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Do’s and Don’ts for smashing your fitness goals during lockdown

My name is Rita, I’m the Marketing Manager for Parliament Hill. I have always had an athletic body type, so I’ve never been motivated to exercise regularly. However, once I hit my thirties, my physique began to reflect my sedentary lifestyle.

This inspired me to start taking my health and fitness more seriously and I noticed that exercising regularly had a profound effect on my own happiness. These are the lessons from my fitness journey, I hope you find them useful.

DO

  • Do use your surroundings to your benefit - Utilising the space is your first step on your fitness journey. From walking up the stairs to skipping in the garden, 30 minutes is all you need to get your heart pumping. If you’re limited on space, here are my favourite moves to get you started*:
  • Push ups –  This classic overall upper body workout targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominal muscles. Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, straighten your arms and legs; lower your body as far as you can go, pause, then push yourself back up. The idea is to work towards having your chest an inch off the floor. Aim for 10 and build your way up to 50. If you’re struggling to get one, don’t worry you can always bring your knees to the floor and push down from there.
  • Plank – If this is the only exercise you do, you’re winning. It is widely regarded as the best overall bodyweight toning exercise you can do. Rest on your elbows and toes, keeping your back and legs straight. This move targets your abdominals, back and shoulders muscles. Aim for 30 seconds to start and keep adding on 10 seconds each time.
  • Squats – The king of lower bodyweight exercises, this move targets your legs, glutes, back and abdominal muscles. Keep your back straight, feet slightly turned out. Drop your seat to knee height. Do three sets of 8. Make sure your knees don’t go over your toes.
  • Do take your time – Remember the story of the hare and the tortoise? Slow and steady is the key to success. This could be running to the next lamppost or stretching that bit further in your online yoga class.
  • Do keep your distance – If you’re going outside to exercise, make sure keep a distance of 2 metres from others. 
  • Do make a plan – Make it measurable, achievable, specific and time-bound. Set a series of small goals instead of one big goal, then work on them one at a time. 
  • Do mix it up – Variety is the spice of life and it will be essential to your training. YouTube has loads of routines you can do at home. The best thing to do to watch the video first before you join in. Nailing the form is crucial so you stay injury free.
  • Do give yourself a reward – If you’ve smashed a personal best, it’s time to celebrate with a treat.

DON’T

  • Don’t push yourself too hard - It’s one thing to ache from a long run or completing a bodyweight session, but pain is different. Pain isn’t a normal feeling when exercising, so if you’re in pain… stop!
  • Don’t go it alone – Sign up a buddy to help keep you motivated. You don’t have to exercise together, but having someone who you can be accountable to is a big motivator. Plus, it’s another excuse to stay in touch.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you let things slip – I’m a perfectionist, so this was the hardest challenge for me. But you can overcome it. Remember your goal, this is about you and no one else. You can get back on track.

Lockdown has provided us with an opportunity to change things for the better. Now is the time to start your fitness journey and improve your wellbeing.  Stay healthy, stay safe.

* If you have never participated in regular exercise, please consult a doctor before performing any of the exercises in this blog.

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