Fitness

5 Things Lockdown Has Taught Me About Exercise

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I never thought I would say this, but I have fallen in love with exercise because of lockdown.

Like many other people, I’ve always had a bit of a rocky relationship with exercise. With PE lessons at school feeling like a punishment, or always seeing people fitter than you at the gym, it’s easy to feel intimidated. In my first year of university I went to a gym spin class thinking it would be fun. Instead, I spent the whole session panting and sweating like I never had before and wishing I’d stayed in my warm bed. I never went back. With all this, it can be hard to feel motivated to start exercising, but this is something lockdown has been good for. Exercising at home has been great because if you fall over whilst doing a side plank, nobody can see you!

So, here are five things that working out at home during lockdown has taught me:

There is an amazing sense of accomplishment.

  • Don’t worry, I’m not now the kind of person who gets excited to do ab exercises. They’re still torture! However, the feeling of achievement I experience afterwards is amazing and is what keeps me coming back for more. Even when I’m left panting on the floor at the end.

I can do so much more than I think I can.

  • I am fitter than I think I am, stronger than I think I am. Daily exercise has helped me to see which areas I’m good in and which I can improve on, whether these are specific exercises I struggle with or in a more general sense. I’ve learnt that the best thing is to always give it a go. Even when I think something is too hard, I can surprise myself. I think this is a great attitude to have and applies to more than just exercise.
Photo credit: Jonathan Borber (Unsplash)

I want to make the effort to exercise when I can.

  • Even leading a busy lifestyle (outside of lockdown) doesn’t need to stop me from doing something quick and convenient. Of course, lockdown has not been an easy time, so I would encourage you not to be too hard on yourself. Exercise is a great way to be present and gain mental clarity, but try not to let it become a source of stress or anxiety. Don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t allow your self-worth to be dictated by how long or how hard your workout was, it’s really not worth it.

Exercise can be fun.

  • If you’re not enjoying the workouts you’re doing, mix it up. Here’s a tip: when I did the Chloe Ting 2 week shred challenge (which you may well have heard of or tried yourself) I actually put the videos on mute after a few days and did the workouts along to my own music. Rocking out to my favourite upbeat tracks made the workouts go by so much quicker!

Exercise helps me to feel positive, calm and confident.

  • Doing some form of movement every day, be that a sweaty workout or a walk, has been so beneficial for both my mental and physical health during this uncertain time. I know that when I’m back at university it will be more difficult to find the time and space to exercise (I have quite a small bedroom), but doing daily exercise for the past few months has really helped me to establish a routine, as well as keeping me sane throughout lockdown.

I hope this has inspired you to get into exercise! Remember it doesn’t always need to be an intense workout, some days you may just want to do something gentle. Don’t forget to treat yourself either. Just listen to your body, do what works for you and you can’t go wrong. 

Written by Hope Elliott

Hope and Vicky are your lifestyle editors.

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