Header image courtesy of Rawan Yassar (Unsplash)
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle this year is tough going, especially with almost all leisure facilities closed. It doesn’t help that the weather is getting more gorgeous by the day! Being stuck at home shouldn’t mean saying “Screw it!” and letting it all go while bingeing on Netflix.
Doing exercises in your living room is pretty simple (especially with YouTube and Zoom on hand), but many people tend to neglect their mental health and fitness as well. The importance of both these facets of daily wellbeing cannot be underestimated, so we spoke to the experts at Primal Strength, who have given us five tips to help you maintain your wellbeing from your own home until our gym opens up again!
Mobility is often the most under-utilised factor among fitness enthusiasts. All you need in order to do mobility exercises is a foam roller and a tennis ball (hockey or lacrosse balls will work as well). Taking the time to promote healthy tissue recovery is amongst the best ways to reduce your risk of injury during your training sessions. Foam rollers are a popular tool for releasing muscle adhesions and massaging trigger points to increase blood flow and flexibility to areas in need.
Most people have a love-hate relationship with foam rollers, often citing lack of time or discomfort as the reason for their lack of compliance, but it should still be a vital part of every fitness regime. Ease your way into mobility work by controlling how much pressure you apply to the tissue; the folks at Primal Strength say “little and often” is the most effective approach. Pinpoint the areas you want to focus on, and hold for 20 to 30 seconds, applying steady pressure, and slowly rolling back and forth across the muscle.
Sleep is probably the most underrated form of recovery. Unfortunately, most people constantly drain their bodies and minds by repeatedly functioning on high levels with inadequate rest. Bear in mind that the recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours per day!
A good pre-sleep routine includes not staring at screens before bed and setting up a cold, dark bedroom with no WiFi and no electronic devices nearby (a lot to ask, we know, but well worth it). Essential oils such as lavender are great for reducing stress and anxiety. A hot shower or bath before bed is also beneficial, as it lowers your body temperature to prepare for a deeper sleep. Establishing a bedtime routine will not only improve your ‘sleep hygiene’ but also allow you to wake up fresher and more energised without relying on the snooze button.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully focusing on the present moment. Charles Poliquin, a famous strength coach in the last decade, was a great advocate of the gratitude log to help people fall asleep. All you need is a pen and a diary: Write down 10 things that you are grateful for each day. This has been shown to bring calmness to the mind, which will aid in the quality of sleep.
Box breathing is a powerful, simple relaxation technique to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus. This is a diaphragmatic breathing exercise that you can do within a minute or less! Sit comfortably, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for another four seconds, then exhale for four seconds through the mouth and or nose. Repeat these steps at least four times.
Obviously, there are barriers around accessing facilities. If you can only fit your workouts in between conference calls, fret not! Try out Primal Strength’s bodyweight routine below, which allows you to stay active at home without any equipment. It is recommended that we should exercise at least 30 minutes per day, so take the family for a morning or evening walk, try some foam rolling, or carry some groceries back from the supermarket. Be creative with squeezing in a bit of fitness into your day-to-day routines!
Located in Tai Tam, Primal Strength is a state-of-the-art facility that has been catering to a broad demographic in the active community for 10 years. Their speciality is in youth training, offering semi-private group training as well as personal training for adults (because parents need training to keep up with the kids, of course). Many Primal Strength members have access to free workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays at 4 pm with senior coach Nik. See how to get in touch below if you’re interested in joining this workout community!