Coronavirus lockdown has the potential to threaten our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Use exercise to stay on top of things.
Lockdown has become our new “normal”, but it’s far from normal for humans to be shut at home with limited access to sunlight, outdoor exercise, and social connection.
As runners, we are already several steps ahead of more sedentary folk. Our running routines stand us in good stead – we already know how crucial exercise is to our physical and mental health.
Here’s why maintaining an exercise routine is more important than ever.
Done is better than “perfect”
You might not be able to get out for a run during lockdown. Your perfect at-home workout schedule might not happen. Just make sure you do something, even if that’s 5 minutes of bodyweight exercise in a quiet part of the day. Reject the notion of perfect at this strange time. Done is better than none. Aim to keep a consistent streak of activity, no matter what it is.
Get outside if you can’
At the time of writing, we are still permitted one outdoor jaunt a day. Use it if you can. Outdoor exercise has so many benefits beyond fitness. It helps lower blood pressure, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, manage stress and anxiety, and give your brain a break from worrying. Sunlight helps the body produce Vitamin D, a nutrient which plays a role in immunity. Getting outside for any kind of exercise is great for the body and mind.
Exercise as part of a routine
During times of uncertainty, routines help us stay in touch with normal life. Running was part of your old routine, so make sure exercise is part of your lockdown routine. It doesn’t have to be running (but it’s great if you can still get out). Lockdown exercise could be a quick bodyweight workout, a circuit, games with the kids, yoga, or a push up challenge during a break from work.
Maintaining an exercise routine will also give you a framework around which to place work, meals, sleep, showering, and changing clothes. IT sounds silly, but you know it’s not!
Having a routine reduces what experts call decision fatigue. If it’s part of your routine, you’ll do it – there’s no decision to be made. You already know what your day has in store.
The point is: stay in touch with normality by continuing to prioritise exercise. It will help you stay in control.