Missing The Gym? Here Are 10 Ways You Can Work Out During Lockdown

A few years ago I don’t think I’d ever think this but… damn I’m missing the gym. While it’s not up there with running, it is definitely something I enjoy doing on a weekly basis. And with the whole lockdown coronavirus crisis going to the gym seems like a distant memory (rightly so).

I’ve been trying to motivate myself into home workouts and it’s been going OK but nothing beats the gym to get you fully in the zone. However I hope this post might help spur you into action if you need it.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

During the pandemic, you might feel as though you’re missing the gym or doing your usual exercise classes with all of your friends. But don’t worry! There are so many ways that you can still workout whilst still maintaining social distancing and not breaking the government’s quarantine rules. No matter how much spare time you have or what equipment you own, you’ll easily be able to find an activity that suits you.

But if you don’t know where to start, this process could be daunting. To assist with this, here are 10 methods you can use to help you stay active. Complementing a healthy diet (whether you opt to use a range of diet shakes or change up what you eat), it will ensure you’re on the path to success!

Yoga

First up on the list is the tranquil and relaxing activity that is yoga. An activity that’s been around for over 5,000 years, yoga is a wonderful way to work out your body, whilst soothing and calming the mind. Particularly ideal during this time, you can learn yoga poses either through a virtual tutorial or by using a step-by-step guide.

There are so many physical benefits that come with yoga, including increased muscle flexibility and tone, improved cardio and circulatory health and enhanced athletic performance. An activity that anyone of all ages can do, you can safely do yoga in the comfort of your home – all you need is a yoga mat and an adequate space to do it in.

Skipping

Skipping isn’t just for children – it’s a high-intensity workout that can help you burn fat and promote weight loss. Of course, the number of calories that you lose will depend on the intensity of the workout and your weight initially. But if you aim for an accelerated 10-minute session, you could burn up to 110 calories – which will only go up with the longer that you do it for.

What’s great about this activity is that it only requires a skipping rope, some outdoor space and the motivation to keep it up!

Dance

If you’re looking for a unique way to work out, then maybe a dance session is more up your street. By dedicating 30 minutes each night to dancing you can lose hundreds of calories, tone muscles and increase your stamina – all whilst having some fun.

Plus, by doing a dance session, you’ll spend some of your energy, meaning that you’ll be able to sleep better each night. Whether you dance freestyle or use an online video, you’ll feel fabulous after dancing to your favourite music. You could also get your little ones involved – an extraordinary way of keeping them busy whilst expelling some of their energy!

Running 

You might think that you can’t go running during the lockdown. But as long as you only do this once a day and maintain social distancing, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a running session each day. Running is one of the best ways to lose some weight and exercise your body – plus it’s something that everyone, no matter what their age can enjoy.

With so much incredible scenery and countryside around this country, there’s ample opportunity to put on your running shoes and head out. It’s not just good for the body, however. Going out for a run is the ultimate opportunity to clear your mind and reset your batteries.

Walking

If running or jogging isn’t your forte, then perhaps head out on a long walk each day. Still a great way to exercise, walking long distances reduces the risk of heart disease, improves high blood pressure and strengthens the bones.

Incredibly important, especially during this time, it also gives you a chance to get away from the four walls of your house – even if it’s just for an hour or two. 

Virtual Aerobics

If you used to love going to your weekly aerobics class, then you’re probably missing it throughout lockdown. But don’t fret – there is a solution. There are now aerobics classes that you can enjoy virtually. Whether you’re a novice or you’ve been going to aerobics classes for years there is a free video online for you.

Alternatively, there are also subscription classes that you could join that would provide you with the right equipment and professional tutoring – for those looking for something a little more intense and less wallet-friendly.

Obstacle Courses

Ok, so this might sound a little crazy – but it’s an efficient and simple way of working out from the comfort of your own garden. By setting up an obstacle course with items that you have at home (for example, a hula hoop, slide and beanbag) you’ll be able to get some exercise in, without having to worry about working out with others around you.

It’s also something that your kids will love to do or your dog (if you have one) will undoubtedly take an interest in!

