There are enough ways to get moving during this lockdown, from going for a run to group classes on Zoom and tutorials on IGTV and YouTube. But if you’re still a beginner, or have injuries, some of the workouts might be too high-impact, particularly if you don’t have a pro to correct your form as you work out.
Why walking is beneficial for your health and metabolism
“Because of the lockdown, people are simply moving from their bed to a chair and a sofa,” says fitness expert and health coach Deanne Panday. “All this sitting will tighten your hip flexors as you get accustomed to a certain posture and can then lead to lower back pain, postural issues and sciatic pain,” she says. A great way to reduce this? Walk more, even just at home. Walking activates a variety of muscles in the body, and regular walking helps offload your body weight and pressure off the knees and hips.
Walking is good for your mental health too, which is what makes it even more important while under lockdown. “All the uncertainty about the future and he monotony of being stock at home has lead to an increase in anxiety among people. Walking releases endorphins and that makes you happy. So it’s good to clear your mind and calm you down too as it makes you less anxious,” says Panday.
Simple ways to add walking in your daily routine
Because we are sequestered inside, physical activity sees a major drop. When added to the change in diet, the lack of movement can cause issues like hypertension, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. “The idea is to stay active. Every 20 minutes, walk around the house. This will give your body some movement and get the blood flowing to the joints. Walking also activates the glutes as you need your those muscles for various lower body movements,” confirms fitness coach Sohrab Khushrushahi. He adds that it is important to mobilise your joints and muscles to avoid injury. Khushrushahi suggests that you could alternate between a brisk walk, and slow down, and pick up the pace and even slow jog around the house. If you lack space, just walk or jog on the spot and then combine it with other workouts in case you wish to intensify. “Even if you walk for two minutes after every hour, it combines to at least 30 minutes of walking through the day,” he says.
Panday says that walking is a great aerobic exercise that heats up your body when the joints get moving and can help you with osteopenia, osteoporosis, and work on your bone density. The easiest way to start walking is to walk when you are on a call or even when you are watching something on your phone or TV. “Walk wherever you are permitted to. You could walk up and down the stairs of your building, or pace around the house. Or just get up and walk when you finish watching an episode of any show,” says Panday. Khushrushahi suggests that you could use apps to set a reminder for yourself to walk often.
“If your knees permit, mix skipping with walking. You could skip, walk a bit and jump and do the routine again. This will activate your glutes, and get your lower body and calf muscles involved. It’s a great aerobic exercise and is good for your heart,” recommends Khushrushahi. For those who love yoga, Panday recommends the ‘walk the dog’ move. “We always step into a downward dog as part of different postures. What you could do is walking into a downward dog and hold the pose. You could also walk back into the pose. Combine this with different postures to make walking more intense,” says Panday.
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