The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has radically changed our routines. As a nation, we're spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV. How can we get healthier in lockdown?
A survey of 2,000 British adults, carried out in June, found that over 50% of people have been watching more TV since the national lockdown began1. This shouldn't come as a surprise - most Britons have been stuck indoors for a long period of time and switching on the TV is an easy way to pass the time. More than a third of people have reported feeling more stressed and anxious since the lockdown was announced and around 30% of people report feeling less healthy1.
Around one in four people worldwide are not active enough – this figure rises to 80% in children2. Being sedentary, which is doing little or no physical activity, is extremely damaging to health. Your chances of developing diabetes or one of the cardiovascular diseases doubles without exercise and your mental health can also be severely affected. Anxiety, depression and stress can be caused or aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with sitting down to some quality entertainment from time to time, but many of us spend far too long staring at screens. The average British adult spends nearly 4 hours in from the TV daily3. Move around during the advert breaks and limit your screen time to a few hours daily.
Why not use this extra time at home to change your diet and lifestyle for the better? Take up a new heart-healthy hobby like Tai Chi or start a daily exercise routine. Many people have taken up walking, running and cycling during lockdown, making use of nearby parks and emptier roads. We should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week so switch off the TV and get moving whenever you can1.
Absolutely everyone can get involved in exercise. Whether cycling the length of Britain or just walking up the stairs, there's an exercise for everyone. You can exercise in whatever way suits you to help get a healthier heart. You could follow an exercise video on YouTube from the comfort of your own home. Or if you prefer some company, why not join a local Park Run group or start your own with a group of likeminded people?
We're living in unprecedented times and now is a great time to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. Increasing the amount of physical activity you do on a daily basis can help you to get fitter, feel happier and improve your long-term health.