1. Maintain Muscle Strength
Did you know that after just two weeks of being inactive, we lose 25 per cent of our muscle mass? It is so important to practice strength exercises daily and incorporate them into our daily routine. It is also important to break up long periods spent sitting – try marching on the spot during the ad breaks on television or walking around the house when on the phone to a family member.
Try the following strengthening exercises, brought to you by Karen from Heart 2 Heart:
2. Cardiovascular Training Benefits
Did you know that older adults need to work on their cardiovascular fitness at least 2-3 times weekly? It is important to be achieving the recommended amount of cardiovascular training weekly – for adults this is 150 minutes. By doing this, you are reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia while also having positive effects on your weight management.
3. Blood Pressure and Blood Glucose Levels
A structured exercise programme has positive effects on blood pressure and can lead to a 10-mmHg reduction in blood pressure measurements. Exercise also improves your body’s ability to utilise insulin, meaning improved blood sugar levels.
4. Boost your Mood
Taking care of our mind and mental health is particularly important when we are cocooning. Lack of physical contact with loved ones and loneliness can have negative impacts on mental health, so it is important we look after our minds. The good news is that cardiovascular exercise causes a release of hormones called endorphins and enkephalins. These are all brain chemicals which are associated with feelings of happiness and confidence.
5. Maintain Social Interactions
Try to stay connected with others as much as possible. Using technology such as WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom can help you to feel close to those you have been missing. Or why not use this time to reconnect with an old friend. Many online classes are available at present, and Heart 2 Heart are delighted to offer weekly online cardiovascular sessions on Zoom. Classes are fun and interactive, and upcoming online courses are available to book here.
6.Working from Home
It is estimated that Irish people spend on average 5.3 hours sitting each workday. If you are working from home or at a desk, take a moment to assess your desk space and ensure your set up is one that will optimise your health and productivity. Sitting for long periods of time obviously means the body is deprived of exercise. There is also a greater tendency to snack even when you are not necessarily hungry – this can leave us feeling sluggish and low on energy. Be sure to watch your posture. If you are working from home, you may want to consider purchasing a chair that provides proper support for your lower back.
7. Remember to Stretch
Doing some basic stretches can help reduce tension and stress in your muscles, as long periods sitting can cause our large muscle groups to contract and shorten. You should stretch from your chair every half hour, try the following stretches throughout the day:
Seated Hamstring Stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat every half hour.
Neck stretch/Shoulder shrugs. Raise the shoulders up to your ears slowly and relax back down fully, lengthening the space between your ear and shoulder. Repeat 20 times every hour.
8. Structure your day
Many have found that cocooning has really disrupted their daily routing over the last couple of months. Aim to build a routine that works for you while at home and includes dedicated time for exercise. When you get up in the morning, get dressed into clothes and footwear which are suitable for exercising and being active during the day. Try making a realistic to do list at the start of the day to ensure productivity and satisfaction when it is complete.