Staying active in isolation
Missing your outdoor sports?
Struggling to keep up your rehab after an injury or post-surgery recovery?
Stress + inactivity + a less than ideal working from home/desk set up woken up an old pain?
Worried about how to get help?
Let’s go through what you can do to stay active and painfree even when you can’t leave the house.
Got an internet connection? You’re all set!
Right now YouTube is your friend – there are plenty of free videos in a whole range of exercise styles, dance, yoga, weights, HIIT . . . . and a lot more! Spend a little time exploring the ones you might like – they’ll often be sorted into playlists of length or style – so you can find the ones that work for you.
- Choose wisely – watch a few to make sure they are right for you and your environment!
- Keep it short to start with – if you’ve not been doing much activity lately go slowly – 10-30 minutes daily is a good place to start and then increase
- For the first week reduce your weights and do the easy version – the last thing you need right now is to push yourself too hard and end up worse! Go easy – right now we have all the time you need!
A couple of my personal favourites at the moment include PopSugar Fitness (huge variety of styles and lengths) and Yoga with Adrienne (again huge variety of lengths but gentle, clear practice). Also Joe Wicks is running daily “PE classes” which are ideal for including the younger members of your family.
I’m seeing so many local trainers and teachers take their classes online – it’s wonderful!
Remember that brilliant yoga class you went to until your schedule changed? Or that trainer one town over that your friend keeps raving about? Now is the time to see if they are doing online classes that you can join. Some are paid for, but many are free – so try them now!
Comment and join their online community and, when we’re all running around again, you may find a new group of people to continue to share being active with.
A few local favourites (links lead to Facebook!)
- Yoga and Meditation with Lisa Marie Robinson
- Yoga with Mara
- Natalie Guyan – Food and Fitness
- The Cave – trainer
- Trudi – Vitality4You – Pilates and more
Nope, you don’t need a fully equipped gym – just a space about 6 feet wide and 3-4 feet deep (2mx1m!).
- A towel – can be used as a block or a band to help you get into position
- A mat of some kind – doesn’t need to be a fancy yoga mat, just something with a little bit of cushioning from the floor that isn’t slippy. A couple of beach towels will do for many workouts.
- water bottles – fill 2 up and use as weights. 500ml = ½ kg. 1l – 1kg. Need something bigger? Grab one of those 5kg bottles next time you are stocking up at the supermarket!
- A tennis ball – super handy for recovery and massage! No physio required.
- A bag of frozen peas – apply as an ice pack for 10 minutes to help you feel less pain and recover more quickly.
- Need more inspiration and tips? Try this article from Natalie Guyan!
But I have pain and I’m worried I’ll hurt myself
So often we’re told by well-meaning doctors to “rest until it feels better”. Only to find that it doesn’t actually feel much better and often much worse.
This is sweetly old fashioned advice – there is MOUNTAINS of evidence that movement actually makes you feel better, faster. Go slowly and gentle and there’s no reason not to get active right now.
My top tip for getting active again?
You might well be a little stiff or achy tomorrow – guess what, your average, healthy, non-arthritic 20 year old would feel stiff and achy if they started a new work out too!
Take it easy and try. In fact try something new – so you can comfortably be a beginner!
Should I do something specific?
Nope! Not particularly – generally all activity is good activity! So do something you enjoy and feel comfortable doing.
But if you have a specific concern try these tips and tricks:
- Focus on getting your knee straight and your quadriceps and hamstrings strong (see these exercises!)
- Use a folded towel for exercises that put weight directly on your knees to support them.
- Skip it if it hurts!
If you have Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Metatarsalgia, Hammer Toes or any other pain in the foot try some simple stretches to get more flexibility and stability. (try these exercises)
To be honest I’d recommend these to everyone, but then I have a professional “thing” about feet!
A less than ideal work station might not be helping this not-so-little niggle.
- Try this trick to support the nerve as it travels from neck, through your shoulder to your wrist – get a tennis ball and roll it over your neck, top of shoulders, between the shoulder blades. See if you find an “interesting” spot. Then wiggle it there. Bonus points if it makes your hand feel weird or tingly!
- And set an alarm to do an arm wiggly, shoulder rolling dance every 30 minutes – cos no one is watching!!!
- Do the same foot exercises (guess what your Achilles Tendon is connected to? Your foot!).
- Then find a step and hang each heel off it one at a time to stretch.
- Use a wall to lift your toes.
- Do heel raises (weighted if you’re brave!).
There are no “better” or “worse” exercises for backs – just the ones you enjoy and feel comfortable doing.
Backs actually really like moving. And they are really, REALLY good at it. But they “forget” that very quickly.
So go sloooooooooowly. And have an ice pack or a hot water bottle handy to help them calm down afterwards.
Gently introduce bending, stretching and lifting. The key is to do a little bit often – so they get used to the idea gradually.
Call a professional
Technology is a wonderful thing! Via a video call physiotherapists can offer you plenty of support, advice and exercise therapy – even teaching you self-massage and other techniques! We call it telehealth. And it really works.
No, you don’t get the massage or manual therapy you might be used to – but you can be taught how to stay active and painfree until you can access a more comprehensive service!