Are you one of the many people that started a new fitness program during isolation? Living in lockdown has given us the perfect excuse to break the bondage of the house and find some freedom outdoors.
As I have researched the trends I have heard some interesting stories and offer some tips for making the most of getting fit post lockdown.
Pet ownership has reportedly doubled during this period. People at home have been craving some companionship and an exercise buddy. The physical benefits of walking the new pooch are obvious however, the mental health benefits are also significant.
Animal shelters, such as the RSPCA, have all seen an increase in adoptions. They have, however, warned that owners need to continue to keep their best friends (and themselves) healthy post-covid restrictions. Pets are for life not an impulse buy.
Bike sales have risen by over 70%. Cycling around the local bike path is a great way to get fit, relax and see your neighbourhood. An advantage is that this exercise does not load up your joints like running does and therefore has less chance of lower limb injuries.
In saying this, if you are riding a bike, correct fit is essential. There are a host of stories of people buying ill-fitting bikes and causing themselves grief. Your local bike shop can help set you up with the correct size bike and position.
With more people riding, people are also needing to have their bike serviced. That bike you have been storing at the back of the shed won’t love you when you pull it out of hibernation and expect it to function without a service.
There are a ton of local bike shops but if you are in outer eastern Melbourne: https://www.facebook.com/christheupcycler/
Once you are nicely set up and your bike is spinning, find your local rides here:
Getting out of the house for a walk, jog or run has been one of the easiest ways to beat the isolation blues and increase your fitness. Everyone has a local park or footpath that can lead them on a new adventure. However, the data is starting to show a spike in people with lower leg injuries as unfit bodies are thrust into a heavy walking program.
While normally a gym can spread the workload around the body, walking or running loads up the legs and lower back. And without your physio or masseur to help ease the pain this has been a problem for many.
The secret is to build up gradually. This means increasing your weekly volume no more than 10% per week. Also, trying to avoid too many hills early in your program as these can load up your calves and shins.
The other tip is to invest in some quality running shoes. More money does not equal better shoes, as each individual has different needs from a shoe. The best bet is to find a footwear store that includes some basic gait analysis and has a range of shoes that will serve your specific needs.
There is a lot of talk about “making the most” of your lockdown. A new fitness program is a perfect legacy. And with a little preparation there are a host of options for getting you healthier and happier for the end of this unusual year.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html