Healthy At Home Blog
Staying healthy and being physically active is more important than ever right now, for our physical and mental health.
Being active in a way that is right for you (and your family), can improve your physical health, help manage stress and anxiety, and just generally make you feel better.
We asked the LRS team to share their top tips for keeping healthy and looking after their wellbeing during this challenging time, and how physical activity is helping them to do so.
If you're looking for some inspiration, why not have a read of some of their stories below..
Click on the title of a blog to add a comment.
Posted: Thu, 04 Mar 2021 13:29 by Liam Drake
Prior to the pandemic you would have normally have found me heading to the gym before work 2-3 times a week – I am much better being active in the morning and I like the routine of when I go to the gym! During lockdown 1&2 I enjoyed finding different ways to be active either at home or in the local neighbourhood and managed to keep up similar or even increased my activity levels. However, during lockdown 3, I have found motivation to be active much harder – I think this has been a combination of missing my normal routine and not wanting to be outside as much with the weather not being brilliant.
I have therefore had to find different ways to keep myself motivated to be active and two of the things that have worked the best are:
- Set yourself an activity target and write down your achievements: I challenged myself to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month and this personal challenged encourage me to go out and about (even when I didn't want to) as I didn't want to let myself down! My second challenge was to do 3 activity sessions and 2 walks a week. I created a log in my diary so I could tick these off on a weekly basis. The list gave me a reminder on daily basis of what I needed to do to reach my goals.
- Being active with others: Being able to be active with one other person during this time has really helped me. I don't like to let people down so if I have arranged a walk / run / training session with someone there I will be there, rain or shine – even if I really haven't felt like it, by the time we have finished I am so glad that I went! A weekly walk with a work colleague who lives on the same estate has really helped!
I am looking forward to getting back into a routine when gyms and classes open but in the meantime setting myself a goal seems to work for me and I have just signed up to run a 10km slightly later in the year when the events can hopefully return. Time to start planning how to increase my running from 5km – 10km!
Top Tip: Set yourself an active goal – no matter how small or big, if it is personal to you it will provide you with the motivation you need to ensure that you achieve it!
Jo Spokes, LRS Sports Development Manager
Posted: Mon, 01 Mar 2021 09:10 by Liam Drake
Hollie: It's really hard to go out to exercise because of lockdown but we've been keeping healthy by going out for walks and lots of time playing Just Dance. It's sad that we can't do Parkrun but they do a run brief on Facebook then you go for a 5k run and record it on their page. I like using my Fitbit and I'm trying to beat my mum at my steps.
Debbie: Judging from other blogs I've seen, I am not alone in saying how hard it's been to motivate myself to keep active in this third lockdown. Finding time has always been a challenge and with short days it's even harder. However, I'm the kind of person who needs to feel like I've done something, or at least got some fresh air. I can feel my sanity start to suffer if I don't.
I used to run regularly but the cold weather has made it hard to get out; I'm realising how much I miss my old run club to get me out once a week. So, in an attempt to stay active I'm trying to keep walking. I'm a key worker so I'm walking to school when I'm in and I've found some cheap water-proof trousers so the rain can't stop me! Melton is lucky enough to have its local Parkrun carrying on, albeit virtually. There's always a bit of a competition to see who takes the 'tail-walker' position each week so, even when I'm not feeling the motivation to run, there's no excuse to not get out and walk 5k every Saturday; it's been a sanity saver. If anyone fancies joining in, you can do it from anywhere in the world; just look for Melton Mowbray Parkrun on Facebook on a Saturday morning and get involved.
Friends are also a great motivator; my friend in London challenged me and two others to run or walk 100k in 4 weeks. So far, I'm up to 89km and should hit that target in spite of the recent snow. I've also got another friend in Melton who was walking a marathon in February to raise some money for her nephew, so I tagged along with some of her walks. It made me get my shoes on, even if I didn't fancy it at the time.
