What we learned from lockdown
As the pandemic is coming to an end in many parts of the world, I’m sure we are mostly excited. These have been hard times for many and especially our fitness. As gyms and many sports and recreation clubs are closed, many of us have no means of doing our usual workouts and are left looking for home workouts or trying something new. As we are going to be able to return to gyms and sports soon it would be god to sit back and have a thing about what we have learned from this pandemic and what you may have found out about yourself that you did not know before. As you have been out of your comfort zone many of us have had to adapt to our circumstances and we can learn a lot by just changing the way we do things. If you are wondering what possible lessons this lockdown had taught you then read on as we are sharing a few lessons the pandemic has given on our fitness.
Exercise has a big affect on mental health
One of the first things I’m sure many of us had probably noticed a few weeks into the pandemic is that regular exercise has a great effect on mental health and can make you feel down if you aren’t regularly active. Being regularly active acts as a stress relief which can lower your risk of depression and elevate your mood. Exercising also releases endorphins in your brain that can also boost self esteem and make you feel more confident in yourself. Doing regular exercise also gives you goals to work towards which also keeps you motivated and driven.
There are also mental health problems that are caused by the results of not exercising regularly. Its well known that regular exercise helps to burn fat, but if we cannot workout then we are going to end up storing more fat. This can cause body image issues and decrease self-esteem in an individual. Also, if you see all the muscles you worked so hard getting waste away then this will also cause you to be unmotivated and can elevate stress. So, one lesson of the pandemic is that regular exercise is not just good for physical health but can also help you mentally.
Always have a back-up plan
With lockdown restrictions being released all of a sudden it caught many of us by surprise. When the gyms closed their doors many people where left not knowing what to do with themselves or how to get a workout in. Well, we can stop the twiddling your thumbs and wandering what to do as you should have made a backup plan. A workout backup plan is something that you can put into place to ensure you still are engaging in exercise even when gyms are closed and will come on handy in the future is things take an unexpected turn and gyms suddenly have to close again.
A backup plan will most likely consist of things and exercises you may not be used to doing. For example, if you lift weights in the gym then doing calisthenics (body weight exercises) outside is something that is likely going to be new to you. There are benefits of changing what you do as it gives your body a chance to train other muscles, making them bigger and stronger. After a while your muscles also get used to certain movements making them less effective at forming micro tears in your muscle meaning they aren’t benefiting you like before.
Importance of diet
We all knew that diet was important to staying health and in shape, however many of us soon found out the true importance of diet and how a bad diet can lead to all of your progress to go and the pounds to pile on. As its likely that we aren’t training as much as we used to, we need to make sure we have altered our diets so we don’t gain any unwanted weight. One way you could have done this is by lowering your calorie or carb intake as this is the main cause of fat stores in the body and carbohydrates are notorious for making us gain weight in a short time. Normally as we are exercising and more active the effects of our diet can go unknown for a while and we can afford not to be as strict.
Your diet also has a big effect on your mental health and a poor diet can lead to mental disorders. As we spent a lot of time at home with not much to do, eating likely increased which can cause bad habits like binge eating. Also, the junk food does not contain the nutrients that whole, fresh food does and as a result isn’t as nutritious and can deprive your brains of the nutrients it needs. This can affect how you think and mood, which may have been a reason for being so grouchy during lockdown.
Getting fit at home is possible
Over this long period, we have been at home, I hope that many of you fitness enthusiasts or athletes have found out that you don’t need a gym to make gains. There are many bodyweight exercises and home workouts you can do to increase your muscle mass and burn fat. You also may have invested in some home gym equipment that will always come in handy just in case gyms ever close down in the future. This was also a chance to try different forms of training that you may have not done before. This builds your own experience as well as giving your muscles a chance to try something else which breaks them out of their usual routine.
Although you can still gain some muscle and get a good workout at home, it may not be as effective as the gym due to a lack of equipment and the environment. However, although your progress may have slowed down, you are always going to make progress if you’re training right and this is good enough. As we all know when it comes to changing our bodies the progress is slow, but this isn’t any reason to give up. As the famous saying goes, “good things come to those that wait”.
Change is good
Many people have been forced to venture out of their usual training routine lately and this was probably for the good. This gives you the opportunity to see if there are any other forms of training you enjoy doing and gives you ides for your training schedule for when you go back to the gym. For example, instead of going for a run after doing weight training you may decide to do some HIIT training instead. Finding new workouts is always good as after a while the movements you are doing become less effective as your muscles get used to the movement and no longer find it challenging.
Changing your style of working out also opens opportunities for after lockdown as you may join clubs and go to places you did not before. Here you can see people with similar interests and make new friends. As humans are very social animals its only natural that we socialise and interact with other people. If you’re looking to meet new people, then there are many things like team sports or sports clubs you can join to interact with people with similar interests.
Working out alone can be boring
As we have all probably found out during this lockdown, working out alone can get boring if you are used to training with a partner. Having a training partner benefits you in many ways and can keep you motivated. Also, as someone else is also relying on you then you’re less likely to miss a workout, which means more gains for you. You will also in general have more fun working out with someone else and you can talk and have a good time while making some gains. You can also introduce some friendly competition between the two of you which will push your further.
When you’re going at something alone, you’re also more likely to quit. This is why home workouts soon become boring as it wasn’t the environment you were used to, and you weren’t around the people you usually train with. Having a partner also offers mental benefits as stress and anxiety are relieved when you’re around people you are familiar with. It can also stop feeling of isolation and depression as your still meeting friends and having a good time.
Overall, this lockdown has been a pretty sad time for all of our gains and fitness levels. However, we can reflect on these times and find out what we have learned from these times. We can also prepare just in case something like this ever happens again. So, although the lockdown has been hard on fitness, we can still take something away from it. We can apply these lessons to many things not just a lockdown. For example when gyms close for holidays we now know how to keep fit at home as we have had to do it during lockdown but now we have the advantage as we already know what works for us.