What does the new lockdown mean for gyms and for health?

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

New lockdown rules mean that gyms will be closing from 5/11/2020 until at least the 2/12/2020. This is an important measure the government has taken to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus and the deaths and strain on health services that would result if the measure were not taken.

Over Autumn and Winter exercising outside may not be convenient during very bad weather. It is still important to be able to maintain or even improve ones physical health, cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, strength and bone health. Approximately 70% of people do not do enough physical activity to benefit their health leading to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. If more people reduce their physical activity levels dramatically there are likely to be higher levels of chronic diseases which place even more strain on individuals and health services over time.

At the moment the immediate risk of contracting Covid-19 outweighs the risk of the consequences of reducing physical activity levels; after all people can take the responsibility of still exercising at home or outdoors as local and national lockdown rules permit. However the 70% figure is there for many reasons and changing our physical activity behaviour can be challenging.

There are a few consistent reasons people tend to give why they do not increase or maintain enough physical activity for health; these can now compounded by fears about Covid-19. One of these is not having the time. But we can now look for the positives out of what can appear a very gloomy time. For example if we are spending more time working from home then we might be saving up to an hour or longer travelling to and from work. Since "not having enough time" is a major reason people give for not being physically active, this time can now be used to adopt a new physical activity programme. Adopting a new programme now could kick start ones health in a new direction for the future. Managing weight, increasing strength and fitness, maintaining bone mineral density and improving physical and mental well being are all benefits of increasing physical activity.

I encourage everyone to stay positive, look at what you can do rather than what you can't. If we are in a lockdown situation and we can't do anything about it focus on what you can do. If the weather's fine take a brisk walk for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. If you struggle with mobility how about chair exercises. Use what equipment you have e.g. water bottles/cans for weights and stairs (hey people use stair climbing machines in gyms and you might have your own stairs at home:-). You can DIY or you can find live online classes and private sessions if you need help with instruction and motivation. You don't have to use mine (but I'd love it if you did:-):-) just find something you enjoy, be active and stay healthy.

All the best,

Suzanne McCollum

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