Although not everyone will be able to get outside and exercise at the moment (maybe we’ll address this another time), here are some hints for those who can make the most of your hour.
- Firstly, just getting into the sunlight is important because it helps you to produce Vitamin D in your body. Why is that so vital at the moment? In addition to its more widely known function of helping your body build up the strength of your bones to protect you from osteoporotic fractures in the future, it is also needed to enable your immune system to work well – in particular with fighting inflammation in the lungs so especially relevant just now;
- Once outside, you can make the most of your hour by incorporating some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). That is, adding some short, sharp bursts of energy within your usual exercise. This is a proven way to increase muscle tone and lose weight and yet you don’t even have to put on your running shoes!
A good example would be to set yourself a goal of walking as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then having a minute or so to recover before doing it again, repeating at least three times. What is great about this is that if you do it every day in a similar place (as you have to stay near your home!), you can pick a landmark to start, eg a house number or a tree, and see how much further you go each day and if this changes over time. As you get fitter you can increase the length of time you have for your burst. Goal-setting also really helps with motivation too, and with kids it creates a game.
An added advantage of this is that it will improve blood flow around your body. You have two main pumps that do this besides the heart – your calf muscles which return the blood from your feet (pooled from all the sitting around inside!) and your diaphragm (the big sheet of muscle under your lungs) which gets activated more when you breath deeper. Good fluid-flow means a healthier body. In fact, one of the main aims of osteopathic treatment is removing restrictions to fluid-flow (such as tight muscles) to enable the body to heal itself quicker and stay well. So you will be treating yourself too, especially if you incorporate some stretches at the end of your walk.
Make exercise more exciting than just “going for a walk” and TREAT yourself – go for a HIIT walk!
If you need further advice on how to keep healthy or get out of pain through the lockdown, you can talk to an osteopath through our virtual consultations.
Read our blog on running during lockdown for more information.
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