It is always a delight publishing a post written by Barry Carty, Audience Operations Co-ordinator as they deliver honesty, encouragement and make you smile along the way!
We asked Barry how he has adapted his normally highly sociable forms of exercise to the isolation conditions, and he delivers some great ideas.
Learn how you can motivate yourself, use tins in the cupboards for ”˜equipment’ and awaken the mind and body.
Movement is something that once it is incorporated into your daily routine, you don’t necessarily process it the same way as you would ”˜exercise’. Normally you would walk to the train station or work. You would walk around the RCS buildings carrying your musical instrument around, or jog when late for a meeting! You would practice a dance routine over and over again in your musical theatre class or ballet lesson. You may not have translated this as exercise, but merely getting around or getting ready for a performance.
Feel yourself now getting stiff?
When these basic mechanisms are removed from our day to day, our body reacts to the change, and we may feel we are restless or even stiffening up, without entirely processing what is taking place.
I believe the trick to remedy this, is to form habitual routine in regards to exercise, that way when our basic life movements stop for whatever reason, in this case, let’s say a global pandemic, we still have functional systems in place to let the body breathe with function and be supple.
Setting achievable goals
Now, everyone has different and incredibly valid goals when it comes to health and wellbeing, so accounting for all those variables would require at least 7,000,000,000 individual blog posts.
So instead, I’ll lay out an ideal movement day (for me) and you are welcome to pick and choose which parts are applicable for you. I’d suggest trying them all at least once whenever suits you. The times aren’t incredibly important, it’s just a functional layout of a day for me. Eat whenever your body needs to convert fuel to energy, and whatever supports your health and wellbeing goals.
Disclaimer I am very fortunate to have the time and mobility, so my normal was to practise Brazilian Jiu Jitsu about four times a week, sometimes for three consecutive hours, go runs, do yoga, do weights, walk everywhere etc”¦ so I have A LOT of energy to burn right now!
Rise and shine – an ideal movement day (for me!)
Be gentle with yourself, and let the body wake up smoothly.
6:30am – 7:30am
I’ve taken some lessons from the Wim Hof method to awaken my mind. When I wake up I try and take the deepest breath for fifteen seconds and then have a very cold shower directly afterwards”¦I know you are thinking what is smooth about that?! But it works for me.
Now it’s time to wake the body. Some good fluid yoga or bodyweight exercises will go down a belter now. I always see what the cat’s up to on the old yoga mat, he loves when it gets rolled out and almost always instantly does a down dog and big yawn. I trust his wee instincts, he always seems pretty happy.
I think the morning is a great time to target any areas you may have issue with. So please use specific source material, i.e. yoga for back pain, yoga for hips, etc. Increase your range of motion comfortably.
Your body needs air
Now that everything is awake, it’s the best time to get outside air in your body. Go a run, walk or stand perfectly still with no blinking; whatever suits your current disposition.
The earlier, the better, as there will usually be less people and more space to try more playful things (balancing on tree logs) without anyone spotting you.
I’m trying to get into hill sprints and stair sprints at the moment. Hate it at the time, love it afterwards. Water and fresh air are the building blocks of life.
Weights can literally be two cans of red kidney beans
Pre-lunch weights – Now weights don’t have to be big 200 pound nightmares. Weights can literally be two tins of red kidney beans in each hand. Bicep curl them for twelve reps, and three sets. So thirty-six repetitions in total, with thirty second breaks at the twelve rep mark each time.
Honestly, even if you aren’t into weights, the movement alone is greatly beneficial. You can do whole routines with big clunky weights, tins of soup or no weights at all and get an equally valid workout. Some bodybuilders even focus on pure lifting technique for months at a time, before adding any weights whatsoever.
Adapt this routine as you see fit:
Learn something new
This part of the day can now be more dynamic. You’ll probably be physically ”˜awake’, you’ll hopefully be feeling nourished by your food choices and if you’ve been sitting in a chair, you’ll need to find balance for your hips and lower back. I crawl up and down these stairs. I’ve only been seen by another tenant once, and it was arguably one of the most awkward encounters of my life. He was rightfully scared, and all I could say was “AWRITE”. I also had a gum shield in. Not a good look, but an undeniably good workout”¦a fair trade in my opinion.
My point is, take twenty to thirty minutes to learn something fun, i.e. boxing, karate, handstands, skipping, anything you think would be exciting to learn! Once again, YouTube is a goldmine. Type in your required skill and no doubt there will be a ”˜learn to’.
You don’t need to master it, the trick is to get to a point where you are more comfortable with the movements than when you started. Which if you have no experience, is a very achievable goal! One per cent better every day!
Core work quality over quantity
I suggest making your own, it can be any movement that you feel comfortable in.
The aim is to really strengthen your core movements. As many sets as you feel appropriate. Even just walking on the spot for 5 minutes will get the right stuff moving.
I’ve got a wee afternoon set I like:
- 20 push ups
- 50 sit ups
- 1 Handstand for 30 seconds (against the wall)
- 12 Deep squats
- 10 Chin Ups
Repeat your sets as much as you would like. Be sure to be present in your body and tap into that deep breathing from earlier!
Cardio helps me sleep at night
Even if you don’t do any other exercise, this is a great time to get on it! The words ”˜low impact’ are always good, as this should negate a lot of explosive movement but won’t sacrifice the cardio element.
Drink plenty of water, eat some very wholesome vegetables, try to sleep around seven or eight hours a night.
Be kind to yourself and remember to breathe with intention and purpose!