During this unusual time, it can be difficult to keep active and motivated, whether you are a fitness fanatic that would usually attend the gym every day or a recreational runner that would go for a run once in a while, it is more important than ever to keep moving and keep fit. By carrying out a series of exercises and stretches every few days will improve your mental health and mood, improve your sleep, and help control your weight.
If you are struggling to fit in some exercises, here are some tips on how implement a small exercise routine into your lifestyle:
- Find a routine – finding a routine can make you feel more in control of everything and help us to make room for all that’s important. As well as this, routine can aid our mental health. It can help us to cope with change, to form healthy habits, and to reduce our stress levels.
- Be active with family or friends – working out with another person may make you more likely to enjoy exercise as well as motivating and encouraging each other. For those that can’t meet up with their regular exercise partner, try exercising together over a video call.
- Exercise early – in the morning your energy is higher leading to a more efficient workout. As well as this, you’ll experience the post-workout benefits (better mood and reduced stress) all day long.
- Work-out outside – outdoor exercise for as little as 5 minutes has been proven to improve self-esteem; whether this is going for a long walk, run along the river, or taking your yoga mat to the park. Not only this, but it is a low-cost solution! It really is a win-win situation!
Below is a list of some hip/lower limb injury prevention exercises
- Single leg calf raises
Make sure the movement is slow and controlled. Focus on keeping the technique. If the technique changes, stop the exercises as you may do more damage than good. To help with balance, try focusing on a point in front of you. However, if you really need support try using a wall. Make sure to do the same amount of both sides. To progress this exercise, try holding a weight/can/water bottle in the hand that is on the same side as your planted foot.
This exercise is working on your calf muscles.
2. Forward lunge
Lift one leg in the air then place it a significant distance in front of you. When in the lunge position, both knees should be at a 90 degree angle. Focus on engaging your core muscles throughout the whole movement. Your shoulders and upper body should always be in an upright position (should never be leaning forward or to one side). Just like the single leg calf raises, if you are struggling for balance focus on a point in front of you. To progress this exercise, try holding a weight/weighted item in both hands.
This exercise is working on your quadriceps and your glutes.
3. Hip thrust
Lying flat on your back, place both feet flat on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders. Hold a weight/weighted item in your hip crease. If you are struggling with balance, remove the weight and place your arms flat on the ground. Make sure that when you get to the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes. For a challenge, try holding the position at the top for as long as you can! To progress this exercise, try a single leg hip thrust. Perform the same exercise but this time only on one leg. Try to keep the raised leg as still as possible.
This exercise is working on your quadriceps, hamstrings and your glutes.
4. Goblet squat
Place your feet shoulder width apart (slightly more if you are struggling with balance). When performing the movement, keep your chest up and shoulders back. Performing a squat with the correct technique is more important than getting depth in the squat!
This exercise is working on your quadriceps, hamstring, calves, glutes, and entire core, as well as your arms and grip strength as you’re holding onto a weight.
I hope that these exercises give you some ideas of how you can strengthen your core to prevent injuries.
Check out last weeks blog here: Core strengthening for injury prevention
Rachael Harris, Sports Therapist