When lockdown came into effect in March, it was to protect everyone’s physical health from an immediate risk of the Coronavirus. After months of being inside without access to daily routines and gyms, physical & mental health can be impacted & it’s important that we try to not let this be for the long term. Whether you’re someone who has always regularly exercised and been fit as a fiddle or whether you’re someone who tends to not work out on a regular basis, being so sedentary has an impact on most of us as even those who werent very active in other ways such as walking to work or around the office. Daily physical activity wasn’t obvious, but it is noticeable now it is gone.
The most obvious physical impact is weight gain as it is something that can physically be seen. I’ve seen so much trolling online where people are pulling others apart for gaining a little lockdown weight and I really don’t think these people understand the devastating impact this can have on someones mental health. None of us have had to deal with anything like this before and really, the important thing is that we get through it. Everyone copes with situations in different ways and some end up eating through boredom or feeling down. Less daily physical activity combined with boredom eating can lead to weight gain and for some this can be an issue for them, for others it’s not. Gaining and losing weight is essentially a case of calories in vs calories out but if it was that easy, no one would struggle with their weight on either side of the scale. I heard a quote once that said something along the lines of, if food isn’t the problem, eating isn’t the solution and it’s something I’ve often reminded myself of over the years, including during lockdown, as I’m someone who has massively struggled with comfort eating in the past. I found that during the first couple of weeks of lockdown, I was falling into old habits, eating an excess of snacks that I usually wouldn’t and having no routine with my life, which impacted my food too. After those couple of weeks, I thought, enough as enough. This is the way things are going to be for a while now so I need to get my routine back and get back to normal. I started planning my day out, having regular meal times and factoring in my 1 hour walk for exercise each day. The regularity with meal times helped me to intuitively eat again, just when I was hungry and the regular sleep, exercise and work routine helped me to keep everything on track. If you’re still self isolating and struggling, I’d really suggest looking at your routine as a starting point.
Back and Neck Problems.
This newfound sedentary lifestyle can result in back and neck pain, especially if we’re not used to working from home and don’t have an ideal set up so are hunched over our laptops on the sofa. Whether you’re working from home or spending extra hours on the sofa in front of the television catching up on all those Netflix series you’re usually too busy to watch, you can be at risk of neck & lower back pain. Try to get up and moving regularly (I drink a lot of water while I’m sitting so that I have to get up to go to the toilet more frequently!) and if you’re still struggling, you could visit a chiropractor once they’re open. You can check out the Connective Chiropractic Blog for more tips.
Less physical activity can result in loss of muscle definition. If you’re someone who loves lifting weights at the gym or regularly lifts heavy objects at work, you could look to invest in some dumbbells or kettlebells to use at home or you could even use objects around the home for your at home work outs such as big bottles of water, which are cheaper and easier to get a hold of at this time.
Bodies physically changed during the lockdown. The lockdown created the perfect atmosphere for pain. If the changes are left unchecked, they can cause health problems further on down the line. The best place to start getting back to normal is to relieve the pain and physical tension caused by a sedentary lifestyle. It only took a few months to throw bodies out of shape.
Many people are experiencing sleep problems at the moment. An increase in the amount of time available and no set routine has resulted in extra time in bed or late nights and long lie ins with all routine going to pot . Add in the stress of a deadly pandemic and economic instability and it is the perfect cocktail for nightmares and vivid dreams. Tossing and turning in bed at night can result in muscle tension, feeling down and exhausted. Again, setting yourself a proper routine and winding down will help you with this. I’m really focusing on going to bed and getting up at the same time, there or there abouts, everyday and I’m actively trying to give myself some time to switch off and chill before bed. I work so much that I often work right up until the moment I switch my bedroom lamp off and I know that isn’t good for me as it leads to mental and physical exhaustion. I’m really trying to break this habit.
So far, I’ve really found lockdown to be the making of me. I’ve been so successful career wise as I’ve needed to be industrious and diversify but I’ve also done so well with getting regular exercise, starting the couch to 5k and cooking nutritious meals. Now I just need to crack the wind down before bed and I will class this time as a win. Ultimately though, as long as we all come out of this time safe, well and with our health, then we’ve won. In whatever way that looks to us as individuals. Remember, no one else’s opinion on your body matters but your own; protect your mental health at all costs.