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by Gael Myers, Accredited Practising Dietitian

With gyms closed, your favourite yoga class cancelled and social sports teams on hold, keeping our bodies active at the moment might feel like Mission Impossible. A recent survey of over 2000 Aussies found that 1 in 3 of us have been doing less exercise since physical distancing laws came into place.

We’ve got some good news though. While you may have to re-think your usual exercise routines, staying active is still within reach. Not only is exercise important for staying fit and healthy, physical activity can do wonders for our mental health. And let’s face it; it’s a stressful time. Anything that can help us cope through these unusual circumstances is a good thing. We’ve pulled together some fun ideas for staying fit from the comfort of your home.

Distant socialising

While we might not be able to catch-up with friends, family and colleagues in person, we can still socialise from afar. Video calling or using the regular old telephone to get together and be active is a great way to stay in touch. There are loads of ways to do this – here are some ideas:

  • Sign up for the Get on Track challenge with your work team. It’s free, flexible and online!
  • Put on your patterned lycra, search for a retro aerobics class on YouTube (we love these ones from Aerobics Oz Style, Retrosweat and Lisa’s jazzercise) and experience the joy of the 80s.
  • Do a 30-day exercise challenge with a friend. We’ve got a LiveLighter version here that you can use. Set a time each day to check-in and do your exercises together.
  • Schedule in a once a week catch-up to do an online yoga or pilates class or try the LiveLighter workout program (we’ve got beginner, intermediate and advanced options).

Find your inner child

Dancing in the loungeroom

Do you remember the excitement you felt as a child when you bounced on a trampoline, climbed trees or danced like no-one was watching in your lounge room? While adults often exercise because of the health benefits, children are active just because it feels good. Injecting some of that playful joy into your exercise routine might be just the thing you need to motivate you to do more of it.

It will depend on what equipment you already have, but here are a few suggestions. Most of these are best in the backyard!

  • Trampolining
  • Pogo stick
  • Skipping
  • Hopscotch
  • Hula hooping
  • Orbit tennis
  • Build a circuit or obstacle course
  • Lounge room dance party – take it in turns with your kids or partner to be the DJ

Activate your work space

Our usual ways of getting incidental activity into our day, like walking to the train station, climbing stairs to get to our office or heading to the tearoom for a cuppa, have all but disappeared as we bunker down and work from home. Creating new routines will help keep our bodies moving and feeling good.

  • Break up your sitting time each hour with a stretch or mini workout. Try out our 3-minute program for a speedy workout between tasks.
  • Make a point of standing up when on the phone or during conference calls.
  • Do calf-raises or squats while waiting for the kettle to boil.
  • Sit on an exercise ball at your desk and move your body around frequently (best not to do this on conference calls though – you may make your colleagues feel a little sea-sick!).
  • Make sure you get away from your desk for a lunchbreak. It’ll not only give your brain a break, it’ll also give you an opportunity to squeeze in some activity (e.g. checking the letterbox, making lunch, walking up and down the stairs, taking the dog for a quick walk).

Not the usual suspects

Mopping the house

While it’s pretty clear that jogging, star jumps and lifting weights count as exercise, did you know there are also a bunch of everyday activities that are not only productive, but also keep you fit? Try these ideas:

  • Vigorous cleaning. Think mopping, washing windows or scrubbing floors.
  • Whether you’re putting in a new vegie garden or just pulling out weeds, you’ll be putting your time to good use while getting your body moving.
  • Put your washing basket further away from the line and only put up or take down one or two pieces of clothing at a time.
  • Preparing your own meals involves lots of different opportunities for activity: you’re lifting, bending, walking and moving your arms while chopping. Opt for home-cooked over a meal delivery service for a small boost to your daily activity.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for staying fit while staying at home!

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