Lockdown was a difficult period for many people. From businesses that needed to close overnight to others having to adjust working from home. Many people were furloughed and many others found that they had passions that lockdown had given them time to discover whilst being at home.
But for those that loved to exercise and go to the gym on a daily basis, lockdown posed its own difficulties. Gyms shut and the price for weights and home exercise machines became beyond unaffordable.
There were however plenty of stories and plenty of people getting out and staying fit. During the lockdown, people found a way to keep themselves fit and healthy and for some, fitter than ever before. There were also reports of an increase in exercise-related injuries during the lockdown, so be sure to follow guidance if needed.
Here are just some of the ways that people coped.
1. Home Workouts
The days of Jane Fonda on VHS are long gone, but the home workout has not. From being able to do basic push-ups, situps, aerobic exercises and even lifting makeshift weights from tins of beans to heavier items, people managed to get through many home workouts without missing the gym too much. Bodyweight exercises can build muscle and release endorphins that make you feel great after each workout.
Home workout routines don’t require much equipment, so you can use anything that you have as something to grab on. For example, a table is more than enough to do inverted rows on, just make sure that it’s sturdy enough and it won’t break. Also, your grip needs to be a bit strong as well so that you don’t drop on the floor. Two chairs are enough for doing dips, a great pushing exercise that works your triceps and your chest muscles if you lean forward. The list goes on and on, so don’t make excuses and instead find which items in your house that you can use to get the body of your dreams.
2. Joe Wicks/Youtube
Of course, to help with home workouts we had the like of Joe Wicks giving physical education lessons every day for children and parents were joining in as well. But one search on Youtube and the internet, there were hundreds if not thousands of exercise programs that you could follow. From body combat to plyometrics, people could exercise following FREE instruction on the internet and stay physically fit.
People nowadays don’t need anything more than an internet connection to become proficient in almost everything that they want to do, especially exercising. Long gone are the times where personal trainers were needed. Now you can just open up a YouTube video and you’ll know exactly how to perform a certain exercise. In all honesty, the internet era is probably the ideal timeline for people who want to work out. Give it a try and you’ll see.
3. Resistance Bands
One of the big winners in the lockdown phase was the vendors of resistance bands. They became so popular that Amazon was shipping thousands across the country in April and May. Resistance bands give people a total body workout whilst also building muscle and not causing injury like free weights could. Not only could you follow simple guides you could jump on, you guessed it, YouTube for free instructions on exercising with the bands. A great alternative that people have turned to.
These are great not only for beginners, but for people who are already good at calisthenics, but they cannot add any extra weight because they’re not at the gym. Let’s say that you’ve mastered the pull-ups, which is a calisthenics exercise that takes quite some effort. When you’ve mastered doing it without weight the next step is to add some plates on a chain and rep out with the added weight. This isn’t possible if you don’t have the weight, however, and it’s much cheaper to purchase a resistance band instead. The same goes for pushups and other exercises as well.
Well if you didn’t see anyone running during the lockdown, where were you living? Lots of people took to it, and they were challenging friends to complete 5K or couch to 5K programs. If you think about why it’s pretty simple. You don’t need more than a pair of trainers and a simple program to get started. Stick on the iPod/phone and go for a short, medium or long run.
Running is great because it builds up your endurance very fast, and it keeps your joints and knees healthy if you do it properly. Remember, if you are very new at this, you shouldn’t push yourself to the limits because that might cause an injury. This is especially important for those who are a bit on the overweight side. If you’re doing this just for recreation and you’re not planning to be very serious about it, you don’t need any equipment and a program. Just go out and run until you feel like you’ve done enough. Remember to leave rest days in-between sessions, but not too much.
For those who couldn’t run but wanted to get out on the road, cycling became the alternative that everyone could turn to. Easy on the joints, easier to get around and with many bikes coming with battery packs nowadays, cycling was an alternative for those who were a little more overweight or elderly. When the roads were empty and people could get out and about, cycling was a blissful experience for riders and groups alike.
The great thing about cycling is that you can find a bike for your size and body shape if you’re committed enough. All you have to do is decide what type of cycling you want to do, and choosing the right bike model is the easy part.
If cycling feels difficult for you at first, you’ll probably want to do some very basic leg exercises and stretches before attempting to continue your journey. Bodyweight squats or even something lighter than that can help you build up some very basic strength so that you can cycle.