May 22, 2020, by Charlotte Gauja
Challenging the typical view of Health and Fitness
What comes to mind when you hear or read the words health and fitness? If it is setting some time aside to do repetitive movements with high intensity, getting sweaty, out of breath and tired, you wouldn’t be wrong. Read more as Fitness Instructor, Bharat, challenges our typical view of health and fitness.
Maybe dedicating a block of time out of your day to do a specific workout just is not motivating for you, or achievable for your lifestyle, or not where you are right now. That’s okay. It’s not to say you can’t get there by making gradual changes over time, but maybe right now during lockdown the focus ought to be on what does suit you to keep you fit and healthy.
It is important we understand what the words health and fitness mean too, and how they relate to us as individuals. Health can be defined as the state of being free from illness and injury. Meanwhile, fitness concerns overall wellbeing and suitability to perform tasks, encompassing:
- physical fitness
- mental fitness
- medical fitness
- social fitness
- nutritional fitness
- emotional fitness
- spiritual fitness (core values)
These combine to form what we can call ‘total fitness’, how we prioritise them will be different for each individual. While they have an interconnected relationship with one another, it is clear to see there’s more to fitness than intense physical exercise. With that said, below are some reminders of ways you can stay fit and healthy, which can easily slot into and have a positive impact on your lifestyle in lockdown and beyond.
The research is never concrete on the food:exercise ratio in terms of which is more effective helping us reach our fitness goals. What is certain though, is both are important. Most of us now have more time than we did pre-lockdown, which makes it a great opportunity to experiment with cooking from fresh, rather than relying on food on the go. Having nutritional structure makes it more likely that we’ll get all the good vitamins and minerals we need to physically and mentally function and thrive on a daily basis. The act of preparing, cooking and serving food also keeps our minds and bodies moving without really thinking we are doing any designated activity.
Our bodies are built to move with efficiency, but we tend to spend more time sedentary – sitting and laying down – than we ought to. While the impact may not be immediate, over time, this can result in a lot muscular tightness around the hips, back and shoulders which can cause problems with posture.
If you are required to sit for long periods at a time, remember to sit proudly with the head high, bringing your workspace to eye level so you don’t drop your chin. Keep your shoulders back and don’t sink into the hips. Try and set yourself a challenge to get up move around every 30-60 minutes to promote consistent blood circulation as well as mental alertness.
Walk or Cycle
While this is physical fitness, it need not be treated as a regimented workout. Walking or cycling can be as leisurely and short as necessary and can help break up the day from screen-dominant settings and artificial light. You can also simply walk or cycle while completing other tasks or travelling from one place to another. Changing your environment and reconnecting to more natural green spaces has been found to have a benefit to mental health and wellbeing too.
At Home Projects
Clearing out old belongings, gardening, renovating your living space, building something new, daily chores; can be a great way to keep on top of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness. Having a project or goal to set our focus on keeps our minds and bodies stimulated. The constant movement required for home projects can easily keep multiple muscle groups engaged and active, promoting joint health and strength if performed with care.
It is easy to dwell on the past or worry about an uncertain future, but the present is all there is right now. Take time to be with yourself and try to avoid becoming overwhelmed by news, entertainment, information etc… by switching off from screen and auditory media occasionally. Be adaptable to the times and focus on keeping yourself healthy, appreciating what you have, rather than being concerned about what’s not there.
Staying connected to our families, friends and communities is essential for social fitness, but be mindful to keep a balance and understand what we want and need.
If remaining fit and healthy seems a bit distant from your needs at times, remember there are many ways you can look after your health and fitness. Bring your wellbeing to the forefront of your lifestyle without always feeling the need to drastically change how you live. Find the methods that resonate with you, you may just discover a connection to your health and fitness unique and beneficial to you.
Check out UoNSport’s Health and Wellbeing Home to explore our inclusive offer of health and fitness to try whilst you are in lockdown.