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After six weeks of lockdown – and the home workouts that came with it– it can be pretty tempting to give up on all your 2020 fitness resolutions, get even better acquainted with Netflix, and become a potato. With winter approaching, the drive to maintain our beach bodies is starting to wane, and it’s especially demotivating that nobody knows when we’ll be out in the world again.
But, here’s an idea: Instead of letting lockdown drag you into a slum, why not consider ways to make it the best thing that ever happened to you?
You can no longer use being stuck in an office as an excuse to avoid exercise, especially now that we’re allowed out for a run. Since you’re obviously not getting invited out to social engagements that involve alcohol and junk food, now’s a great time to focus on nutrition and all the things you put into your body on a daily basis. By tweaking your habits just a little, you can use this time to optimise your health and fitness, and we have some tips on how to do just that.
Pay attention to nutrition
With a potentially deadly virus floating around, now more than ever is a great time to keep your immune system up. Banana bread is great and all, but make a point of focusing on getting in those leafy greens!!
If you’re planning to increase your exercise routine you might also consider supplementing with important vitamins and minerals. Nutritional celebrities like protein and vitamin C tend to get a lot of attention when it comes to building muscle and keeping your immune system strong, but there are many more to consider if you’re looking to maintain a truly balanced diet and support your fitness goals.
Studies have shown, for example, that most people have insufficient Magnesium intake, and that this may compromise exercise performance. According to bodybuilding.com, “Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body, being required for more than 325 enzymatic reactions, including those involved in the synthesis of fat, protein and nucleic acids, neurological activity, muscular contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity and bone metabolism.”
Further studies have shown that other nutrients that may be of concern to athletes or those who are following strict diets and may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from food alone, are Calcium and B Vitamins. These maintain bone strength and muscular contraction, and healthy nervous system functioning respectively.
Healthy food should always be the first place you seek nutrients, but if you do feel like you need a little more help to reach your health and fitness goals, adding some supplements to your diet is an easy way to fast track those goals. Keep in mind that if you make big changes to your diet, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician.
Supplementation can get expensive, but if you do your research and seek out online retailers like this one in Cape Town who have sales and free shipping (to locations in the Western Cape), you can keep costs down (and you’re saving on that gym membership right now, aren’t you?).
Keep your workouts interesting
We can’t control what’s going on out there in the world right now, but we can control our exercise routines. There’s an abundance of workout routines available to us online, so many in fact, that we might get so tired of scrolling through them and end up sticking to the same two every day. They may be great workouts, but repeating the same thing day after day is not going to do much for your motivation.
Mixing up your workouts is a great way to keep utilising different muscle groups. Not to mention, doing a workout you’re unfamiliar with works your brain more than one you already know all the moves for. And of course, trying a new type of exercise from time to time will keep things fresh and interesting. Who knows? you may even find your new favourite.
Learn how to run
Getting into the habit of running seems daunting at first, but for those who do it every day it can be a vital part of their daily routine. We all know that guy who runs 20km a day just for the heck of it, though we’re definitely not suggesting you need to be that guy.
Now that we can’t go to the gym or to yoga class, many South Africans are embracing running as not only a workout, but also as a means to escape the confines of their homes for an hour every day. If you’re still not feeling comfortable enough to join the crowds of budding athletes in the morning, Jamie Millar for Esquire suggests adding calf raises, reverse lunges and hamstring stretches to your home workout. Strengthening these under-utilised components will insure than when you do get out there and give running a try, it’ll be a little more comfortable.
Millar also recommends, if you’re a complete newbie to the running game, starting off by alternating one minute of running with one minute of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.
Use your body
If you’re not really into the idea of running, and you’re used to moving between an abundance of equipment at the gym, it can be severely disappointing if you’re stranded with only a pair of 1kg dumbbells and a yoga mat. The shortage of barbells and weight machines, however, might be the push you need to get into calisthenics.
Calisthenic workouts have been around since the civilisations of ancient Greece (at least), and there’s a reason people are still doing them today. These body weight training exercises require no equipment, and can still improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination – what more could you ask for?
There are so many resources out there to get you started, like this article by Healthline, so you have very little excuse to let your 2020 fitness goals slide into oblivion during quarantine.
Keeping on top of your goals despite being stuck in quarantine will not only have you looking great when we can finally get back out into the real world, but it’ll bring you a sense of pride that no amount of banana breads ever will.
Making the effort to achieve the things you set out to before lockdown will ensure that your successes tastes that much sweeter when you achieve them without even having set foot in a gym. Not to mention, taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do to maintain your mental health through this tough year. Feed your body well and move it regularly, and this lockdown might just be the push you needed to reach your goals all along.
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