KALEN KROËSE AND BOITUMELO MAKAEPEA
As many countries are affected by COVID-19, lockdowns have been widely used as a measure to curb the spread of the virus. Since movement is restricted during a lockdown, most people spend a large part or the whole day indoors. During times like these, staying fit becomes a challenge for many people, but there are many ways to stay fit, or even improve your fitness, while staying indoors. It is important to warm up before engaging in any form of strenuous exercise. This can be done by marching in one spot for a minute or more or by stretching. Those with smart watches or a step-counting app on their phone can run around the garden tracking their steps. Even though the typical goal is to achieve 10 000 steps a day, you can set a goal that suits you best. The following exercises can easily be done at home:
Planks are a great way to build core stability. Once you are in a forearm plank position, ensure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders and that your feet are hip-width apart. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth and remember to keep your body as straight as possible. You can do this for 60 seconds, aim for 4 sets with 30 seconds breaks in between.
Squats are great for strengthening your legs and glutes and they improve your lower body mobility. Research has also shown that squats strengthen your core and balance. When doing squats remember to keep your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Don’t let your knees go past your toes when going down and remember not to lift your heels. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps of at least one type of squat (there are many variations for different target areas).
Crunches are a great way to strengthen your core. Crunches work your oblique muscles, as well as the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, and hips. These muscles all help to stabilize your body. Lie on the floor resting on your back bending your needs knees and make sure your feet are hip-width apart on the floor. Put your hands behind your head or cross your arms on your chest. Inhale and contract your abs, then exhale and lift your upper body while keeping your head and neck relaxed, then return to your starting position. Aim for 4 sets of 10-15 reps with 30 seconds to 1 minute breaks in between.
This exercise is good for strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. The bridge can also strengthen core stability by targeting the abdominal muscles and the lower back and hip muscles. Lie on the floor with your head facing up, your feet flat on the mat and hip-width apart, and your knees bent. Keep your arms resting by your side. Tighten your core and glute muscles, inhale through your nose, and exhale while squeezing your glutes and lifting your bum off the floor until your upper body is in a straight line. Hold it there for a few seconds and slowly lower your body back to the floor. Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds to 1 minute breaks in between.
When doing these exercises at home, add in other exercises that you enjoy doing and remove ones you don’t like. Jumping jacks, mountain climbs, bicycle kicks and knee jumps are other examples of exercises which are great for cardio. If you want to challenge yourself further, you can download exercise apps to keep track of your progress. Exercising during this time is important as it not only strengthens your immune system, but it is good for your mental health. Staying active helps reduce stress and aids in mental clarity. By staying at home and adhering to regulations set out by the government you can still be fit and healthy by incorporating these exercises into your daily routine and eating well-balanced meals.