I’ve never been a particularly sporty person and exercise doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. I’m yet to experience a runner’s high or a surge of endorphins – the idea of HIIT makes me want to cry – but I know movement is good for me and that I should make an effort to stay active. The new year coinciding with lockdown number three has forced me to think of a way to incorporate some form of physical exertion into my daily routine that will keep me both fit and sane, as it’s now all too easy to stay inside, watch Netflix and eat rubbish. Here are five ways to work out for those who, like me, aren’t born athletes.
Yoga is the perfect all-rounder: if done properly, it can be a strength, flexibility and cardio workout all in one. It can also be really low intensity, perfect for days when the idea of extreme exertion seems daunting and horrible. When I’ve picked up yoga and stuck to it, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mood as well as physical changes. There’s something about deep breathing and connecting with your body every day that is brilliant for mental health. There are so many fantastic free resources online, my favourite being Yoga With Adrienne; all you need is a mat and you’re good to go.
Walking may seem like a cop-out when it comes to working out, but this is simply not true. Depending on your weight and height, walking 10,000 steps a day can burn around 500 calories, which equates to 3,500 calories a week. Though this number will differ from person to person, it’s great to know that simply putting one foot in front of the other can count as exercise. For me, it’s also a great way to make sure I get outside everyday and enjoy some fresh air, which we all know is good for our mental health.
For anyone who is feeling angry at being put into three lockdowns in less than a year but isn’t quite sure how to express it, it may be worth trying out some form of boxercise workout. This is one that will make you sweat as it’s intense cardio, and it’s also a great outlet for stress, as well as an effective way to build strength and improve hand-eye coordination. Similarly to yoga, there are loads of free boxing resources online and it can be done equipment-free.
Cycling is a great excuse for getting outside, exploring new places and getting in some all-important cardio. It can be extremely relaxing to put on a podcast or some tunes and just cycle around the park. For those who don’t own a bike, there are tons of ways to rent one through apps and docks throughout London.
Dancing is not only a real mood booster, but it’s also the perfect way to get moving. There’s so much freedom to how you approach it and routines can be as long or as little as you please. It’s fun to make the perfect playlist to dance to, which may lead to discovering new music too. There are also online classes offering Zumba-like videos that are sure to get the blood pumping.