‘Vacuuming is actually very healthy’: How to stay active in a wet Covid winter | Aptitude

It can be difficult, at the best of times, to find the motivation to move regularly.

These, notoriously, are not the best times.

Rain continues to batter many parts of Australia, temperatures drop to freezing chills (by Antipodian standards) and Covid case numbers are still high. In other words, the gym has never looked so unappealing, and several days to get there – dry – is a feat in itself.

Home workouts have also lost the appeal they once had in these early months of 2020. After the past few years – and all the ins and outs of lockdowns aplenty – the words “Yoga with Adriene” are enough to send even the most flexible into a spiral of anxiety. The pelotons didn’t have a good run either.

So what to do? We turned to readers and experts for advice, asking about their exercise routines in these wet and wild times – “exercise” interpreted very liberally.

Do your chores

Physical activity doesn’t have to be organized or regimented for us to reap its benefits, says Dr. Sandro Demaio, CEO of VicHealth. “Maybe there are simple things we’ve all heard – taking the stairs instead of the escalator; walk one or two stops at the start or end of a tram or train journey.

These activities can all be categorized under the now ubiquitous concept of incidental exercise — or, in Demaio’s words, “things we do and exercise at the same time.”

But incidental exercise doesn’t require leaving home. Outside of these common examples, many household chores involve physical exertion – light or otherwise – which can improve strength and increase heart rate. “Very often people will go to an exercise class that is incredibly similar to actions you might do with a vacuum cleaner,” Demaio says.

“And ironically, vacuuming is actually very, very healthy. Doing it a little more often – especially if you’re home and probably doing a little more of a mess – is one way to do more. of exercise.

The added bonus, of course, is an incredibly tidy household. For those who get bored more easily (or have space), Demaio also recommends redecorating the house or moving your office to another floor so that “every time you need to go to the bathroom or have a drink, you’ll go down another set of stairs, which is really great for cardiovascular health”.

A Guardian reader provided a particularly entertaining tactic. “I chop wood for an hour every few days,” Ruby Sea wrote, “not to mention kindling, carrying… [my] the arms take on a musculature that I did not know was possible!

He may not look here, but he’s a fast dog: Emma Coultas’ Labrador-staffie cross resting after a run

Many energetic pooches also featured in our readers’ household activity suggestions. “Most of the time, one of us will run with the dog,” says Emma Coultas, whose Labrador-staffie cross is particularly quick. “He gets a decent run because he has a lot of energy… he will run up to 10 kilometres.”

…or do something fun

Coultas has also made a habit of throwing frenetic dance parties in the living room when the sun goes down. Battery-operated fairy lights come on, the auxiliary cord is handed out to the kids, and the limbs fly on the hips of Meghan Trainor and Harry Styles. “I can’t choose the music,” Coultas says, “because they give up if I choose.”

“Children jump most of the time. I jump too, but then I try to do more targeted moves – squats and lunges… just to get them moving before bed if we haven’t had a chance to get out.

Dr Sandro Demaio in his rooftop garden
“The equivalent of doing stretches or weights”: Dr Sandro Demaio in his roof garden – a great source of physical activity

Demaio, meanwhile, swears by his vegetable garden as an endorphin-supplying plum tree. “Gardening is a big strength and stretch-based task,” he says, even for those who may not have the physical capacity for more strenuous exercise. “Digging, planting, pruning, or bending over to pull weeds…all really good, and the equivalent of doing your stretches or doing your weights.”

Go (very) slowly

Getting around the house can take as little effort as walking. Robyn, a Guardian reader who asked us to use only her first name, says she ‘has walked every day of my life for 50 years’ but has recently turned to walking videos indoors to maintain her fitness level as she recovers from open-heart surgery.

The strain she uses comes from a channel called Fabulous50s, and it’s a choose-your-own-adventure routine where you can match your output level with your own abilities. “You walk around your living room for 30 seconds,” she says. “And then you [might choose] do squats for 30 seconds. And then it’s leaving on foot… You don’t even need to be seen if that’s what worries you.

Others had more outrageous suggestions. Dennis, another reader, combines his stretches with loud vocal exercises – the tennis player method. As he reads by the fire, he says, “Once in a while, I get up and stretch while making various animal sounds – deep grunts and high-pitched squeals… I vigorously stir the legs and get up to place another log on the fire”. Duplicating this may heal your inner child, but not your neighborhood relationships.

Dennis reads by the fire
‘Once in a while I get up and stretch while making various animal sounds’: Dennis’ routine while reading by the fire

trick your brain

If all else fails, just fool yourself – as Jess Ho does, with barely awake grogginess. “I’m going to look completely psychotic,” they say. “But I [go] at the gym before being fully awake. And can not yet save that it freezes.

Arriving so early in the morning mostly means avoiding large, sweaty crowds, they say, although it also means there are few in the public to see the random mass of layers, gathered together to warm up after the bite. in the morning.

“You know that scene in Friends where Joey is wearing all of Chandler’s clothes? This is what I look like walking into the gym. As the session progresses, there is a large pile of clothes next to me.

But not everyone may be so athletic (or disciplined). Ho also has a specific recommendation for working out at home: blasting RuPaul’s Drag Race like a feverish distraction.

“If I do cardio at home, [that] is the best thing to watch. It’s so action-packed, fast-paced and shadowy…that my heart rate is actually really high.

“[Drag Race] definitely improved my cardio.

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