The COVID-19 lockdown has taken a toll on each of us mentally and physically, but don’t let that bring you down! During this lockdown, it will give each of us an opportunity to delve into tasks that we may have put aside, pick up new hobbies that we might have stopped, or restart our exercise program to maintain our fitness level until everything comes back ‘normal’ again.
As a team who values exercises and injury prevention, I want to provide you with simple steps to maintain flexibility and conditioning to help deal with the stress of the lockdown.
The main thing to do at home is to continue to move and change positions often – whether you are working from home or stuck at home due to COVID restrictions. The following exercises and stretches will minimize the stiffness the body feels and condition the muscles until the lockdown eases.
Perform these exercises frequently throughout the day – 3-5x/day, 2 set of 15 reps on each exercise. Light/ moderate intensity with up to 30s rest between exercise.
Stretches performed 1 set of 10 reps each side with 15-30s holds.
If there are restrictions/ pain on certain movements feel free to skip it and trial again another time. If this persist and this concerns you, please seek health advice by a trusted health professional/ physiotherapist.
- Hip flexor to Hamstring Stretch –
Kneel on the floor and place one foot in a large stride in front of you. Keeping your body tall, push your hips forwards evenly until you feel a stretch in the front of the thigh of your back leg. Next, transfer your weight backward by taking your buttocks towards your back foot as you straighten your front knee and lift your toes. You will feel a stretch in the back of the thigh of your front leg. Continue to alternate between these two positions.
- Calf stretch –
Stand facing a wall, a pole or other support. Place both hands on the wall at chest level. Put one foot behind you and keep that foot flat on the floor. Bend your other knee and lean in towards the wall. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Back Arches –
Stand with your legs at hip width apart and straight. Place your hands on your hips. Lean your body backwards, trying to arch in the lower back as much as you can, lifting your chest up towards the ceiling. Try to avoid allowing your hips to swing forwards too far. Hold this position before returning to the start position.
- Book Opening –
Lie on your side with your legs straight. Ensure you have a good support for your head so that your neck is in alignment with the rest of your spine. Keeping your bottom leg straight, bend your top leg up so that your hip and knee are at 90 degrees. Use your bottom arm to support the knee. For a stronger stretch, place your bottom hand on top of your knee and apply downward pressure. Place your upper hand around your rib cage Rotate your shoulders and chest round to face upwards. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, allow yourself to rotate further into the stretch, guiding the movement gently with your upper arm. Inhale, and ease off the stretch. Exhale, and deepen the stretch.
- Chest Stretch –
Stand with your affected side closest to the wall and place your forearm down a door frame around shoulder height. Keeping your forearm on the wall, take one step forward on the leg closest to the wall and slowly rotate your chest away until you feel a stretch across your chest. Be careful not to allow the shoulder to hunch. Hold this position.
6. Standing overhead lat stretch
Stand with your arms up over your head, keeping them close to your ears. Hold your hands together as you pull your shoulder blades down and back. Holding this position, lean to one side, feeling the stretch down the other side of your torso.
- Sit-to-Stand to March –
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Hands on your lap Shuffle your bottom forward, lean your trunk forward. Push through your legs and squeeze your bottom as you stand up. March on the spot 10 times
- Fire Hydrant To Hip Extension On All 4s –
Start on your hands and knees. Lift one knee out to the side. Then straighten the leg backwards and bring it back to the starting position. Note. Try to use a large range of movement from the hip. Minimise movement in the lower back and pelvis
- Bridge With Floor Marching –
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up into a bridge, driving the movement with your buttocks. March one leg, and then the other, keeping your pelvis up and level throughout the exercise.
- Step Ups With Knee Lifts –
Stand up straight with a step in front of you. At a moderate to fast pace, step forward onto the step with one leg. Bring your other leg through and lift your knee up in front of you until your thigh is horizontal. At the same time, lift the opposite arm towards the ceiling. Step back to the floor and repeat the movement with opposite arms and legs.
- Mountain Climber –
Lie on your front with your toes on the floor. Place your hands on the floor by your shoulders and push yourself up, lifting your torso and knees. Hold a neutral line from the back of your head to your heels, driving your hands into the floor so that your shoulder blades flatten on your back. Maintaining this control, bring one knee in towards your chest. Move this leg back to the starting position and repeat. Keep your buttocks squeezed and your hips level throughout this movement.
Performing this on an elevated platform (eg. table or bed) will make the movement easier.
- Brisk Walking/ Jogging – 30min a day, Moderate Intensity.