Hollie and I have been playing 'Just Dance' on our games console at home; we also like to play it via YouTube so we can find our favourite songs - it certainly gets the heart rate up and it doesn't matter if it's snowing, raining or dark outside. I was lucky enough to get a new fitness tracker for Christmas so Hollie's had my old one and we enjoy seeing who has achieved more steps each day. I also have a few friends with fitness trackers and we take part in weekly challenges to see who can get the most steps or cover the furthest distance.
Debbie & Hollie, LRS Active Together Champions
Posted: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:17 by Liam Drake
Like many people, I think I've found Lockdown 3 the hardest. As well as the restrictions, we've had to contend with the usual January blues and post-Christmas comedown, dark nights, and wintery weather, so you'd be forgiven if you've struggled to stay active.
For me, being active is my most effective coping mechanism. The anxiety and uncertainty of the situation we find ourselves in can be forgotten about in an instant if I take myself out for a long walk or make time to do a home workout!
Variety is key, and find what you love
Variety is key, and whilst I try to stick to a routine, I tend to plan my activity around how I'm feeling on the day. I've run, walked, started the day with yoga, and planned my own home workouts. I invested in an Apple Watch in the Autumn and the free trial for Apple Fitness+ allows me to access a whole range of virtual classes from HIIT to yoga, which has been really helpful when I've been stuck for inspiration. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for the gym and pool to re-open. But for now, the substitutes for these are still doing wonders for my physical and mental wellbeing, and that's the most important thing.
Challenge yourself (in a way that's right for you)
I joined in with the Molly's 6 (Hundred) Minute Challenge in January which was a huge motivator to be active even when I didn't feel like it. This month it has been great to challenge myself as part of Miles More Together, raising vital funds for FareShare Midlands and awareness for local food banks. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, the challenge motivated me to get out on my bike for the first time in months and to run my second ever 10km. The sense of community and social connection that challenges like these bring means that you feel supported by others even when you can't be together, so get involved where you can!
Set personal challenges that are right for you and make sure to celebrate your achievements, however small you think they are!
It can be all too easy to find something more important to do than make time for activity, whether it's replying to more emails or catching up on the next episode of your Netflix binge. You only need to get outside for a few minutes to notice the impact of being active on your mental health and productivity. I've started holding myself accountable by blocking time out in my diary at lunchtime to go for a walk or get some fresh air, even if it's for 15 minutes.
Top Tip: don't underestimate the importance of getting outside during daylight hours. Speak to your employer about whether you can flex your hours to build in activity before, during or after work to make the most of your daily exercise allowance and help you to reconnect with the outside world.
Bryany Cornish - LRS Sports Development Officer
Posted: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 13:43 by Joe Hall
First of all, hi to anyone reading this entry. I'll start my blog with a simple and honest confession – I've found keeping active really hard in lockdown 3!
In the first lockdown I was quite keen to explore the different classes and routines available online (many of which can be found via our Health at Home pages) which was quite new and I definitely enjoyed doing something different. By the time of the next lockdown, I had already committed to doing a daily running challenge so my activity levels weren't really impacted at all.
In December I joined a new gym and absolutely fell in love with my routine there. With everything going on in the world it was a real highlight being able to take some 'me time', switch off from the 'noise' of it all and steadily work through whatever exercises I fancied doing that day.
I always had a buzz and a spring in my step on my way home from the gym so I have to admit to spending the first week of lockdown a little bit grumpy and not really keeping myself active. I realise now I was probably putting too much pressure on replacing the gym with something similar.
The truth is, I was really active at the end of last year and will definitely get back to my gym routine when they reopen. I've decided that for now I'm going to take it a bit easier and just stick to a daily walk or cycle – even just short ones if needed – to keep me ticking over and take away the pressure.
Top Tip: Don't feel like you have to go over the top to get active. Even a small amount can make a massive difference to how you feel.
If your gym, exercise class or club isn't around right now you don't need to try and replicate what you usually do – just doing something is better than nothing right now. We'll all be able to get back to our favourite routines soon.
