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: Fri, 29 May 2020 09:32 by Bryany Cornish

Missing the comradery of team sport & finding alternative ways to be active

Missing the comradery of team sport & finding alternative ways to be active

I am one of those people who has always been what you call 'sporty'. Since representing the school and County in rugby and athletics as a kid I have always been involved in a sports team at every stage of my life. At one time I was playing multiple sports each week – from rugby to Volleyball.

Over the last few years I have quite rightly slowed down and ironically at the age of 55 I retired this year from playing my club rugby. I had in the meantime switched to regularly playing touch rugby, keeping fit in the gym, and doing a little bit of light running.

During this challenging time I have been able to pick up my level of activity despite missing the comradeship of playing touch rugby with friends on a regular basis. I have used a mixture of apps and online content to mix up the training I have been doing. The extra time and flexibility that has been created by being at home for the last few months has been a real blessing instead of racing around and travelling to London. I have no excuses for not finding time to exercise!

I am also lucky that is easy to quickly leave the village and run around some beautiful countryside as well as jump on the bike either in my garage or on the quiet roads around to add some variety.

I use an app and heart rate monitor called Myzone as motivation and to ensure that I hit my target amount of physical activity each month. During lockdown being part of an online group spurred me on to ensure I hit some new personal best records! My rugby club also created an online WhatsApp challenge which encouraged me to get some miles under my belt. With my slightly competitive nature, I took this up with relish and was exercising sometimes twice a day!

I am certainly missing the touch rugby more than the gym. This period has taught me there is so much I can do at home with a few pieces of equipment and YouTube. I have enjoyed my bike rides and I will certainly be taking this up as a long-term replacement for some of my team sports as I get even older and slower. I am now dreading going back to normal and having less time for keeping fit!

Andy Reed, Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport Board Member

Posted: Thu, 28 May 2020 09:27 by Bryany Cornish

Volunteering in the local community & keeping active with Ted!

Volunteering in the local community & keeping active with Ted!

Lockdown has been an interesting one for me, as I usually spend all my time either working, volunteering, playing football, at the gym, or socialising with friends (I'm usually just at home to sleep)! So like most of us, I had to create a new routine and a new normal. At first, I found this new, exciting, and a challenge for myself, but as the weeks went on and that excitement eased, I did start to lack in motivation! I did have periods of time where I missed out on my daily exercise or just generally didn't feel myself and had to dig deep to get out of my bedroom or out of the house.

However, my dog Ted has been the answer and my absolute lockdown saviour! Walking Ted daily has meant that even if I did not want to do a workout myself, I am getting in my daily physical activity through walking. He even tries to join in my workouts at home (sometimes making it difficult!) but he does make me smile. I have also found going for a walk or running down the canal next to my house has helped with my mental wellbeing which I think is extremely important, especially in the situation we are in.

With being an active volunteer prior to lockdown, through my football club, Loughborough Foxes, and through the fundraising trust I co-founded, Molly's Gift, I certainly needed to get my teeth stuck into something and help others during this period, as that is something I enjoy. So I applied to volunteer for Loughborough Against Coronavirus and I have been doing this for 8 weeks now. I do regular shopping for 3 vulnerable / elderly households, and a weekly phone call. Although I have sometimes come away quite sad, this is ultimately very rewarding and it's great to be able to help these people, especially at a time in such need.

Top Tip: Don't put too much pressure on yourself and go with how you are feeling on that day, tomorrow is a new day 😊

Leandra Whelband, Assistant Sports Development Officer

Posted: Thu, 21 May 2020 09:29 by Miss Evie Holmes

Walking, Workouts and Connecting with Nature

Walking, Workouts and Connecting with Nature

The first few weeks in lockdown couldn't have been further away than what I was use to, my normal escapism, horse riding was no longer possible with the restrictions and not having this in my daily routine was tough for me.

However, it is amazing how you adjust to a new situation and when something is missing you find other ways to fill that void. For me it was being outside and connecting with nature, whether it was going for my morning walk with my dog, doing yoga or a workout in the garden, all the while outside in the fresh spring air with the birds singing.

