January is traditionally the month when we all resolve to start moving more, with new members queuing up to join the gym and more health and fitness related internet searches than any other month.
But with the UK now in lockdown for the rest of January, and leisure centres and swimming pools closed to the public, it looks likely that 2021 will be a little different.
Yet we know that exercise can dramatically enhance our wellbeing and positively impact our mental health – alongside all of the physical benefits.
Running for just 15 minutes a day, or walking for an hour, has been shown to reduce the risk of major depression by 26%.
Studies have also found anxiety and other mental health conditions are improved most by rhythmic, aerobic exercises including running, swimming and cycling.
In fact, there’s a whole campaign around the links between mental health and exercise – Red January – which encourages participants to get moving every day this month.
And since the current lockdown was announced, they’ve been using the motto ‘As we can’t be together in person, let’s be together in purpose’.
Our main partners Paycare are sharing their top tips to help everyone with their health and wellbeing and to beat those January lockdown blues:
- A lunchtime walk helps you take your eyes off the screen – and is sure to have you feeling more productive when you return to your desk.
- Joe Wicks is likely to spring to mind when you think about YouTube workouts, but there are thousands more to explore so you could try a different type of exercise every time to keep things fresh and exciting.
- Exercising outdoors with one person outside of your household or support bubble is allowed under the current rules – and this can include an outside personal training session as long as you are at least 2m apart at all times.
- Why not join together with your friends, family, or colleagues to try an online exercise class or take it in turns to lead a session during a weekly video call? At Paycare, different team members are setting up HIIT and Yoga sessions for us all to join in if we want to.
- Walking for 20 minutes a day consistently through the month will be much more beneficial than doing a 10-mile run once. So do remember to keep your goals realistic and manageable, scaling up the time and intensity of your workouts as you become fitter and stronger.
- You’ll need to up your water intake to account for the fluid you use while exercising, so remember to keep sipping away during the day.