Joe Hall, Sports Facilities Development Officer
Posted: Mon, 22 Feb 2021 08:56 by Liam Drake
I'm very much enjoying being kind to myself during Lockdown 3 and being pleased with what I have achieved rather than what I haven't. So, whether that is a 10 minute stroll to the supermarket or a one hour walk across Leicester, both still help your mental and physical health. Me and my boyfriend like to plan a trip to a new coffee shop we have seen advertised and pick up a treat for the walk home. Such a lovely moment to be walking in the cold with a warm drink!
In terms of nutrition I have been subtly adding in substitutes here and there, again not being too hard on myself – just adding a little more veg or using oat milk as an alternative.
I am still attending regular dance, cardio and stretch classes online but my January motivation has been low so haven't done as many in order to be a bit kinder to my mind and body. It will bounce back when it is ready!
Top Tip: Don't be so hard on yourself!
Kelly McCormack, LRS Active Together Champion
Posted: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 09:16 by Liam Drake
During lockdown 3, it has been especially challenging to keep up motivation and training quality. It is obviously a lot colder and darker than it was during lockdown 1 and with no races to aim for, and no guidance as to when they may be re-introduced, it is very difficult to know whether the work you are doing is going to pay off.
But it will!!!
Whilst we are stuck inside for so long, without being able to enjoy the things we love, it is really important to make sure we all spend some time exercising outdoors when possible. It may be hard to get out the front door at times, but when you get back you will always be so thankful that you made yourself get out in the first place. The benefits of exercise, especially currently, are infinite.
Top Tip: Always remember that feeling and use that when nothing else can get you motivated.
Stay safe everyone!
Rosie Timlock, LRS GO GOLD Athlete
Posted: Fri, 12 Feb 2021 09:23 by Liam Drake
Many have said that this lockdown has been the most challenging, but I feel that I have been able to cope so much better. I am missing my family, human contact, and the normal day to day life that we enjoyed before Covid-19 arrived. On a positive I have been able to put into practice many of the new habits I thought I would have adopted back in Lockdown 1!!!
It just goes to show that even if you know what you should do, are motivated to put things into action, it is not always that easy.
Keeping to a routine of getting up at the same time, dressing for work & walking the dog have kept me going, but I wanted to do more.
My goals were to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, take regular screen breaks, reduce alcohol, make time for myself, learn something new, the list was quite extensive, but I thought working from home would offer a great opportunity to achieve it all!!!
I am happy to report that I have made great in-roads but it has taken until now to be able to say that.
Creating weekly meal plans had made the whole shopping process very efficient. (Supermarket visits have become my going out-out event, where I wash my hair, pop on a bit of make-up and some decent clothes)
I believe little and often throughout the day is great for your health and wellbeing, so using my Fitbit, to remind me to get up and move every hour, also taking part in challenges with my colleagues for some healthy competition has been great.
Having a lunchtime alarm has been very effective, if a little embarrassing when it has gone off mid TEAMS meeting!!! But it has ensured that I have taken a break, got out in the fresh air and feel refreshed.
Like many of us, I like a glass of wine at the end of the day, but I made the decision that now might be a good time to have a dry spell, so I have completed Dry January and plan to continue abstaining until I reach my goal weight loss.
I have not quite cracked the learning something new (except virtual meetings) and making time for myself but having achieved so many of my other goals. I am feeling great and that in itself is good enough for me right now, that's not to say that I am not still working towards total success, but let's hope we don't need another lockdown for me to get there!!!
Top Tip: Keep it up and continue to get the benefits long after Covid-19.
Anita Bird, LRS Sports Development Officer
Posted: Tue, 09 Feb 2021 09:47 by Liam Drake
During lockdown 1 I was super motivated and probably fitter than I have ever been! Some days during this third lockdown have been challenging. At the start I felt like relaxing and not doing much and on others, I've been up and ready early, raring to go! One thing that I have tried to keep up throughout the whole situation is my positivity and looking at myself today, I feel so much better for pushing to get myself back on track! As a qualified Sports Coach, PT in training, tutor and a third year student at Sheffield Hallam, I have juggled so many different emotions over the past three years. However, particularly within last year, I have overcome challenges that I would have never expected to face and here I am feeling better than ever! It is totally normal to have some lazy days and it's okay not to be okay but what is most important is how you get back up!
