What about exercise, CDF & Covid-19?

Exercise & Covid-19

Sunrise in the park for regular Steppers (Step into Life – Kensington Gardens)

Some actions are just automatic, getting up at the crack of dawn to put your running shoes on so you can join your equally weird friends in the pitch black at the local park, is one.

I have been doing this now on and off for 9 years with Step into Life Kensington Gardens. A pandemic changes everything, including outdoor exercise. The reason outdoor fitness is popular is because by its very nature it’s done in nature, where you get fresh air, watch the sun rise or set, as the case maybe, have greater exposure to vitamin D, burn more calories due to temperature regulation especially in the cooler months.

Spiderman pushups are no easier on the grass!

Local indoor fitness centres and gyms are closing, shutting doors due to Government restrictions, in Australia that happens today 24th March 2020.

Yoga studios are moving in the same direction and moving to on-line virtual classes where your downward dog is likely shared with your dog or cat in the comfort of your own home.

Outdoor exercise in a public park in Australia is still open to everyone, it’s fast becoming a different story in New York where it is quoted “Of people who are carrying on life as usual, he said, “It is insensitive, arrogant, self-destructive, disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop, and it has to stop now.” #stopthespread

Keeping a 1.5m distance between clients

Here in Australia we can still enjoy group exercise as long as we follow the guidelines set out by the state and federal governments. Outdoor exercise is still permitted with self distancing measures being adhered, that is 1.5m between people.

This might explain why on my regular walk / run the other day there were considerably more people out on the oval exercising – the penny dropped, the gyms are shut and the PT’s have taken their clients “outside”.

I have always exercised, it is part of my DNA and I am pretty sure my fellow SIL (Steppers or Step into Life) friends are the same. Our outdoor exercise group not only provides physical activity but also much needed social interaction, mental support and general friendship bonds that become increasingly more difficult to forge as we age.

Recently there have been cancer diagnosis, house sales, house purchases, sick children the normalities of life and as an outdoor group we share these things and help each other through. It is really important whilst we physically ‘isolate’ to maintain good mental health practice, and for me that includes putting those running shoes on at the crack of dawn and meeting my group in the park.

So here are the rules for outdoor exercise, bring your own mat, exatube, weights and box gloves. Maintain a 1.5m distance from others and keep your waterbottle and personal belongings in a separate bag. Wash your hands before and certainly after your workout. Carry hand sanitiser and don’t share workout equipment.

You can maintain your exercise regime, and you can attend fitness classes outdoors. As they say in the army, just practice CDF. I’ll let you google that one.

Baby it’s cold outside…

Step into Life / Kensington Gardens – for more information: Here

Mid winter and we start to notice that our waistlines have thickened the days are shorter and the morning’s are dark. We have spent the majority of winter in heated offices, cars, supermarkets and eaten heavier foods and possibly consumed more red wine than we would in the warmer months. Who in their right mind goes out to exercise in this weather?

Well as it happens quite a few people, and if you are like me and you start to wonder how can I fit it all in, then you need to set the alarm at 5.15am to make that 6am class on the oval or have your workout gear with you and make the 6pm class after work. For the past few years I have worked from home. Working from home appeals to me on a number of levels but the number one reason I have for being a fan of the “work from home” office is that it allows you to fit in your hour exercise for the day relatively easily.

I’ve always been an early riser and I love exercising in the morning. After work is too hard for me. By about 4.30pm I am done, my brain doesn’t fire and I do my best work very early in the morning. I am also hungry and ready for dinner at 6pm so that rules out after work workouts for me.

Here are some tips to help you make that early start.

1. Always have your exercise gear ready to go. I have a special drawer which contains only my workout clothes summer and winter. Beanies, gloves, cycling gear, rainproof jackets. Keep it washed and clean. Straight back to that drawer – no messing around trying to find an outfit at 5am.

2. Have the right clothing to suit the season and the activity. I have lots of layers, lightweight and quick drying. The secret to cold mornings is layers and what is this aversion Australians have for wearing hats ! Wearing a warm beanie in the morning solves most of the “cold” problems. Invest in one and some warm gloves whilst you are at it.

3. Correct shoes for exercising. Running shoes for running and all rounder shoes for everything else.

4. I also have a “gym bag” that has my shower proof jacket, a set of outdoor gloves and a beanie. My water bottle is always full ready to go in the fridge.

Exercising outdoors has its health benefits, exercise and sunlight together can get your blood flowing, providing organs with much needed nutrients to give us energy, stave off the blues and trim the waistline. Working out outside can also increase your metabolism. Watching the sunrise is pretty awesome too.

Research has shown that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This is important particularly in winter when you are exposed to cold and flu bugs. It’s also important to maintain an exercise programme to ensure constant care and boosting to your immune system. Sharing breakfast or a coffee post workout is always a nice thing to do too.

Some days my group outdoor exercise group is the only time I leave the house in winter. I have been training with Step into Life (SIL) at Kensington Gardens now for 8 years. SIL provide all the encouragement I need to get out there and actually do some focused training. I was very unfit when I started and I remember that every muscle in my body hurt and it was good to have trainers there to not only monitor me but also encourage you to try different activities. After 8 years I have made some amazing friends and the group fitness focus means you have and get encouragment from the group as well as the trainers. So if you live in my area, contact Annki here to come and have a try.