Me, myself & exercise: Keeping active during COVID-19

[Written on: 3rd April 2020]

Establishing a daily exercise routine will have many benefits from the obvious long term physical effects to a beneficial impact on our emotional health. Health Psychologist Katrin Hulme gave the following evidence-based tips to get exercise into our daily routine.

I hope you’ll find them useful…

Stay well. Emma

Begin with asking and answering these four questions:

  1. What aspect of physical fitness would you like to focus on? For example is it aerobic fitness or strength or flexibility. Write it down and make some goals that will help you stay on track; for flexibility it might be as simple as doing 5 minutes of yoga stretches per day building to 10 minutes by the end of the month…
  2. When will you do this activity? Decide on a time that you will commit to doing the activity, think about if you are a morning person? Or when the kids are in bed might be the only time! Planning a time and writing it in a diary or planner will increase your chances of doing the activity.
  3. Where will you do the activity? Dedicate a space inside the house/garden to do the activity. Prepare the space ahead of the day you want to start doing your activity. Ideally if you can have the equipment ready for use, it will help with motivation on those days when you just don’t feel like it!
  4. Why have you decided to do the activity? Being clear on your ‘why’ is likely to support the behaviour. Be clear about why doing this activity and making an effort with your physical activity is important to you. Is it to boost your energy or mood? to improve your overall fitness? Writing this down has been shown to improve keeping to commitments we make.

Other tips for ensuring you get to do your daily exercise:

  • create cues to remind you to do your physical activity; post-it notes on the fridge etc!
  • layout your workout clothes the night before
  • block out time in your diary for your daily exercise
  • planning ahead – if the weather changes do you have a plan B to ensure you can still do some exercise?
  • Rewards – it’s important to acknowledge that you are making the effort to look after yourself.
  • Find an exercise buddy; studies show that if we have social support it helps us to stay motivated. You could buddy with a friend via Whatsapp to check in each day or enlist the help of the people you live with!

[from Maintaining health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic: Lecture series, Kings College London]

Resources: I have been sent by colleagues at Public Health, a list of on-line resources for well-being. If anyone would like a copy, please email me and I will send to you.

Next week…I will be focusing on sleep and ways to promote good sleep during this difficult time.




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