As we all learn to navigate through the uncertainty that is lockdown, practising methods of self-care is more important now than ever before.
Of course, a lot is to be said for a tranquil bath and your favourite scented candle, but attempting to maintain a healthy body and having efficient physical health is also imperative for your mind and emotional wellbeing. Research shows that participating in regular exercise helps release endorphins, increases self-esteem and allows for a better night sleep: all things that are extremely important to focus on in this current climate.
Providing senses of both happiness and normality are just a couple of reasons why an increasing number of people are turning to home workouts during lockdown. In fact, a recent survey proves that 43% of 30 respondents who didn’t partake in any exercise prior to Covid-19 are now moving their bodies on a regular basis.
It’s in black and white: digital fitness platform Les Mills has seen a 900% increase in sign ups as people are fulfilling their positivity craving by accessing online workouts. While some people have been singing up to beauty box subscriptions (which we are also obsessed with), others have been joining fitness apps and programmes to see them through this current period.
“Working out from home allows me to have more freedom-I don’t have the feeling of anyone watching me and I’m not constantly waiting for equipment to be free”. 21 year-old, Jamie Hargreaves explains.
After being one of the thousands of people across the country that were furloughed in March, Jamie turned to home workouts “to fill the time during lockdown”.
“Before lockdown, the only exercise I would really do is going out for a run maybe three, four times a week. Because of the hours I worked, I didn’t have enough time or energy to do as much exercise as I would have liked. Now I just want to make the most of all the free time I have”.
In addition to it being a great time-filler, Jamie confirms that working out from home has allowed his mind and body to be noticeably healthier.
“Working out from home has reminded me of how efficient body-weight workouts are. Doing HIIT sessions that include burpees, jump squats and press-ups allow you to tone your body and relax your mind without any equipment or gym atmosphere”.
Whilst this is a great mind-set to carry, we are also aware that beginning a fitness journey from home can be intimidating and confusing for some. With no immediate access to personal trainers to guide you on how to exercise or knowing what to work out, this lack of knowledge can be off putting for those wanting to start. Jamie explains that only weeks before lockdown was announced, he began his application to the RAF. Acknowledging that once he is able to begin this process he will have to partake in rigorous training and fitness, he decided to use this as a huge motivation technique:
“Wanting to join the RAF has been my main driving force behind my home workouts. When I worked out before lockdown, I was predominately doing weight-lifting, whereas now my routines are mainly cardio-vascular based to prepare myself for the future. I also access my workouts through Instagram using the page @grizz_phys, as they’re made by serving Royal Marines so I know what intensity to expect”.
Social media is proving to be an extremely popular and contemporary way of sourcing home workouts, as 64% respondents from the previous survey claim this is how they’re getting fit. But are the results from which better or worse than results we see from the gym? 46% of these respondents believe they are seeing impressive results, and whilst Jamie also agrees, he does verify that exercising during lockdown does bring about its challenges.
“Whilst I’m definitely showing weight-loss and toning up of my body, I am still running every day and I’m struggling to get my time for this down. I think is because my recovery isn’t great and therefore I’m continuously getting injured. My muscles constantly feel like they’re being pulled and strained and because I can’t see my physio at the moment I can’t ask why this is happening and get a massage/therapy for the pain”.
It is important that we reiterate that if your home exercise is causing extreme pain and comfort to be extra cautious and not continue because, as Jamie illustrated, experts in releasing this tension aren’t available at the moment. But, regardless of these hurdles, will this be something people carry forward once lockdown restrictions have been lifted? Is Jamie ready for the sweet scent of sweat as the gym opens, or will he remain working out in the comfort of his own home?
“For me personally, working out at home is more convenient. Especially after work, I’m not having to travel to the gym during it’s busiest period and I’ve built up a routine that I don’t have to pay for. If I can see benefits without having to make a monthly payment, I don’t see the point in returning to the gym”.
We would like to conclude this post by stressing that if you have no desire to exercise during this period, that is a completely valid feeling too. This pandemic can be fearsome and of course unprecedented, so there is no ‘right’ way to use this time. As long as you are happy and healthy, that is all that matters.