The Advertiser - Cessnock

Back to buff: How do we find 'fitspiration' post lockdown?

Back to buff: How do we find 'fitspiration' post lockdown?

This is branded content.

Sydney's last few lockdowns have been tough to say the very least. Their unexpected length and intensity has held a significant impact on NSW residents from all corners of the state, with many reporting concerns for their mental health alongside dissatisfaction with the lockdown restrictions.

The main criticism that many Sydney residents shared was that the lockdowns had provided them with drastically limited opportunities to engage in routine physical activity outside of their own homes. There were general concerns that lockdowns were prompting Australians across the country to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, and so lockdown lifts were usually accompanied by an influx of citizens being active outdoors.

Of course, this transition back into pre-lockdown living hasn't been easy for everybody. In fact, many of us have struggled with securing a motivation to rediscover the joys of moving our bodies. So how exactly do you find 'fitspiration' in this post-lockdown reality?

Pick up a new sport or two this summer

If you're struggling to engage in routine exercise post-lockdown, it may be worth abandoning the idea of 'routine' for a while. Do away with the ordinary. Head out on the water in an inflatable kayak, or take a trip to the coast and have a go at windsurfing or stand up paddleboarding.

As lockdowns held us back from being able to try new things, perhaps the emphasis shouldn't be on becoming fit as a form of damage control, but as a method of jumping right back into all that life has to offer. Let yourself reconnect with moving your body by finding the sheer joy of movement through trying new things.

In fact, there has been extensive research into the positive impacts that simply learning new things can hold on people. These positive impacts can include boosting your cognitive abilities by exercising the brain in new ways, but also expanding your world and presenting you with opportunities to meet like-minded people.

If the new skill that you're looking to pick up is in the form of an exciting new sport or physical activity, then the physical health benefits will naturally follow these cognitive and social benefits as well.

Embrace the great outdoors

As stated earlier, although Sydney residents were able to go jogging and cycling during the lockdown, restrictions lifting were still accompanied by a growth in the number of citizens getting fit by taking their workouts outdoors. The opportunity to get some sun alongside their daily dose of exercise prompted many to mark out new jogging and cycling routes as a means of exploring outside the 5km radius imposed on them by lockdown restrictions.

Rediscovering your wider city is a superb excuse to get moving at the same time, so it's well worth mapping out some running routes that'll take you through suburbs or other regions of your city that you may not have engaged with very much. In doing so, you'll find that negative feelings inspired by the strictness of our 5km and 10km lockdown radiuses will naturally begin to lift.

You may even decide to put hundreds of kilometres between you and your former iso bubble by travelling to national or state parklands near you and heading out on a hike or a trek. Wider New South Wales is filled to the brim with a selection of Australia's top hiking trails and walking tracks, so you should absolutely feel encouraged to explore your wider state alongside the Sydney metro area too. Day hikes and weekend getaways are both superbly healing means of returning to physical activity alongside embracing the great outdoors after many months spent in lockdown.

Make a commitment to get moving every day

Once you've had a little time to indulge in all of your newfound freedoms and the opportunities to move in new ways that these freedoms have presented you with, it's time to return to the idea of 'routine'. Discipline yourself to move at least once a day every day.

Many health professionals recommend that people of all ages should ideally be physically active for about thirty minutes every day to maintain a good level of physical fitness.

You can make the time for this daily commitment to move by being mindful of your screen time as well as the time that you spend sitting every day.

If you feel you are spending a disproportionate amount of time in front of a screen due to work or study commitments, you can easily break up these large chunks of time by commencing a daily workout.

It's important to note, however, that your daily workout routine post-lockdown doesn't necessarily have to be identical to how you stayed fit before the pandemic.

We're rapidly approaching the two year anniversary of our global society's introduction to COVID-19, and it's safe to say that a fair amount has changed over these past few years in particular.

You aren't the same person you were at the beginning of 2020. You may have picked up some new hobbies or interests, and found yourself enjoying activities that you may not have paid any mind to prior to the pandemic.

As a result, your commitment to moving at least once a day can actually take on many forms, and you should feel confident in your ability to maintain an eclectic weekly workout schedule and fill each and every day with a heart-healthy activity that makes you feel good. It doesn't matter how you move, so long as you're moving and that this movement is enjoyable for you.

Turn your social appointments into shared workouts

Finally, one other aspect of pre-lockdown life that many of us are likely to be struggling with post-lockdown, is the need to rediscover our social obligations.

If you've been feeling slightly agoraphobic since lockdowns have lifted, know that you are absolutely not alone in that feeling.

In fact, a great majority of the global population have reported experiencing post-lockdown anxiety in many forms, including social anxiety.

You can mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression through physical activity, which is yet another reason to take any and all opportunities to move your body as well as take on new methods of staying physically active.

You may decide to join a gym or sign up for some fitness classes with a friend and turn your workouts into opportunities to socialise.

If this doesn't appeal to you, then why not embark on a day hike with a travel partner or two? Or plan a trip to the beach to catch some waves with your family? There are a myriad of ways that you can transform your opportunities to practice physical fitness into opportunities to reconnect with the friends and family you may not have been able to see during your months in lockdown, or perhaps to even meet some brand new friends too!

~

Finding your fitspiration post-lockdown won't just entail exploring one or two new avenues for staying physically active. In fact, it's more likely that your fitspiration will exist in many forms, and this is absolutely preferred to it existing in one source alone. Having a varied and diverse selection of physical activities to choose from over the next few months will naturally ensure that your commitment to regaining your physical strength and fitness won't go stale.

Never lose sight of the fact that staying physically active should not be viewed as a chore, but as an opportunity for enrichment, both physically, socially, and emotionally.

This is branded content.