Hula Hooping

Yet again, you might be thinking that hula hooping is just a playground activity. But it can actually be an awesome way of working out. There are several key benefits of exercising with a hula hoop, including the fact that it:

  • Is a great ab exercise that keeps your core strong.
  • Can burn as much fat as a workout on a treadmill.
  • Strengthens your heart and back.
  • Increases endorphins.

Grab the Weights!

Whether you already have weights at home or you order some off the internet, it’s a fantastic way to work out. Although many people think that the main goal of weight lifting is to build muscle mass and bulk up so that you resemble something out of a competition, there are so many more benefits that people don’t realise.

These include boosting metabolism, strengthening bones, improving posture and maintaining weight loss. It’s also one of the easiest sports to do, as it only requires limited equipment.

Housework and Gardening

Ok, so you might be thinking – this isn’t a sport? But doing housework and gardening is a wonderful way to work out your body whilst being at home during the lockdown. For example, did you know that you can burn approximately 170 calories per hour by dusting and up to 190 calories by scrubbing? In terms of gardening, not only will you work out your body, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the fresh air. 

Although you might not be tempted to do the housework or gardening during this time as you won’t be having visitors around until the lockdown is lifted, it’s the perfect opportunity to do this. Not only will it keep you physically productive but will keep your brain active – plus it’s so much better than just sitting around and watching TV all day.

Final Thoughts

So, there you go! Those are 10 simple ways that you can work out during the lockdown. What exercise or activity you choose to do, of course, is up to you and what you prefer. But whichever you choose, it will ensure that you’re keeping active, maintaining a good level of exercise and assisting your wellbeing.

Just make sure, however, as aforementioned that whichever activity you do, this is done alongside maintaining a healthy diet – otherwise all of your exercise goes to waste the moment you start to eat unhealthily or increase the size of your portions – something that’s very easy to do at the moment with everyone having to remain inside!

Have you been doing any home workouts?

Do you miss the gym?

Ways to Calm Your Mind During Difficult Times

Hey everyone, I thought I’ve got a great post today looking at ways to find that inner calmness during these rather stressful and uncertain times. Some things you obviously can’t change, but you can definitely change how you react to the situation and find coping mechanisms to get through. Hope this helps!

We’re living through extremely stressful times. The rapid spread of coronavirus and Covid-19 has thrown many of our lives into disarray. Our routines have been thrown out of whack. Many of us aren’t working anymore. Kids are off school. We’re stuck in our houses with little to distract us other than news articles and broadcasts highlighting awful statistics and little comfort as to when all of this will all end. So, it’s not all too surprising that many people are finding it hard to stay calm, composed and in good spirits. It is, however, extremely important to take as positive a stance as possible right now. Here are just a few different things to consider doing to rest, ease and calm your mind!

Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation have increased in popularity over the past few years. Their popularity has skyrocketed over the past couple of months. This is for good reason. Mindfulness and meditation allow you to let go of stresses and worries, focus on the here and now and let everything in life pass without judgement. This can create feelings of peace and ease. Now, it’s absolutely free to try this out. There are plenty of apps, online tutorials and video tutorials that can guide you through what to do and how to achieve the best results possible.

Exercise

It’s still important that you get your recommended exercise. Official guidelines state that the average adult should get one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week or seventy five minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. This is largely important for physical health. But exercise is good for your mind too! It releases endorphins that make you feel good and it can reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol in your brain. So, take sixty minutes’ worth of outdoor exercise a day – while maintaining social distancing measures – walking, jogging, running or cycling. Alternatively, you can practice indoors. Yoga, pilates and other indoor workouts are all great for body and mind!

Come Up With Logical Solutions

If you’re stressed due to circumstances, try to think of logical ways to deal with them. This will lift a huge weight from your shoulders. If you’re concerned about income, see what government help there is to tide you over. If you feel uncertain in your job, talk to your employer for some reassurance. If you’re concerned about the virus, listen to government guidelines and practice social distancing alongside good hygiene and you will dramatically reduce your chances of getting it.

Keep In Touch With Loved Ones
Hearing a loved ones’ voice is always going to help lift your spirits. Keep in touch. There are so many different ways to do this. We’re living in a technological age. We can email, text, call, video call and even group video call!

