Most of us are stuck inside and abiding to the rules of lockdown, to help minimise the spread of COVID-19 – but what impact does that have on our mental and physical health?
Being sedentary for too long can be bad for us, as it is associated with negative impacts on our physical health, such as risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By being more active we can also improve our sleep, reduce stress, and have better moods. So, by minimising sedentary behaviour we can keep our mind and body happy and healthy.
Exercise and Mental health
There are many well-documented physical health benefits to keeping active, however getting up and moving more is also a great way to ward off some of those negative feelings and emotions from being cooped up for too long. This is because being active can lower our stress hormones and promote the release of those feel-good hormones – endorphins.
If you exercise regularly it can give you an enormous sense of well-being. You can feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper mental abilities, and even feel more relaxed and positive. It’s also a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
But you don’t need to do much to feel good. Even a walk a day can help to reduce any feelings of depression. It is important to stay connected, even if you have other people in your household – get them to join you (or Facetime a friend or colleague) and do an online workout together. It is important to encourage, motivate and support each other. Christ Church Sport & Active Health offer a wide range of free live online workouts, you can find out more via our webpages.
Tips & tricks for your work day
We all know that feeling during our working day, when one hour turns into the next and then the next, and we’re still sitting in the same place. Sometimes we are so engrossed in a piece of work, we can soon reach the end of the day and realise we hardly got up and moved! This can be really detrimental to our health in the long run.
Now, we aren’t necessarily suggesting you break this up with an online exercise class or by going out for a long walk, but instead there are many other tips and tricks you can use to prevent yourself from becoming sedentary for too long, but still enable you to complete that piece of work.
- Stand or walk whilst on a phone call
- Walk up and down the stairs for a 1 min break
- Set a timer for regular breaks to stand or walk
- Use a smaller glass or bottle for drinks so you move to fill it up more regularly
- Do some stretches at your desk (see the video below)
- Fidget and squirm – this burns more calories then staying still!
- Consider a sit-stand workstation
- Change your position or posture more often
- Use the bin that’s further away
- Eat your lunch away from your desk
- Drink lots of water, more water = more bathroom breaks
If you were active previously you may have been used to exercising at your local gym or going to your local parkrun on a Saturday morning. Therefore, the measure we are currently facing means we are posed with a new challenge of how to be active and/or keep fit. So, what can we do now?
- Outdoors is the new indoors – I don’t think the local woods, parks and countryside has ever been explored as much. We are currently permitted to exercise outside once a day, so take advantage! Regular walking, cycling, or running is a great way to stay active, and you can set the pace, duration, and difficulty!
- Our homes are now virtual gyms – now there is no limit on how much you can do inside your home – so be creative and keep active. Whether that’s using items around the house to create your own workout or taking part in an online workout from your own living room. Any activity that raises the heart rate is good for cardiovascular health. Importantly the more you keep moving the better!
CCCU Christ Church Sport & Active Health Team