Tips on managing food and fitting in exercise in lockdown
Being confined home for a long time has had its good sides. For instance, we have had more time to devote to ourselves, more time to do all the things that for too many commitments we had always postponed but with so much time often comes boredom and unnecessary trips to the fridge! Below are some simple and practical tips to better manage your physical and mental well-being with food and exercise keeping you balanced, especially in this delicate time.
Try to stay dynamic while you are forced to spend all your time at home, sometimes keeping moving can become challenging but staying on the move makes you feel better and stops boredom that will help stop your frequent fridge trips. If you are back at work and can’t fit a long walk in to your day try to keep on moving by standing up for 3 minutes every 30 minutes spent in a sedentary position. This simple strategy, whose benefits on blood pressure have been scientifically tested, keeps our metabolism active. It is also beneficial to keep working out. If you haven’t already and the times work for you then try one of the virtual classes live via zoom. If not, then try one of our YouTube videos, Les Mills workouts (30-day free trial, remember to cancel if you don’t want to continue) or Technogym workouts via the Roehampton Club Gym and Studios App from the app store on your mobile device. Put a time in your diary for these as you are then more likely to commit to it.
A lot of my clients have asked me if it is worth reducing calories during this period of less daily movement. Limiting to a simple reduction of number of calories without considering the quality of the food we put on our plate, can primarily increase the feeling of hunger. Which in turn will then make you search for sugar-based foods as energy levels will be low, meaning these foods will go to fat stores, which means a loss of muscle tone and strength and so ultimately slow your metabolism. At the same time, this will increase in the hormone cortisol, more commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’ which could have a negative impact on our immune system. In short, not what we would like in this unprecedented period. So, I would recommend planning your meals and allowing yourself healthy snacks rather than counting calories. Snacks allow us to get to the next meal not too hungry and help to maintain a certain glycaemic stability with many benefits like mental efficiency, satiety and maintenance of physical fitness. Ryvita with hummus, fruit and a handful nuts are examples of these.
Lastly, try to relax and make time for you. Now more than ever we will all struggle with some level of anxiety. As with daily diet and workout, it is also necessary to restore a balance to your life. Thinking Positive, meditation, self-talk techniques, journaling are all scientifically recognised methods to achieve a balance that can help with physical and mental wellbeing, thus helping in reducing negative stress. Also try to disconnect from the virtual world by switching off devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, etc that emit bright lights at least one hour before going to bed in order to promote optimal and quality of sleep at night. The latter, in fact, together with daily nutrition and physical activity, is a valuable tool that has a positive impact on our well-being, helping to reduce things like depression and so boosting our immune system.