Sure, times are hard. But it’s so important that we try to keep our spirits high! Hopefully, the above information and advice can really help you out!

How are you coping at the moment?

Do you meditate?

What are you tips?

Back to my usual antics…

I cannot tell you how happy I am right now with my knee.

Things have improved so much! After spending so many weeks with a knee that either constantly ached, clicked, niggled and just felt uncomfortable to slowly seeing different symptoms disappear is just fantastic. To walk down a corridor without thinking about my knee is a relief in itself. I want to do a more in depth post on the things that helped and what I did so keep an eye out for that.

This weekend was full of good stuff. Friday night Kyle and I made rocky road ready for the morning as we would be going to Netley parkrun for his 50th. I do feel somewhat bad about how long this has taken because because obviously Kyle could have gone to parkrun without me or have me support, but when I’m injured we’re both a bit more inclined to stay in bed and make the most of not having to rush out the door on a Saturday. But now my knee feels better, we’re back at it.

We made the rocky road by basically melting a load of chocolate we had stashed from Christmas and random times with a load of butter and then mixing in marshmallows, chopped glace cherries, M&M’s and broken biscuits. SO GOOD.

The next morning we luckily naturally woke up earlier than the alarm and decided to get up and sort out the rocky road as it still needed slicing. Jeeze it was hard work! And I ended up eating lots of little pieces that fell off (“tidying up”). So much sugar so early, oops. It did not make me feel that great I must say… greedy Anna strikes again.

Kyle got a milestone shout-out in the run briefing which was lovely and then we were off. I ran a fairly easy pace with my friend Mike as I hadn’t seen him a while and it was nice to have a chatty run. He was running every day in January so he was happy to plod with me. Kyle had more in his legs so zoomed off ahead.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

We ran the winter course which is harder going, but to be honest I felt very comfortable running.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

In fact, chatting to Mike just took my mind completely off how my knee was feeling and when we finished I realised I’d just had a normal run!

My time was 24:55 which I was happy with.

We then handed out rocky road chunks and cleared down the course before heading to the café for tea, more rocky road and a slice of cake from someone else celebrating a milestone.

While I enjoyed all the delicious treats, I didn’t feel it did me any favours not having had anything substantial to eat yet. But it was worth it.

After lots of chores and boring life admin, Kyle and I went to Smith and Western for an early dinner. I mean, this really is our kind of place. Lots of ribs, burgers and, of course my favourite, chicken wings. It was nice and quiet though (it apparently gets very busy and loud later with lots of birthday shout-outs).

Of course I’d already checked out the menu and knew I was almost certainly having the chicken wing sharing platter… but just for me. Kyle was tempted as well. We asked the waitress what kind of numbers we were looking at because that would dictate if we would have one each, one between us or need to order something else alongside (yes, we are greedy people).

The waitress said it was 21 wings, 7 of each flavour (Southern Comfort, BBQ and Buffalo). That sounded like a reasonable number for us to have one each. The waitress laughed at us and said we clearly loved our wings. Yep! Kyle also ordered curly fries.

When the meals came out it looked massive. The waitress then told us that they’d actually just changed their ratios of chicken wings and it was now THIRTY per platter, 10 of each flavour. Wowza! The wings were so tasty. I definitely preferred the buffalo flavour though to the sweeter ones. The BBQ was nice and tangy but the Southern Comfort was really quite sweet if you had a few in a row.

We were well and truly stuffed afterwards of course. The waitress said she was super impressed. She asked us if we wanted pudding and I was like “we’re good but we’re not THAT good”!

That said, I did somehow manage to squeeze in a couple of pieces of rocky road later on as we chilled watched a film. A sweet end to the evening 😉

The next morning I felt well and truly fuelled to go to my personal training session. With my PT we just focus on leg strength. The idea is to get me strong for running so we do a lot of running focused exercises. It’s only been the last month or so I’ve been back seeing him due to my knee, but now I feel so much stronger. My squats are back up to where they were last year (75kg – not a huge weight I guess, but for me it is!), my hip thrusts are back at 90kg and I feel GOOD. I really like seeing my PT as he knows exactly what my goals are and understands my injury history and fears.

