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Staying Home, Staying Fit

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and physical exercise save it and preserve it” Plato.

We are all spending more time indoors these days, spending most time sitting. Being sedentary, no matter what the reason, is detrimental to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. So, staying active during this difficult time and all other times is a very important habit to cultivate now. Ways we can stay active and continue with our workout routine is to improvise with very little or no equipment at all and remembering that any activity is better than none at all.

Successful people are “proactive” and successful individuals “begin with the end in mind.” Steven Covey

It take only just 30 minutes daily of moderate aerobic activity five times a week (global recommendation). You don't even have to do all 30 minutes in a single dose, you can break it up into 10 minute blocks. You can also go for half the total for the week by doing moderate vigorous exercises and get by with 75 minutes for the week doing 15 minutes a day or even 38 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Anything above and beyond the above minimum recommendation gets the thumbs up always. Ideally, mixing and matching activities according to capability and enjoying it on a regular basis is the way to go.

Simple but effective limbering before any exercise, starting with hearty laughter for 1 minute, swings from side to side, stretching reaching up on your toes and deep breathing for 7 counts, totalling 5 to 7 minutes before starting exercises will warm and limber the body for a good start. Don’t forget to end with a short 1 to 2 minutes relaxation/meditation to integrate the exercises you have done and to transition smoothly into the rest of the day.

My suggestion is to start with walking on the spot, around the house, in the garden and better still out in the park at a steady walking pace for about 15 to 20 minutes. Try a brisk and enjoyable jog taking breaks when needed to enjoy nature or for a few deep breaths. Strength training using body weight to do press-ups, sit-ups and planks combined with activities like Yoga, Tai Chi is ideal. Fun activities like playing with your dog, dancing like nobody’s watching, using the stairs going up and down for twenty second, repeated at least 3 times a day are others to consider.

Recreational swimming or doing laps as appropriate is an enjoyable and very effective activity to add to the list. What about cycling on level terrain/uneven terrain at your pace or settling for stationary bike (indoor/gym), or spinning class at the gym (unless Covid-19 restrictions are in place) at moderate to vigorous intensity? Golf and what have you, add it on.

The fun bit is you can work out in whatever wear or no wear you choose, do it anytime you like (at least 3 hours before bedtime and 2 hours after meals), put on any music you like and at the volume you prefer. You are spoilt for choice with all the online exercise coaching we have now, it saves you a lot of money which I would happily spend on good nutrition.

Take breaks every 30 minutes from continuous sitting in front of your computer, laptop, tablet and using your cell phone. Also alternate periods of standing with sitting working with a stand-up desk if you have the option.

Please note that prolonged sitting can have negative health consequences when large muscles relax too much, they take up less sugar from blood as a result of low activity triggering the risk of type 2 diabetes. Triglycerides, the enzymes that breaks down blood fats, drop causing levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) to rise and HDL (good cholesterol) to fall, thus increasing cardio vascular related risks.

Get a plan going and work with the plan and enjoy every bit of it. Remember “failures in sustaining your exercise need not be lasting if we possess the willingness to examine them and grow from them”.

So, whatever your situation, prioritise keeping active, eating healthy, managing healthy weight, stay hydrated, sleep well, laugh lots and think positive for quality and longevity of life.

Mahes Karuppiah-Quillen N.D, Health & Lifestyle Consultant, President Laughter Clubs Victoria.

For limbering try 6-minute pre-exercise warm-up:

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