As you read this you might already find yourself in isolation, maybe building to-scale mini-cities from hoarded groceries to pass the time, or just bingeing on endless TV box sets.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone there.
Millions of Australians find themselves in an identical position and with news the government is now considering a suburb-by-suburb lockdown, millions more will likely soon join them.
But while our worlds might have just gotten a whole lot smaller, they haven’t stopped turning altogether.
It’s a time when our health is more important than ever and tempting though it is to settle into the couch and reach for the take-out menu, now is not the time to let your fitness slip.
Yes, gyms have closed, but that’s no excuse to stop training at home. We know already the positive impact exercise has on stress levels and the quality of our sleep. And right now, that’s more important than ever.
Studies have shown people who report higher levels of stress are more susceptible to illnesses like the cold, which is spread in a similar way to COVID-19.
Likewise, healthy sleep is hugely important. Another study found people who sleep less than six hours a night were more than four times more likely to get sick than those who slept for longer.
The point is, training won’t just keep you fit while you’re cooped up indoors. It will keep you healthy, too.
HOW TO KEEP FIT AT HOME
1. Use what you have
To be totally honest, the temporary closure of gyms across Australia won’t impact my fitness routine. I haven’t been inside one in years.
You don’t need heavy weight sets or expensive equipment to keep fit. In fact, I can guarantee that your home is already filled with exercise options just waiting to be used.
Doorways are perfect for upright rows. Doors themselves make for great chin-up bars. And any empty space on the floor becomes your cardio studio for star jumps, burpees and air sprints.
2. Housework out
Remember, anything that gets your heart beating faster and causes you to sweat counts as exercise, and that includes housework. Next time you’re vacuuming, sweeping or washing up, try to up the tempo a little bit and you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
And it can really add up. NRL player Kalyn Ponga was involved in an experiment where he acted as a father-of-four for a day, and found he burned three times a many kilojoules on dad duty as he does playing a full 80 minutes of football.
3. Snack-sized exercise
If you’re worried about finding an hour to train every day, then don’t be. Studies have found that breaking your workouts down into shorter sessions across the day can actually be more effective. So if you’re watching television, use the ad breaks to knock out some crunches.
YOUR SURE-FIRE HOME FITNESS PROGRAM
Bodyweight squats: 45 seconds, 15 second rest
Make it harder: Put one leg on a chair, using the other to carry more of your weight.
This is one of my favourite exercises because you use so many muscles at once. A bicep curl, for example, uses 1.5 per cent of you total muscle mass. Each squat, however, uses almost all of them.
Push-ups: 45 seconds, 15 second rest
Make it harder: Use your kids as extra bodyweight. Mine loving climbing on my back, and the extra weight makes this so much harder. You can also put your legs on a chair.
The classics are classics for a reason, and the humble push-up works your core, arms and chest at the same time. If you’re not ready for a full push-up yet, start with your knees on the floor.
Crunch sit-ups: 45 seconds, 15 second rest
Your core is at the, well, core of your fitness, and so this is less about shaping those washboard abs and more about giving your body the strength it needs ever day.
Make it harder: Try the two-punch crunch, where you throw two punches at the top of each rep. Or pause for a count of three seconds when you’re halfway down.
Repeat this program three times.
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