I found I was much more motivated after the first few weeks and got myself in to more a routine, starting my day off with a walk, getting stuck in with my work and then in the evening I would end the day with a workout. I've never really been keen on online workouts, but I stumbled across some dance ones on YouTube which were really fun and you completely forgot you were exercising, though one things for sure I don't think I will ever master those samba steps!

One of the other things I have been thankful for during lockdown is being a pet owner, it's almost like they can sense the uncertainty themselves, and when your feeling down there is nothing a dog cuddle or a cat lying on your desk can't fix!

At the beginning of May I was finally able to see my horse again which was a huge relief, I couldn't ride at first, I was just able to visit her and groom her, which for anyone who has never experienced, it really is the best therapy. Last week was my first time back in the saddle again and I can honestly say, it is something I will appreciate even more now, and I am hoping I can get out for a hack soon and enjoy the outdoors from a different perspective!

Top Tip: Try to get some fresh air at least once a day whether that be going for a walk or just in the garden, it really helps!

Evie Holmes, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Posted: Tue, 19 May 2020 09:32 by Bryany Cornish

Keeping active during pregnancy

Keeping active during pregnancy

A week prior to full lockdown being announced, the government classified all pregnant women in the 'vulnerable' category, at which point I was six months pregnant. This brought with it a high level of anxiety for me and I found the best way to manage my time at home was to plan in a family walk each day, come rain or shine, even if it was just a lap around the block (which takes a long time with a 2 year old in tow!). This particularly helped to get me moving on the days I was working from home and was also something to look forward to.

Prior to lockdown I had been taking part in weekly OneFitMama Leicestershire circuit classes, aimed at supporting mums on their journeys to healthier minds and bodies. During lockdown, these classes moved to a virtual platform, which meant that I could still take part from the comfort of my own home (at my own pace, which was lucky with a growing bump!) and for me it was really important to stay active as my pregnancy progressed for both my mental and physical health.

Having a weekly class to look forward to helped me to maintain a healthy routine and I enjoyed being able to take part in a live class and interact with the class leader and the other mums who I would normally see face to face. Continuing to be active has definitely helped me to stay positive throughout the last trimester of my pregnancy.

With only 2 weeks to go until my due date I am no longer taking part in the circuit classes but still try and fit in a daily walk if I can, in addition to running around after my 2 year old which is exercise in itself!

Top Tip: At the start of each day try and plan in when you are going to be active and stick to it e.g. at the end of your working day, lunchtime etc.

Lizzi Hall, Sports Development Officer

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 15:12 by Joe Hall

Training and Tranquillity

I'm one of those (probably annoying) people who have generally always enjoyed exercise. Even when I've had the odd break from it in the past, I've usually found myself coming back.

For me, exercise has mostly meant going to the gym a couple of times a week and playing football. None of that is possible in the way it used to be… at least for now.

The biggest change over recent weeks has been the way I receive motivation. The gym has music pumping out and dozens of people moving through their daily routines. This motivated me to make sure I'm not the only one sat snoozing on my exercise mat. Similarly, playing football I become competitive against opponents. All of this relies on my mind racing on some level, thinking about what I should be doing, when I should be doing it and how.

My new routine is completely different. Not what I'm used to and not previously in my comfort zone, but I love it. Early mornings are spent at one of several local parks within walking distance of my house (several of which I've only just discovered). There's no training plan, no other gymgoers to think about and, often, no music. I simply turn up and decide what exercise I feel like doing that day.

The biggest change for me has been focusing on mindfulness. When I'm performing an exercise, I focus purely on how that feels and doing it as well as I can. When I'm resting, I'm calming my breathing, or sometimes just appreciating the green space and nature around me. Sometimes I miss the buzz of the gym but mostly I'm appreciating the chance to think about the day ahead and what I want to do – in tranquillity!

