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Working Out at Home: 5 Questions Answered

Young couple stretching at home

The gym is shut, so you can’t stay fit - true or false? False of course, but it’s one of the many common myths around exercise that’s preventing lots of people from getting active during lockdown.

With gym doors closed for the foreseeable future, it can be tough to establish a new schedule at home. The benefits of exercise for both the body and mind are huge though, so it’s worth figuring out a new routine. Here, Mark O’Reilly, a Health and Wellbeing Coach at Fitvision, responds to five of the most common reasons people aren’t staying active during lockdown. 

1. I Only Ever Work Out in the Gym 

While lots of us associate gym equipment with staying active, there’s plenty you can do indoors, in your garden or in a local park (while maintaining social distance). “We all need some structure to our exercise routine”, says Mark, “but you don’t have to have gym membership to get fit. There’s a lot to be said for exercising outside; fresh air, natural light and beautiful greenery.” Mix up your activity during the week; a walk or jog within the HSE’s recommended 2km radius, a home yoga session, and a circuit in the garden. Why not see if your local gym is hosting online classes and invite friends to join you via Zoom?

2. I Don’t Have Time to Exercise 

Lots of people who’ve found themselves suddenly working from home have been thrown into a world of chaos, especially if they have kids. Though it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, even a short burst of exercise is beneficial. “Just 20 or 30 minutes of exercise is enough to burn calories, improve mood and strengthen the body,” says Mark. The key is building a new habit, and what better time to do that than while self-isolating! “Exercising every day will ensure you experience the benefits”, he says. Create a daily planner on the wall that all the family can input into. Include everything from meals and schoolwork to playtime to exercise.

Older couple exercising from home

3. I’m Not Fit Enough to Exercise

This may sound like a strange excuse, but it’s actually quite common. People think they’re not fit enough to do resistance training; where the weight of the body is used against itself. It should be combined with cardio and mobility stretching – all of which can be done at home. “Resistance training can incorporate weights, squats, lunges or the plank for example,” explains Mark. “You don’t need to be fit to do it. Anyone can start slowly, and it’s essential to build up the core.” You’ll find hundreds of resistance routines on YouTube that can be done from the comfort of your living room. 

4. I Have Back Pain

Back pain is likely to be even more common during lockdown, as people spend the working day at makeshift desks. The irony is that the less you exercise, the more likely you are to experience it. “The right types of exercise targeting the correct muscles will work wonders for your back,” Mark notes. “In many cases, the pain actually disappears as the back gets stronger and more resilient.” Ease yourself into a home routine with gentle online yoga or Pilates sessions, noting what feels good, and stopping if pain increases.

5. I Need to Have an Exercise Goal

It can be hard to keep a goal in mind when the world feels like it’s on hold. That said, Mark reckons they can actually work against us. “The problem with targets is that we don’t always reach them, and then we become demotivated and stop exercising altogether.” The real benefit right now is in the process of staying active. Think of creative ways to work out with family in the house, or virtually with friends. Make these sessions fun, and they’re more likely to ease any stress or anxiety you might be feeling right now.

Keen to get a routine in place? The MyLife app is full of handy tools and resources to help keep you on track.

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