Our Head of Health, Sport & PE, Mr Ben Allsop, has put together some tips on how to stay fit and active during this unprecedented time, including a circuit training routine you can try out at home.
Should I exercise during the pandemic?
Exercise can help manage stress, boost the immune system, and improve energy levels. However, it’s important to stay in tune with how your body is feeling and keep an eye on exercise load and intensity.
Overtraining and/or rapid increases in training volume can burden the immune system. It’s also important to listen to any symptoms that may arise. Typically, people with mild cold symptoms back off intensity and duration of exercise. In our current situation, in the event of any symptoms, I suggest that people be more cautious, rest, and consult with their doctor.
Can I exercise outside and still be socially distant?
In general the answer is yes – but is highly dependent on where you live. It all comes down to density. If it will be easy for you to avoid other people (a minimum of 1.5m apart) during your run or ride and there aren’t restrictions on your outdoor movements in place or a quarantine, then it’s generally safe to exercise outdoors.
For example, if your community backs up to a forest, rural or hilled area and there’s plenty of room to roam, then exercise as usual and give any passerbys a wide berth. This can be a time to get creative with exercise and facilitate a sense of play if forced to work out indoors. Try a new indoor strength routine, go up and down the stairs, or play indoor tag with kids. Viewing movement as exercise can help reframe how we structure our current routines.
What about mountain biking, surfing, rock climbing or other seasonal sports?
If you can do it within the parameters of keeping an appropriate distance from other people and minimizing your exposure to the virus, then you could engage, but engage carefully as now is the time to try to avoid an injury requiring medical attention or emergency services.
If I can’t exercise outside, what are my other options?
There are lots of activities you can do indoors and on your own. Now is the time to learn how to body-weight workout, give online Yoga a try, or dust off the trainer, rowing machines or treadmill. Free fitness apps such as STRAVA have lots of published fitness regimes you can follow, or you can follow a class for free on YouTube. Why not try a FITT session or give Pilates a go?
Did you know that Swan Christian College students and parents have access to 100+ Les Mills workout videos during the COVID-19 crisis? Visit the Living Well portal on SEQTA Engage or Learn to make use of this resource.
Any general advice about exercise and events right now?
Skip the high fives, don’t sweat on or near other people and be mindful of physical proximity to other exercisers while indoors or outdoors. Even if you are not in an at-risk group or feel healthy, taking precaution is needed–we have a duty to our athletic community and population at large to limit virus spread. Keeping an athletic perspective is helpful, too. Given that sports events are postponed or cancelled, this can be an opportunity to build the aerobic system, strengthen weaknesses, and come back stronger.
What can we do to support each other right now?
Across the world right now, we are almost all experiencing varying levels of fear, anxiety, and foundational shifts in our daily routines. It’s unprecedented, but it’s also a remarkable opportunity to support each other in our shared experiences. Think about it as practicing physical distancing as opposed to social distancing – be extra engaged when you can. Call your friends, give extra positive comments, support local businesses online, or tell someone you care about them. Every little action makes a difference as a collective athletic community.
Here is a simple circuit you can use at home with no equipment needed:
A T-push-up is a variation of the traditional push-up. Not only does it work your chest, but it also recruits your core muscles as well. Lie on your stomach with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes hip-width apart. In a steady motion, push yourself off the floor, tighten your abs and straighten your back. Slowly lower yourself down until your chest is within a fist-width of the floor, then push up and rotate your body to your left side. As you do this, raise your right arm straight in the air so your body forms a “T” shape. Carefully lower yourself back down and repeat going to your opposite side. Perform 15 to 20 reps. If you really want a challenge, extend your leg in the air as you come into the “T” position.
Reverse push-ups work your shoulders, chest, back and legs. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat and hands placed on the floor above your shoulders with your fingers facing your body. In a controlled motion, lift your hips off the floor and push them up while straightening your arms and legs. Your body should be in a curved position at this point. Once you have pushed as far as possible, slowly lower and repeat 15 to 20 times.
Bicycle crunches work your obliques, upper abs and lower abs simultaneously. Lie on your back with your legs lifted, knees bent and shins parallel to the floor. After placing your hands on the sides of your head, lift your shoulders off the floor so you are looking at your thighs. In a twisting motion, bring your left elbow and right knee toward each other as you extend your left leg out straight. After holding for a second, reverse the motion and bring your right elbow and left knee toward each other while extending your right leg. Continue to alternate back and forth for 15 to 20 repetitions.
Jack Knife Sit-ups
Jack knife sit-ups work your upper and lower abs. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. In a smooth motion, raise your shoulders and legs off the floor and tuck your knees into your chest. Slowly lower and repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions.
Supermans work your back, shoulders and glutes. Lie face-down with your arms extended in front of you and your legs straight. In a steady motion, lift your arms and legs off the floor as high as possible and pause for a second. Slowly lower and repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions.
Leaping lunges work your quads, hamstrings and glutes, and they are done in an explosive fashion. Stand with your right leg forward and left leg behind you in a staggered stance. Slowly descend toward the floor by bending both knees. Once your right thigh parallels the floor and your left knee is an inch above the floor behind you, jump in the air and switch your foot position. As soon as you land, do another lunge and leap again. Continue to alternate back and forth for 15 to 20 reps with each leg leading.
Burpees work every major muscle in your body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend down and place your hands on the floor outside your feet. In a fast motion, hop your feet behind your body, land on your toes and do a push-up. As soon as you come up, snap your feet forward and leap into the air as high as possible. While doing this, reach your arms straight above you. After you land, go right into another burpee and repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Mr Ben Allsop
Head of Health, Sport & PE
* We recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise. Swan Christian College is not a licensed medical care provider and has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities and assume all risk of injury to yourself.