Self-isolation and home exercises

Self-isolation and home exercises

Or how to stay fit and healthy during your period of self-isolation during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Please note that as this is written and published, there is constant new evidence and information being released about the virus, so please see this as informative at the time of publish but not exhaustive nor fully conclusive. 

As some of you may have already guessed, I am going to talk about Covid-19 in this blog. As many will know, this is a current global virus that is having a lot of people concerned. I understand that for some this may be a difficult subject to talk about, and I welcome your comments and will be happy to explore other ways to support your concerns in future blogs.

Over the past few weeks we have been trying to find ways to keep one another motivated and engaged. We have been doing some writing, some painting: good things for the mind, but we have also been exploring how to keep the body fit and active. We started with walks but there is only so much can you walk and only so often you can walk the same path. That is not to say that walking is not fun and is not beneficial. Far from it. I know that some of you may really enjoy your walk: and that’s great.

For us I guess it has also been looking at other ways to keep one another physically fit, inspired and motivated. The holistic approach to keeping the mind and body strong is so important, especially at this time when many of us are locked up for several weeks with little means to keep ourselves fit and motivated.

I must thank my sister for the next point: getting us onto Joe Wicks. For those of you who don’t know Joe Wicks, he is a Body Coach, has amassed a large following on social media, and is currently running morning home exercises for people to do at home in the mornings (however it is on YouTube, so once it is recorded, you can do it at any time which suits you).

Here is one of his videos. I am not affiliated to him or his company. I just think that what he is doing is great, getting people and families active doing practical own body weight exercises for 30 minutes a day.

Joe Wicks. YouTube.

After doing a few of the sessions I feel myself panting and puffing with wobbly legs and wiping sweat off my brow, but I’m happy I am involved in the little exercise classes.

And I think that this really has the potential to be something much bigger.

At home exercises have the potential to not only improve people’s lives now, but in the future as well. I can imagine that a lot of people may want to continue with this type of home exercise, not having to worry about the intimidating atmosphere which the gym can present with at times, and comfortable doing an exercise routine in their room.

Whilst it is a difficult time for many adjusting to the daily challenges which coronavirus presents, it is important to try and look after the mind and body, to look after our mental wellbeing, physical health and immune system.

One way to do so, as mentioned above, is home exercise. If you don’t weigh dumbbells that’s ok: you can use your own body weight.

You can do calisthenics.

Calisthenics are exercises that don’t rely on anything but a person’s own body weight. These exercises are performed with differing levels of intensity and rhythm. Sometimes these exercises are done with light handheld tools like rings and wands.

These exercises allow for the development of strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination.

Calisthenics were developed in ancient Greece and became popular again in the early 19th century. Today, fitness training of athletes, military personnel, law enforcement officers, and people trying to keep in shape use these exercises for warming up for strenuous sports or to help build up their bodies. Scientist are also now studying the use of calisthenics to help treat various health conditions, from obesity to COPD.

HealthLine, 2020.

According to Mazzo (2019), there are several benefits to doing calisthenics. These include:

  1. You are your own equipment. For calisthenics you don’t need much. If you have you, that is enough for most of the exercises.
  2. You can build strength. It is easy to think that strength gains can only be accomplished in the gym, but by being able to do pull ups for example where you are using several muscle groups all at the same time, you are developing enormous amounts of strength in your upper body.
  3. You are using the body to its functional potential. You are doing exercises which work the whole body, exercises which are utilising multiple muscle groups and joints and ligaments.
  4. On top of using the body to its functional potential, you are also using it to its natural potential and limitations. Where free weight exercises may impose excessive weight on joints, causing damage and inflammation, you are your own weight, and you control how much if your weight you will use for any given exercise, depending on your levels of strength and fitness. Can’t do a regular pushup? That’s ok, Try doing a push up with your knees rested on the floor. Do what works for you and develop it up from there.
  5. You are doing your coordination a favour as well. Improving hand eye coordination is not exclusive to video game players. Through doing exercises which involve you doing multiple movements and using different combinations, it forces you to concentrate, engaging not only the body, but the mind as well.

There are many interesting calisthenics instructors out there, and I have found a link of online video exercises which you may wish to have a browse and through and find something which interests you:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/youtube-fitness-channels-for-getting-in-shape/

Here are some of the video links from the article for you to check out:

Popsugar Fitness. YouTube.
Blogilates. YouTube.
Yoga with Adriene. YouTube.
FitnessBlender. YouTube.

We are not all into aerobics. Some of us like a dance. Some of us like to do Yoga. The link above, whilst a taster, gives an idea of some YouTube home exercise channels which you may wish to explore.

Before embarking on these exercises though, if you have any injuries or underlying physical health conditions, work within your limitations and do only what you can safely do. Whilst we are in this time of self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, we need to try and come out of this alive. If we come out of it a few lbs heavier, that’s ok. The goal is to stay alive and to flatten the curve.

If you are showing with symptoms of the coronavirus though, please seek medical advice and support from your local health authorities. The general recommendation if you are symptomatic is to place yourself in quarantine until such time as the virus has passed. But please, still follow the guidelines of your local health authority and seek reliable and valid information sources for your forms of information, such as the World Health Organization or your local health care authority.

I would like to finish off on a slightly lighter note, with a short little video I found about washing hands. Especially at this time, if it going out, or doing sit ups at home, remember to wash your hands.

Babylon. YouTube.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely week wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: stay home, stay safe, flatten the curve, look after yourself.

References:

HealthLine. (2020). 8 Calisthenics Exercises for Beginners. Available: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/calisthenics#pullups. Last accessed 12th April 2020.

Mazzo L. (2019). What Is Calisthenics (and Should You Be Doing It)?. Available: https://www.shape.com/fitness/trends/what-is-calisthenics-workout-benefits. Last accessed 12th April 2020.

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A bit about the author:

I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. 

Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.

I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. 

In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course, and in 2020 I commenced further training in Prescribing to train toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.

In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars.

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