Then I headed off to Kyle’s dad’s to have a lovely pork roast dinner. I know, who would have thought I’d be hungry again after all those wings? But clearly my stomach is a bottomless pit!

Happy times indeed 🙂

What’s your favourite roast dinner?

Do you ever see a personal trainer?

Would you say you’re greedy?

The highs and lows

Christmas is close upon us, as is the delightfully aesthetic new year, 2020.

So I decided to do a little look back at the year – a review if you will. I want to keep it mostly positive because lord knows we need some positivity around here what with the election, Brexit and my own personal knee strife. But I’ll start with running, which will inevitably tumble down into a bit of negativity but then I’ll move on quickly to more happy affairs.

For running, 2019 has been a tale of two stories for me. The first half of the year I felt like my running was going really well. I ran a really strong Portsmouth Coastal Marathon at the end of 2018, then headed into 2019 and hit Barcelona Marathon (3:31:45) and Manchester Marathon (3:23:04) fairly close together with similar good results.

Good results for me basically means feeling strong in my running and finishing happy. I did both of those things for both of those marathons. Barcelona was quite hot and Manchester was quite boring, but asides from that they went really well.

I also managed to score a new PB for my 10k at the Manchester 10k (41:40). Considering I detest 10ks this hadn’t been a particular focus of mine but a happy outcome of some consistent strong running.

Then came the Hamstring Saga which stretched on far too long but eventually I was able to overcome this issue with a lot of rehab, support and whining. So much whining. I saw the end in sight as I hurtled towards the Chicago Marathon. The week before saw my knee blow up and I ran cautiously through the marathon (thank goodness painlessly) and here I stand over nine weeks later and my knee is still not right.

Regardless of the second half of the year stuttering to a rather sad running-less end, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. Three marathons – two very strong ones and one “victory lap” marathon. I got my Six Star Finisher medal. Of course I’m proud of that and happy I achieved it this year when so many times throughout the year the threat of my hamstring (and then knee) made me doubt myself.

But running aside… There have been so many good things this year.

Favourite food: Ah jeeze this year was bloody amazing for the food I ate. So many new restaurants tried and I even managed to go out of my usual habit of ordering chicken wings all the time (shock).

The top contenders are the incredible Jayne Salad from The Parade Tearooms as this speaks to my soul in a big way – I love salads but I HATE tiny portions. This is the perfect salad for me and my greedy personality.

The meal we had after I finished the Chicago Marathon was incredible. I mean, everything tastes incredible post marathon but this was really tasty. It had everything I craved: wings, rib bites and loaded nachos. Heavenly.

A recent addition was the meal we had in Brighton at MEATLiquor. The wings of course were awesome but it was the hot dog that I keep thinking about. It was amazing and opened my mind to ordering something different. I wasn’t sure if I liked it but not I just want to eat hot dogs all the time.

And top of the list must be the INCREDIBLE roast dinner we had in Bristol at Pasture. It was INSANELY good.

The meat, the vegetables, the gigantic Yorkshire pudding and of course the oh so tasty side dish of creamed leaks. It rocked my world and back.

Favourite books: I’ve read a number of books this year and a few highlights have been Ready Player One which I read in like two and a half days, I just loved it. It was so gripping! Way better than the film.

I also loved Big Little Lies – how I’d managed to avoid all spoilers is incredible because that twist at the end was really enjoyable! My favourite book though was the Cows by Dawn O’Porter.

I loved the feminist issues it brought up and it really made me think. As a side note, I’m currently reading Crazy Rich Asians and I’m loving how batshit it is.

Favourite films: Well Kyle and I have seen 40 films (so far) this year. Next week we’ll be adding probably four more before the end of the year. With our Unlimited Cards it has been AMAZING.

My favourite was Knives Out, followed closely by Green Book, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Long Shot, Beautiful Boy (that film destroyed me) and Us. On my dud list was Hellboy (horrifically awful), Detective Pikachu (I fell asleep) and Alita: Battle Angels (too much uncanny valley).

We also worked out we’ve spent about £180 on Subways (we always get a footlong to take with us to eat in the adverts) – that’s 480 inches of subway. The mind boggles.

