With most of us stuck inside, understanding the different ways to keep active is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing. We’ve asked Team Social to share the different activities they’ve been doing to keep up their fitness levels in lockdown!
Since lockdown we have increased the number of bike rides we go on, going out most days. We are fortunate that we have Drinkwater Park, a network of large urban country parks and part of National Cycle Route 6 on the Reddish to Bury section, a five minute ride from our home.
On average we clock up a 10-12km round trip which is great for our fitness levels and keeps us active during lockdown. However, we are also learning so much more about our local area and its history. We are also surprised by the amount of wildlife we are seeing – deer, herons, squirrels, rabbits and so many more birds!
As well as the cycle rides I squeeze in HIT workouts with Joe Wicks, the nation’s favourite PE teacher; and Frankie’s dance school, Danceworks Theatre and Ballet School, have a schedule of online classes so Frankie is able to continue her ballet, modern and tap classes through virtual lessons.
We’ve been doing ‘Insanity’ Circuit Training for just over a week and are definitely feeling the burn! The dog has found it all very confusing and usually disrupts our squats/lunges by licking sweat off our faces.
It’s no secret that I hate the gym! I didn’t go before lockdown so it’s not something that I miss now. I am, however, a keen walker (I’m a dog owner, it’s a given!) so I’ve been making sure I hit my 10k steps (some days 20k) every day with my gorgeous dog, Tilly! Pre-lockdown, we would usually drive out to explore right across Manchester, as well as Yorkshire and the Peak District, but we’ve been exploring our local area much more since lockdown began.
We haven’t driven to walk anywhere for 6 weeks but have still visited reservoirs, lovely rivers, rolling fields and pleasant parks. Tilly is loving having me at home 24/7 – pets are definitely the real winners in lockdown!
Exercise has been key to keeping a healthy mind and body during lockdown. I’ve been trying lots of different ways to stay active, from Pilates, running, HiiT to just taking a walk around the block.
By far though, cycling has been the most fun. I’ve got a (very) old Dutch bike – yep no gears – this means cycling can be a tough workout! Funnily enough the hardest part every time is actually getting the bike down my hallway stairs and outside.
I’ve never quite trusted people who enjoy running. It’s boring and painful, and there are plenty of boring and painful things you can do without having to also endure the wind and rain. But I’m also quite keen on not having my heart pack up on me, so a couple of months ago I decided to start the “Couch to 5K” programme and actually stick to it.
I was two weeks in when lockdown began, but thankfully I live right on the Sefton Coast, with a wide open beach just outside my front door, so social distancing wasn’t a problem. I spurred myself on by treating the app’s targets as game-style achievements to unlock, and giving myself accountability by posting to Instagram Stories every time I ran.
It was tough to start with, so much so that I tagged my Insta posts as #ouchto5k. But I wasn’t prepared for how satisfying smashing those targets would be, nor the feeling of knowing I could do something I would have thought unimaginable eight weeks previously. I’m still adamant I’m not going to become one of those People Who Enjoy Running, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit fun.
I first discovered yoga a few years ago when I was learning ways to help navigate through feelings of anxiousness, and I can’t recommend it more highly – whether it’s for your mind, that awful desk posture, or the general benefits for your spine. Start small 10-20 minute practices (I suggest YouTube is your best option for the current situation – Yoga with Adriene is a good place to start ).
Yoga has really helped to ground me and connect myself during this time, and it’s ability to change your train of thought and change your mood is amazing.
With restrictions in place about outdoors activities, I’ve had to rethink how I use my bike – it is still very possible to cycle safely and responsibly, by taking a few simple steps. I’ve been making sure I’m no more than 10 miles from home at most, and taking non-hazardous routes (avoiding steep descents and poorly maintained roads). The lack of traffic has been highly noticeable, and riding has been more enjoyable than usual. Some of my friends have also taken to riding ‘figure of eight’ loops, so as to remain close to their homes.
We’re absolutely spoilt for choice in Leeds. It is one of the greenest cities in the UK, with the dales to the west, and rural flatlands out east. Our office landlords, Bruntwood, have set up a Strava club to keep us in-touch with the wider workplace community, and my partner has set up an indoor trainer in our garden, proving there are ways to keep on pedalling and staying motivated. I find it a really good way to maintain fitness and mental wellbeing.
Like many people pushing 40 for whom ‘fitness’ is a memory buried by too many crisps and chocolates comfort-eaten in the name of parenthood, I’ve had ambitions of losing weight and getting fit again for far too long. The 5k Runner app has been the thing I’ve aimed to use to do this for a good few years now, before giving up after a couple of depressing runs, telling myself I’m too busy anyway and can do it later. Then lockdown came to town, and while I should still be more diligent about my exercising, I am getting there.
Having never gone past about Week 2 of the 8 week programme, I’m now on Week 7 and 5k is finally on the horizon, helped along by the great topical audiobook I’m listening to (The Stand, by Stephen King) while I run alongside the Bridgewater Canal. Ten years ago I was running 10k, maybe I can get back there again before I turn 40 later this year.