Home exercising keeps you fit and banishes lockdown blues

Let’s face it. There’ve been days during the Covid-19 lockdown when we were tempted to curl up on the couch with a bag of chips to binge-watch TV shows.

While gyms, parks and fitness centres are closed and movement outside is limited, home exercising has become all the rage. Not only does it get the endorphins going, it ultimately makes a significant difference to your mental health.

This is according to Cindy Gerber and Janet Chalmers, two super-fit staffers from the Vanderbijlpark Campus. Their message is simple: yes, you can keep fit and fight the lockdown blues at home.

Keep moving!

Janet, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, hits her home gym on average six days a week for two and half hours at a time.

Her routine consists of cardio (running and cycling), high-intensity interval training (HITT) and weight training. After an iliac artery operation in January, she also gives special attention to her stomach muscles and does four abdominal muscle sessions during the week.

Cindy, a senior administrative assistant at Technical Services, is an avid CrossFit athlete, so her routine mostly consists of high-impact sessions.

She starts her training off by running between three and five kilometres. Cindy’s gym instructor then goes online to facilitate each day’s exercises. All the participants’ times go up on an online leader board so that they can compare with each other.

The importance of keeping fit

Janet says: “Exercise is part of who I am. It doesn’t define me, but it adds to my character, just as much as having a relationship with God and being a mom and a lecturer form part of who I am. I also believe that it is a sign of discipline, determination, persistence and self-love”.

According to Cindy, keeping healthy is very important considering her family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and muscular dystrophy. “Exercise offers me a constructive release of energy and keeps me focused on my health goals,” she adds.

Exercising during lockdown

Both Janet and Cindy agree that exercising during the lockdown period has been challenging, but that a positive mind-set has helped them to manage their frustration.

“I felt a lot like a hamster in a cage while on level 5,” laughs Janet, adding that running around her house countless times felt “strange” at first. She eventually overcame the feeling, and completed a Two Oceans virtual half marathon in her garden.

Cindy adds that finding the right equipment also posed a challenge.

Virtual challenges up the excitement

Living in lockdown has meant finding new ways to work out, keep moving and stay fit. Both Janet and Cindy take part in various virtual fitness challenges.

During level 5 of the lockdown, Janet completed the following virtual challenges: Two Oceans virtual 21,1-km race, a virtual Ironman 5150, a virtual Ironman Sprint, the Strava virtual 5-km home run and a 10-km Social Distancing home run.

Cindy takes part in virtual Pound Sessions. Pound fitness is a combination of cardio and weight training exercises that include some of the rhythmic techniques used in Pilates.

Take it from Janet and Cindy, the lockdown is no excuse to stop working out and keeping fit. Be it cardio, strength training, weightlifting, yoga or meditation, now is the time to remain active.

An inactive lifestyle is not sensible in the long run; in fact, it can adversely affect your health and cause unwanted weight gain.