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Life on the inside: 10 tips to keep fit during the lockdown

By Features Reporter

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The coronavirus shutdown could mean bulging waistlines with many of the nation's favourite sports and activities banned for at least three weeks.

But being trapped in the house doesn't have to mean being stuck on the sofa, and with the NHS recommending everyone does at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, it is best to keep moving.

Here's how to stay fit and healthy while avoiding Covid-19.

1: Running or cycling (alone)

People are still allowed out to exercise, but only once a day and only alone or with members of your own household – so going for a run, cycle or a walk is fine even though team events and club gatherings are off limits.

Images of crowded parks last weekend caused outrage with people seemingly ignoring the advice of keeping two metres apart, so a road route might be safest to avoid coming into close quarters with strangers.

With air pollution levels plummeting due to the lockdown, it might be more pleasant than you would think.

Try yoga at home. Picture: istock/PA
Try yoga at home. Picture: istock/PA

2: Yoga

Visions of rubber-limbed Instagram yoga bunnies might be daunting but in reality it begins with just a little light stretching to improve flexibility – there are even a range of movements that don't require a yoga mat.

There are thousands of free websites offering video tutorials, so it is a case of shopping around and seeing which you get on best with.

Most websites have dozens of videos ranging from beginner to advanced, as well as routines tailored to plus sizes and to those with mobility issues.

3: Skipping

It might conjure up memories of playground rhymes, or even mental images of Rocky Balboa but skipping is simple and gets the heart rate up in no time.

All non-essential shops are now closed and even Sports Direct has belatedly shut its doors, so you may need to rely on a younger member of the household for a skipping rope if you don't already have one.

4: Stairs

If you are short on gym equipment then you can always make use of a set of stairs, should you have them.

There are various exercises you can try including stair pushups, reverse lunges and tricep dips – even just walking up and down them a few times will at least get you moving.

5: Sofa

The call of the sofa might be strong – but see if you can resist Netflix for 20 minutes and try a quick workout instead.

It might sound simple but even sitting down and standing up again 10 times in a row will work out your thighs, or placing two hands on the sofa while extending one leg behind you will get your muscles burning.

Search "sofa workout" online for hundreds of videos promising to get you fit from the comfort of your living room.

Make the most of online fitness programs. Picture: istock/PA
Make the most of online fitness programs. Picture: istock/PA

6: Wellness gurus

Endlessly chipper wellness gurus might not be everyone's cup of tea, but perhaps a dose of their endorphin supply is what is needed to get you through the Covid-19 crisis.

Joe Wicks, known as The Body Coach, has made it his mission to keep parents sane by offering daily online PE lessons to children during the lockdown, while Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines is also popular.

For those who prefer a bit of northern grit, Olympic heptathlon champion and Sheffield's finest Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill will also be sharing tips to stay active.

7: Ballet

Thought ballet was beyond you? Why not have a go from the privacy of your own home?

Tamara Rojo, principle dancer and artistic director of the English National Ballet, has launched a range of YouTube videos.

They aren't for the faint-hearted, so make sure you stay well within your limits to avoid tweaking a hamstring, or alternatively look for a barre workout – an exercise regime derived from ballet but better for those with no previous experience.

8: Singing

It doesn't burn off many calories but singing can do wonders for morale and choirs all over the country are going online to prevent their voices going rusty during the pandemic.

TV choirmaster Gareth Malone has set up the Great British Home Choir, while the 500-strong London City Voices is streaming its rehearsals directly on to YouTube.

9: Gardening

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out in it. In fact, the nation's most avid gardeners probably won't notice the lockdown at all.

Now could be the time to plant an insect garden – purple flowers attract butterflies – while pots of herbs and easy-to-grow seeds are available in most of the major supermarkets.

You could even attempt an insect hotel with whatever you have lying around like twigs, pine cones, old roofing tiles and bricks – they need to be wedged into a frame to create lots of bolt holes for our six-legged friends.

10: Meditation

Aimed at slowing the heart rate rather than raising it, meditation might just keep you sane and save your relationships after a month cooped up with your nearest and dearest.

There are dozens of apps promising to help you breathe your way to peace of mind – as long as you can find a quiet corner of your home to focus.

Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer are all popular, and will really be put to the test when confronted with parents trying to be teacher, breadwinner and live-in entertainer all at once.

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