Favourite song: I’m still as obsessed with Billie Eillish as ever. I’ve been listening to her music for years and was a fan before she sort of exploded this year. I’m so happy she’s so successful of course but part of me is a little bitter that now I have to share her 😉 She’s so talented (with her brother of course) and her voice is INCREDIBLE. Yes she’s a bit weird and quirky, but I love it.

So 2019 was a pretty solid year. I have made so many amazing memories, with both friends, family and of course Kyle. I’m a happy Anna right now, despite my sad knee.

What’s been your favourite movie of the year?

What food have you really loved this year?

What’s been your favourite race?

Keeping Fit and Living a Sustainable Lifestyle

Hello! I have another collaborative post today while I’m out in Toronto. I’m a HUGE fan of trying to live sustainably so this is a topic close to my heart 🙂

It’s all well and good living a healthy lifestyle, but what about the planet? Considering we are in the midst of a climate crisis with protests and demonstrations happening all over the world, it’s time to think about how you can make a difference by balancing your healthy lifestyle with a more eco-friendly one.

Get Outside

What better way to contribute to a more sustainable fitness regime than by ditching the air-conditioned and machine-populated environment of the gym? Taking your workout outdoors and into the lush, colourful scenery of nature gives you a change of scenery and some essential fresh air.

Whether you’re going for a run through the park or just doing yoga in the backyard, the energy you’ll save by not driving to the gym nor using electricity on the equipment is a small but positive step in the right direction. Plus, you don’t have to deal with everyone’s least favourite gym members. You know who they are.

What’s Old Can Be New

While it’s nice to buy new clothes once in a while, it’s not good for the environment, and considering how quickly avid athletes go through running shoes and spandex running shorts, they often spend more than the average person each year.

Most people will chuck their shoes and clothes into the bin once they have run their course (a little pun intended). However, what’s better is if you research local recycling plants and programs in your area to make the practice more sustainable. These items will either be repurposed or have the materials separated to use again with the next pair.

At The Gym

While exercising outside is good for the mind and soul, it’s not always possible. This is especially true if you live too far away from a beautiful exercise area or if the weather is too treacherous to get outside. With this, the gym is the only solution, but just because you’re forced to go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t still do it sustainably.

If you’re concerned about the environment, you can avoid electronic machines altogether, such as the treadmill or Stairmaster. Instead, work out only on machines that operate using dynamic motion. However, if you don’t have any option but to use the treadmill, set it to incline to make you work harder without using as much electricity.

Some gyms also offer eco-friendly workout solutions, so look into that to get the most from each session.

Greener Eats

Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand, and you can maximize your sustainability potential by eating even healthier than you do currently. Not only will doing this help the environment, but it will also fill you with the nutrients you need to have your best workout every time.

Depending on your workout needs, consult with nutritionists over how to get the most from your diet while still ensuring sustainability. If you rely on protein powders, you can look into vegan options instead of the standard whey products. By investing in cruelty-free products, you do more for the planet while still getting all the vitamins and amino acids you need to build strength and endurance.

A Different Commute

One of the critical issues facing the environment now is the emissions from cars and motorcycles. You can counteract this by taking a different type of transport to get to the gym. Public transport and ride-sharing with gym buddies are a great way to minimize personal carbon emissions. But there are other even more economically friendly methods to help you get into better shape.

Opting to take a bicycle over petrol- and diesel-based transport eliminates exhaust fumes from your commute and gives you a workout all at the same time. If you live close enough, you can also walk to the gym, which will also help you stretch the muscles before starting your workout.

Reusable Containers

With a terrifying 8 million tons of plastic finding its way into our oceans every year, there has never been a more critical time to consider sustainable containers. Instead of purchasing a new bottle of water from the vending machine every session, you should find a reusable container instead.

Products such as the keep cup is a fantastic choice that’s large enough to keep you hydrated on a long run but also not too bulky that it cramps your hand after you convince yourself to go for one more mile.

(Re-)Cycling Towards Succes

We know that one person cannot change the world, but making all the changes you can to help ease the threat of climate change means the planet is one step closer to healing.

Do you think you live sustainably?

How as a runner do you wish our sport was more sustainable?