This blog was written by Amber, an Exercise Physiology student and one of Beyond's English tutors.
Let’s be honest, this lockdown has dragged on for a lot longer than we anticipated. We all thought when the new outbreak began we’d be back to the large crowds and multiple outings in 2 weeks. Now 2 months in and restrictions extended until September, there’s no doubt your mental and physical health has suffered.
Staying slumped in your pj’s all week and forgetting what day it is, is not the way to increase your motivation to study. You might also be sick of taking that daily walk that doesn’t seem to remind you of anything besides how unfit you are. Lucky for you, we have come up with the 7 things you will need to recharge your mental and physical health during lockdown.
1. Eat at least three meals a day
Fuelling your body is essential for optimum performance when completing school tasks and studying for your exams. Ensure you are eating healthy meals that are highly nutritious with a mix of foods from the five principal food groups. A filling breakfast filled with a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, is a great idea to start off your day. Your lunch and dinner should be planned out similarly. Ensure to have a balance of the three major macronutrients at each meal to keep you satiated and prevent overeating. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit saturated fat and prioritise your protein intake, particularly if you are working out. Healthy snacks are an excellent way to curb your hunger before your next meal, Of course, don’t forget to enjoy the occasional treat, you know you deserve it.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Staying home does not mean you forget to drink heaps of water!
Water is beneficial for flushing out toxins, facilitating healthy digestion and transporting oxygen and nutrients to your cells. To keep your body functioning properly, you need adequate hydration. This is extremely important especially when sitting at your desk for multiple hours studying. One tip is to keep a bottle handy as you progress through the day. You can also try adding mix- ins such as lemon or cucumber to create a more exciting taste.
3. Workout in the morning
It can be difficult to find motivation to workout, especially when your classes start at around 9am. Getting your workout done earlier in the day, can contribute to greater productivity throughout the day and increased energy. The benefits are innumerable, it can help with one’s focus and concentration in online classes and has also been proven to increase decision making skills. Let’s not forget that physical activity equates to a happier mood as your body releases feel- good chemicals such as endorphins and adrenaline. In fact, studies by the University of Vermont have found that a simple twenty -minute workout can boost an individual’s mood for up to twelve hours afterwards!
4. Try a variety of exercises
Most people turn to walking as a form of exercise during lockdown, and although it does have awesome benefits, there are so many other fun exercises you can do! Try creating a circuit training program with a range of calisthenics including planks, lunges and star jumps. Slowly increase your reps each week and soon you will have excellent physical fitness and muscle endurance! You can even follow YouTube workouts and exercise with your preferred fitness influencer. Cycling, skipping and running are other great options. Watch these videos either early in the morning or in-between classes for an effective study break. Ultimately, the opportunities are endless- choose the exercises you enjoy!
5. Exercise with family
Encourage family members to engage in physical activity too! Spend time with your siblings and kick a ball together around the backyard. Call your family to play a game of basketball or have a cricket match. Plan your family exercise times to avoid last minute cancellations and to ensure it fits in with study and class schedules. Exercise is much more fun with family, take advantage of this time to develop eternal bonds and everlasting memories!
6. Challenge yourself!
This lockdown, focus your workouts on beating your personal best. Always aim to be better than you were yesterday, and achieve more than you have done before. If you could only wall sit for thirty seconds, push yourself and gradually increase the duration you can wall sit each day. If you can only do five push ups at a time, try to increase the amount of reps you can achieve with each new day. Such challenges are not only beneficial to your physical health, but your mental health as you develop discipline and endurance. While you may not have control over the virus, you at least have control over your limits, so push them!
7. Count your blessings throughout the day!
Lockdown has affected all students statewide, especially HSC students who have had to complete some of their most important in lockdown. While it is difficult to accept and circumstances may be hard, it’s important to maintain good spiritual health. For many, this can include connecting with God. One way to do this is to count the blessings that are present in your life, such as your good health, your ability to attend school, and the support of your family. Take advantage of all the extra time on your hands, and connect with the things that are important to you.