When this is all over, I'm planning to balance my old and new routines to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Top Tip: Don't force yourself into a rigid routine if you don't want to, it'll only make it difficult to stick to. Make yourself a pledge to be active – encourage others if you can – but take it day by day and give yourself some freedom each day to decide what you want to do.

Joe Hall, Sports Facilities Development Officer

Posted: Sun, 10 May 2020 16:03 by Jo Spokes

Keeping Up The Motivation!

Keeping Up The Motivation!

Before lockdown began, my usual weekly physical activity routine involved me either heading to the gym or out for a run. Both of these I did with friends, which was one of my main motivations…not wanting to let people down saw me getting to the gym for 6.30am or heading for an afterwork run, even if I didn't feel like it I was there (the majority of the time) and felt better for doing so afterwards.

As I guessed lockdown was coming I managed to get hold of an exercise bike – spin was one of the classes that I enjoyed at the gym and I was determined that I was going to keep going at home! The first few weeks saw me really motivated, I was walking, running or cycling most days and was enjoying finding online classes and new local routes.

However, if I am honest as the weeks have gone on I have found it harder to motivate myself – I have been missing the motivation from others, the online class isn't the same as having an instructor there and at times I have had to forced myself to do something…but again always feeling better when I have done something and actually doing it was enjoyable and not as bad as I had thought it would be.

What I have noticed is that what I have really enjoyed is walking and this is something that I have managed to increase during these later weeks of lockdown. I have discovered footpaths, rights of ways and sights that I either never knew existed or had not been too before, all within walking distance of the front door. I have enjoyed having the time to do this and something that I want to continue to do so moving forward.

After a couple of weeks of less physical activity that I normally do, I am sitting here feeling more optimistic about next week…I have set myself some realistic goals of what I want to achieve and am planning to check in with my friend to report back what physical activity we have undertaken – we may not be able to do our usual runs together but we can still try and provide the motivation and accountability, something which gives me the push I need!

Top Tip: Set a weekly physical activity goal with a friend and report back on your progress!

Jo Spokes, Sports Development Manager

Posted: Wed, 06 May 2020 16:39 by Bryany Cornish

Staying Active, Switching Off, and Converting a Swimmer to a 'Sort-Of' Runner

Staying Active, Switching Off, and Converting a Swimmer to a 'Sort-Of' Runner

I really struggled in the first few weeks of lockdown to find the motivation to be active. I normally swim regularly, and it was quickly clear that I wasn't going to be able to get in the pool for a while. I have NEVER been a keen runner, avoiding it at all costs (I think lots of swimmers will relate - it's quite literally like being a fish out of water), but a need to get out of the house during my daily exercise and do something that was going to at least make me break a sweat had me giving it a go. Turns out I don't hate it at all. I've taken to challenging myself to get quicker over 5km, but also not putting any pressure on myself if one day I just fancy a walk instead. I would never normally just 'go out for a walk' unless there was a purpose to my journey, but it's definitely something I will keep up. It's been a great way to clear my head and has also just helped me to take more notice of my local area.

Unfortunately, with the space I have at home my bedroom is also now my office. Turning my laptop off and packing everything away at the end of each day has really helped me to switch off, and I try to head straight out for a walk, run, or into the garden for a home workout with some kettlebells. That way by the time I've got home my living space has become just that, and I can forget about work until the next day.

I think it's really important to not put any pressure on yourself during these times. Of course, use the extra time at home to get fit, spring clean the house, or learn a new skill, but I think it's fine if some days you don't feel like doing any of that. Looking after your mental health is key, and everything else will follow.

My Top Tip! Just try to move a little each day, even if it's a 10 minute walk around the block. Trust me, it helps!

Bryany Cornish, Sports Development Officer

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Partners

  • Sport England
    Blaby LSA
  • Leicestershire County Council
    Active Rutland
  • Active Partnerships
    Equality Standard
  • Harborough LSA
    Charnwood LSA
  • H&B LSA
    Melton LSA
  • NWL LSA
    Safeguarding
  • O&W LSA
    Active Leicester