How are you all keeping? What a long winter we're having this year!
Amid the rain, the snow and the mud, we've hunkered down and battled through home school and I'm back volunteering at King's but there's been very little desire to get out and move about. I'm blaming home school, the weather and my lethargy but also we have to be kind and recognise that our routines have been turned upside down.
In case you're also feeling a bit lethargic, and just in time for warmer weather at the weekend, I thought you might appreciate a motivational nudge.
I recently enjoyed a training webinar where the physio leading the session was highlighting the impact of immobility and reduced activity brought on by significantly altered work and leisure patterns during the pandemic. For example; the work commute has all but vanished, you might be shielding, nervous to go outside or your regular gym class/ swimming session is no longer available.
What she's seeing in her physio practice are the consequences of immobility, with some people having flare ups of old conditions, exacerbation of existing musculoskeletal concerns as well as experiencing new ones.
Spending long periods seated, particularly at a desk, puts strain on the extensor muscles running the length of your spine to the base of your skull so you may find increased neck pain, midback pain or lumbar pain. You may also find your knees and hips are stiffer than usual. Mine are!
Anyway, what about you? Have you embraced the opportunity for daily exercise during the pandemic and feel fitter and more flexible than ever or are you also concerned that you are a lot less active?
If, like me, you feel you've been less active in the second (or is it the third?) lockdown, what small things could you do to become a bit more mobile? Here's a few pointers to have a think about:
1. When can you create opportunity for regular movement throughout the day? Some ideas (you'll have better ones):
- get up earlier and recreate the 'commute' to work by walking, cycling or running
- drink lots of water throughout the day so you are forced to take frequent loo trips
- be active while the kettle boils - running on the spot, stretches etc
- turn off the evening news and do yoga or pilates before bed
- set an alarm every hour and for 5 minutes get your heart rate up by walking/running up and down stairs 10 times (safely), skipping, star jumps etc
2. What interests and motivates you? How could you use this to help you move more? Podcasts? Books? Birds? Architecture? Writing?
- a dawn chorus walk, a bird spotting walk
- a walk/run and a book on Audible
- do someone a favour and walk their dog
- a kitchen disco
- street art walk
- cycle tour around the sights of London
- writing letters and posting them in a faraway postbox
3. How can you get a little more out of the exercise you already do? For example;
- choose a longer podcast to walk/run to
- pick a route to the shops with hills
- take a skipping rope on your run
- spring clean your house from top to bottom
- look into a charity challenge
- when taking kids to the park, introduce daily olympic challenges such as sprint races, welly tossing, hurdles, egg and spoon
4. Finally, listen to your body, go gentle, don't take yourself beyond your limit if you have existing musculoskeletal or health conditions and always consult a GP/physio if you have concerns - they are still open. But, do try to get up and move more often.
In the meantime, here's a few useful links for you and your loved ones.
Our big plan is Half Term Olympics with me representing the sunny South Coast, Ed representing the grim North and Tom representing the Lambeth Walk.
Good luck and talk to me if you're feeling stuck in a rut - a fresh pair of eyes on a routine sometimes helps. Alternatively, type back a hello and let me know how you're keeping - miss you a lot