why not try a few gentle exercises, such as leg raises, while watching your favourite TV show. Examples of some exercises you can do from your sofa can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Documents/sofa-workout.jpg