Lockdowns might have been a great opportunity to get fit, but it’s not that simple.
MIWorking from home, home-schooling, comfort eating, getting overwhelmed and feeling exhausted threw routines out of the window, and now you’re left wondering on how to get back on track. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.University College London tracked 70,000 people during lockdown, revealing 40 per cent exercised less during the most recent lockdown compared with earlier ones, with only 13 per cent of people exercising more now. Clearly, the more inactivity the greater the impact on your overall fitness. But if you managed to get outdoors on dailywalks, you will have maintained some aerobic fitness.
Another study shows muscle strength and flexibility can start to waste within two days of inactivity, and reducing daily steps from 10,500-1,300 for two weeks induced the loss of leg muscle mass in healthy adults. But it’s not all gloomy, the pandemic has made us slow down and perhaps become more aware of our emotions and how to best regulate them. Now is a good time to start choosing exercise which fits your mood. Mood-based exercise is a thing and could actually enhance your overall wellbeing.
While there’s tonnes of information on how various exercises help your mind and body, there’s little about what workout is right for your mood. Mood dictates movement. And moodbased exercise is simple – you choose workouts based on how you are feeling on that day. Engaging in exercise which fits your current mood allows you to get the best out of your workout because you can perform with your full attention, and most importantly to what your body and mind need in that moment. As much as I love the quiet calm of yoga or amindful walk, there are times when my mood needs boosting. Like many, my go-to exercise for an endorphin pick-me-up is a high intensity workout like battle ropes, weights, cycling or running.
That said, high intensity exercise can exacerbate stress. So, it’s important to balance high intensity workouts with low impact ones. Perhaps the best way to do this is to let your mood dictate what exercise feels right for you in the moment, which gives you the opportunity to create a mindbody connection and enjoy the experience by taking pressure off.
Whether you’re feeling tired, anxious, stressed or full of energy, the point is to choose physical activity that aligns with your emotions. This beautiful concept is a great way to become more selfaware, which gives added psychological benefits to physical ones, especially in stressful times.
If you are struggling to find motivation to exercise or feeling stressed, perhaps consider a lowintensity option like yoga, a gentle bike ride or a mindful walk which gives you that feel-good slow energy boost by calming stress hormones. And if you’re feeling energetic, why not pound those pavements on a run.
With more people concerned about their health, fitness experts agree that mood-based exercise is the way forward. And let’s be honest, surely, it’s healthier and far more fun to choose exercise that is right for you in any moment rather than going to a gym class because it’s on the timetable?
Follow Mita Mistry on www.twitter.com/mitamistry or visit www.mitamistry.co.uk