I have had a passion for sport since the age of 6 and I still love it now! I feel that once you are up and moving, you just feel so good, physically and mentally, everything just seems better! Keeping active has been a lifesaver during this pandemic! Please get involved, find a hobby or even a talent and just have fun! Exercise doesn't have to be serious! My two favourite hobbies are skiing and running, and I just cannot wait to be able to get out and ski again! I am actually looking to book a ski holiday for when lockdown is over, so if there is anyone out there with some ideas of fantastic skiing destinations then please let me know!
Top Tip: It's always a good idea to have something to look forward to!
Laura, LRS Active Together Champion, Leicester
Posted: Fri, 05 Feb 2021 15:43 by Liam Drake
My last lockdown blog (July 2020) was all about training for a 70.3mile triathlon which I completed in September in 6hrs 16mins.
So, what next?
Well… 2 more triathlons! An Olympic distance in June and the Outlaw-X 70.3 again in September.
As training for these begins, it occurs to me that alongside the motivation of training for a challenge, there are 3 inspirations for my physical activity and hopefully at least one of these can resonate for you and help you to get and/or stay active.
A few years ago, my wife joined a gym and if anything since then she has become more addicted to training than me. In the last year, our spare room has become a makeshift gym and now we encourage and inspire each other, especially on the days when one of us is finding the motivation difficult.
Long before March 2020 I became part of a WhatsApp group of friends who are all runners of varying degrees. Originally set up in June 2019 to motivate a few of the lads for the 2020 London Marathon, the group still goes strong today. There have been rare occasions when we have been able to get out for runs together (including supporting two of the lads during their respective Virtual London Marathons in October) but primarily the chat consists of posting photos and route maps of recent runs to create a buzz and inspire other group members to get out there themselves. Often, there are times when motivation is low but the notification that someone else has been out is all you need to get the trainers on so you can respond with your own route map!
Many of the challenges I have undertaken have been for good and very personal causes (https://josepholiver.muchloved.com/). A commitment to do something for charity often provides all the motivation needed to get you up/out.
Recently a colleague of mine at LRS did just this; combining the above elements by getting friends and family active (including some who were previously very in-active) all in support of Molly's Gift, a Loughborough-based fundraising trust set up in honour of Molly Webb, who passed away in January 2019, aged just 25. The trust provides funding opportunities for youth development in sport, particularly for disadvantaged children. (https://www.facebook.com/MollysGift6)
Top Tip: Family, Friends, Charity (or something else)… Find your motivation!
Liam Drake, LRS Sports Development Officer
Posted: Mon, 01 Feb 2021 09:20 by Liam Drake
As an ambassador for Hinckley and Bosworth its always important to keep myself healthy in body and mind. There are many ways I do this because I'm disabled after 3 strokes suffering from permanent migraines and fatigue, it's even more difficult but that's not about to stop me even if it does hurt and is the only thing I do that day.
Every other day or when I feel ok I get out on my bike with my wife early morning to do a vigorous ride covering just over 5 miles, but that has been difficult due to snow and ice recently, so I would normally do some exercise in the house after the ride involving core exercises push ups, something that's vigorous. I also use a punch bag but as I have balance issues and can't walk without falling, I wedge myself with boxes either side to ensure no falling and this is also a fantastic workout. Getting out early in the morning ensures we don't meet anyone and it's fantastic for our mental health too as it gives you a fresh feeling and listening to the world awakening is magic without the hustle and bustle of our lives. I guarantee you will feel great from it as it gives your mind a rest and a great start to your day, little by little it all makes a difference. Have a go, remember we all start from somewhere.
Top Tip: Health isn't all about physical fitness; your mind is also so important to keep healthy, so a small walk early morning can make that change we all need!!!
Paul Herbert, LRS Active Together Champion