As I write this, we are in the midst of a lockdown here in WA due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. No going out anywhere, and one hour of outdoor exercise permitted per day (with a mask on). Just a lot of looking at our own four walls. We have had to very suddenly adjust – we had only a few hours to get our heads around the restrictions and make plans accordingly.
But, it is necessary, and all-in-all, WA has had it pretty good compared to many other parts of Australia or even the world. We just have to adapt.
I have been wanting to write up some tips for staying active and healthy in stressful times, and it seems this is the right week. Not only are many of us feeling a little uncertain, shaken up and scrambling to keep life ticking along as normally as possible, but gyms are closed and we are restricted on how much we can be outdoors. In terms of nutrition, crazy panic-buying has left shop shelves bare and, to be honest, grocery stores are just not pleasant to be in right now! The sudden change to routine has also thrown out our usual eating pattern, and some have found themselves busier than usual, despite not being able to leave the house.
It would be easy to give up.
Put your goals on hold.
Wait ‘til this all blows over, right?
Please don’t. I urge you to carry on, no matter what life throws at you, whether it is pandemic-induced lockdown, a particularly busy period at work or a crazy schedule of kids activities – there is always something you can do to keep the momentum.
The trick is to let go of perfection and allow yourself leeway to move forward at a slower pace. After all, a crawl will still get you to the finish line. You don’t always need to run.
Let’s look at some examples.
Make a few whole-foods swaps
No need to go all-or-nothing on your diet when you are trying to stay healthy and energetic, just pick one or two things over the day to swap out for a version that’s closer to it’s natural state. For example, swap white rice for brown rice or quinoa, tinned fruit for fresh, or extra veg instead of pasta. Rather than processed meat, opt for steamed chicken pieces or a tin of tuna.
Rather than wrangle with what you should be taking out of your diet, aim instead to add more of the good stuff in. This will help you feel satisfied and less likely to binge, boosts your nutrient intake and helps prevent the deprivation mindset (which is never good long-term). Add a side salad to your dinner, a piece of fruit to your lunch or a pot of Greek yoghurt to your afternoon tea.
There’s nothing wrong with convenience
I’m not meaning takeaway or the pre-packed food with ingredients you can’t pronounce, but there are some great quick-fix convenience foods on the market now. Microwave packet brown rice and quinoa are great examples, as is the range of whole-food balls and bars in the health food aisle. Yes, some of these health foods are full of sugar and preservatives, so get into the habit of checking the labels (I emphasis the ability to pronounce the ingredients!) but a nut bar is a more nutritions option in a pinch compared to a Snickers.
No, I’m not talking about bulking up! In this case, ‘chunking’ means breaking up your movement throughout the day into manageable sections. For example, you may go for a 15-minute walk in the morning, spend another 15 minutes before lunch doing a quick bodyweight workout, and another 30 minutes playing basketball with the kids out the back. That adds up to a good hour’s worth of activity over the day, enough to keep you motivated and in-line with your goals.
Promise yourself 10 minutes for a home workout, commit to at least that long, and chances are you will want to keep going. This is the power of ‘action creates momentum’! Once you get going, it is much easier to extend the time out or push a little harder.
Keep your home workouts simple
No weights, no problem. Bodyweight routines are still effective for strength-building and power, or can be changed up for more of a cardio burn.
For strength, try using a tempo such as 3-2-3; three seconds down, two seconds hold at the bottom, three seconds up. Or, increase power by changing the last portion of the move to an explosive move, such as a controlled drop into a squat, hold, then push up as fast as you can (or even add in a jump). If you are just after a quick sweat session, move through your exercises as fast as possible and get as many reps in as possible in the time you have.
Example bodyweight workouts you can do at home.
10-minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible in the time – just keep going!)
- 12 jump squats
- 12 push-ups
- 12 sit-ups
- 12 plank rotations
10-minute EMOM (every minute, on the minute). Adjust number of reps as needed to achieve around 40-45 seconds of work time, start from the top at the beginning of a new minute.
- 5 walkouts
- 10 burpees
- 15 squats
Bodyweight chipper, 20 reps each of:
- Mountain climbers
- Frog jumps
- Side lunges
- Then 100 high knees
- 100 bum kicks
These are just a few ideas to help you stay healthy in stressful times, from swapping out a few ingredients to committing to short bodyweight workouts at home, there is always a way you can keep your wellness goals firmly in sight.
If you are struggling to make the changes you need to achieve your goals, feel more energetic and gain control of your health, I’m here for you. Together, we can work through your individual challenges and come up with a manageable, sustainable plan to keep you moving forward.
Through my one-on-one approach, I will support, guide and educate you through the specific aspects of health and wellness that are most important to you.
To book an initial consultation, contact me or click the button below to find a time.