Keep your spirits up

Expert tips for keeping fit during lockdown

In the current situation it’s difficult to feel motivated to keep fit, as we can’t go to the gym and trips outside are limited. According to Darren Kirby, fitness expert and founder of Fitter Healthier Dad® (www.fitterhealthierdad.com), getting fitter and having more energy is not as complicated as most of us think.

His career as a fitness expert follows his own transformation six years ago from an overweight, stressed-out city worker (he lost 61lbs/28kg), to now helping countless dads break through barriers and improve their health. Here he shares four simple ways to stay fit in lockdown.

1. Home HIIT

This can be done inside or outside. You don’t need any equipment or a lot of space; there are lots of variations you can do. As a start you can do five exercises, with 40 seconds of work for each set, and a one-minute rest in between each set. Here’s an example:

4 Rounds
Exercise 1 – Star Jumps
Exercise 2 – Mountain Climbers
Exercise 3 – High Knees
Exercise 4 – Squat Jumps
Exercise 5 – Burpees

This will take you around 20 minutes to complete and is a good all-round full body work out.

2. Yoga

Yoga is very beneficial for our functional movement and our stress levels; in times like now, we want to be reducing our stress levels as much as possible. Yoga should be done by both men and women. From a physical aspect, the practice of yoga enables us to become more flexible and move in a more natural way, which reduces physical stress on the body. Combined with the breathwork required, yoga ensures that we are calming our nervous systems, which has a relaxing effect. I would advocate doing yoga at least three times a week and as classes aren’t available right now, there are plenty of yoga based channels on YouTube.

3. Walking

I will caveat this recommendation, as due to lockdown restrictions, it may not be possible in the current climate. However, if you are able to be safe and keep your distance from others when going outside for a walk, attempting to walk 10 to 15,000 steps per day is beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • Walking is classed as low-intensity steady-state cardio and works in the lower heart rate regions of 55–65 per cent, which is in the fat-burning area. However, you need to be getting a minimum of 10 to 15,000 steps a day to get the full benefits.
  • Walking outside exposes us to sunlight and boosts vitamin D levels naturally, which is great for our mood and serotonin levels (the happy hormone).
  • Being outside in the fresh air and mindfully breathing through our noses when walking helps reduce our stress levels.

4. Watching your food intake

Watching your food intake is important, as it’s very easy to let boredom, stress, or frustration lead us to think we are hungry and to attack the fridge.

  • If you are less active than normal, simply look at your portion sizes and eat less, but make sure you are drinking enough water, as being dehydrated can be confused with being hungry.
  • Eat nutrient-dense food, as we have the opportunity to create healthier meals and use natural ingredients while staying at home.
  • Having a balanced plate is very important, so make sure you have a good mix of vegetables, meat, or fish (tofu if you’re vegan) with low-GI carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.
  • Try to avoid sugary based snacks and chocolate, as these will leave you feeling lethargic once sugar levels subside. These products contain vegetable oils, which are the worst kind as they create inflammation in the body. Inflammation will affect your alertness and stress levels.

These are four basic and very easy-to-achieve practices we can use on a daily basis not just in these challenging times but habits you can form and use ongoing for an all-around approach to fitness and long term health. For further information on how you, or someone you know, can transform their overall health and wellbeing, visit Fitterhealthierdad.com for unique fat loss programmes that best suit your needs.

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