WELL BEING DURING LOCKDOWN – AN EXERCISE PLAN

Here is a plan for week one of lockdown. (I will post a second series for week two)

Let’s start today with a healthy exercise habit in my home!

Each exercise is done in a different room of the house. Each exercise sequence is applied once per day. There are three different sequences, hence; you have three different sequences of exercises to apply each day.

Sequence one: To be applied in Room 1 in the morning

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.
  2. Walk on the spot 1min; keep a relaxed, rhythmical pace; lift your knees a little higher as if you were marching and swing your arms. Feel your shoulders moving as you bend and straighten your elbows to swing your arms. The elbows should not lift higher than your shoulder height.
  3. Pause and say out aloud: I am happy to be alive and well at this moment.
  4. Now march, on the spot, with slightly quickened steps for 10 steps.
  5. Pause and say out aloud: I can keep myself in a good space today.
  6. Relax back to your previous relaxed, rhythmical pace for 1 minute as per no 1 above.
  7. March 3 steps forwards, 3 steps back; 10 times. Ensure that where you take your steps is clear of obstacles or mats.
  8. Pause and say out aloud: I can be kind to myself and my family today.
  9. Relax back to your previous relaxed, rhythmical pace for 1 minute as per no 1 above.
  10. Imagine you are walking in deep, thick mud. It is cold and wet; sticky and sludgy. Walk 10 steps on the spot doing the body actions that involve heaving your way through this thick mud. Make puffing sounds with your voice as you do this walking action.
  11. Pause and say out aloud: I am grateful this too shall pass!
  12. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Sequence two: To be applied in Room 2 around the middle of the day.

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above. Use a room/floor surface that does not have a mat on the floor.
  2. Walk sideways five steps or between the two walls that allow the most space with an ordinary sized step. Face the same way and return to where you started walking sideways with the other leg leading first. Keep your body in a level plane or ‘square”; there should be no twisting of your hips or upper body.
  3. Pause to hum or sing a few lines of a favourite song.
  4. Focus on your posture:
    1. Feel your knees unlocked/soft, not bent, but not stiffly tight all the way back.
    2. Feel that most of the weight of your body is over the balls of your feet, and not your heels. You may need to shift your hips a little forward to achieve this.
    3. If your pelvis is over the balls of your feet; your knees are soft; your shoulders should align correctly. If not, do not tense your knees again, keep them relaxed and gently feel your spine lengthening as if a wee elastic is gently stretching you up to the ceiling. This brings your shoulders to their correct resting position.
    4. Do not try and pull your shoulder back; rather let your body align itself correctly so that your shoulders are placed where they belong.
  5. Walk sideways there and back again, this time with a larger width to your step. Not too wide, enough to feel it is a bit more work but not so that your feel wobbly. Remember to keep your body plane level or ‘square’ so you have not twisting anywhere.
  6. Pause and focus on your posture.
  7. Walk sideways there and back again, this time with a very small step width. Remember to keep your body plane level or ‘square’ so you have not twisting anywhere.
  8. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Sequence three: To be applied in Room 3 in the later afternoon or evening.

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.
  2. Use a room/floor surface that has a medium to large mat on the floor i.e. not a door mat. If you have no mats, visualise a space on the floor of about 2 m x 1m.
  3. Walk around the inside of the mat in one direction. Use your ordinary comfortable walking step stride
  4. Turn and walk back around the mat in the opposite direction.
  5. Pause and clap your hands slowly 5 times above your head or in front of you if above your head is too hard.
  6. With each clap say something out aloud e.g.
    1. Counting
    2. Expressing feelings
    3. The names of your pets
    4. The names of countries also in lockdown
    5. The list is endless, have fun!
  7. Walk across the mat from one corner to the other. It does not matter which corner you started at. Walk to the next corner and repeat to walk across the mat from that corner to the other. Go around the mat so that you have walked from each corner once.
  8. Walk around the inside of the mat in one direction, this time twice. Use your ordinary comfortable walking step stride.
  9. Turn and walk back around the mat in the opposite direction twice.
  10. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Each exercise is done in a different room of the house. Each exercise sequence is applied once per day. There are three different sequences, hence; you have three different sequences of exercises to apply each day. If you particularly enjoy one sequence; you are welcome to apply it three times a day instead.

Sequence one: To be applied in Room 1 in the morning

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.
  2. Walk on the spot 1min; keep a relaxed, rhythmical pace; lift your knees a little higher as if you were marching and swing your arms. Feel your shoulders moving as you bend and straighten your elbows to swing your arms. The elbows should not lift higher than your shoulder height.
  3. Pause and say out aloud: I am happy to be alive and well at this moment.
  4. Now march, on the spot, with slightly quickened steps for 10 steps.
  5. Pause and say out aloud: I can keep myself in a good space today.
  6. Relax back to your previous relaxed, rhythmical pace for 1 minute as per no 1 above.
  7. March 3 steps forwards, 3 steps back; 10 times. Ensure that where you take your steps is clear of obstacles or mats.
  8. Pause and say out aloud: I can be kind to myself and my family today.
  9. Relax back to your previous relaxed, rhythmical pace for 1 minute as per no 1 above.
  10. Imagine you are walking in deep, thick mud. It is cold and wet; sticky and sludgy. Walk 10 steps on the spot doing the body actions that involve heaving your way through this thick mud. Make puffing sounds with your voice as you do this walking action.
  11. Pause and say out aloud: I am grateful this too shall pass!
  12. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Sequence two: To be applied in Room 2 around the middle of the day.

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above. Use a room/floor surface that does not have a mat on the floor.
  2. Walk sideways five steps or between the two walls that allow the most space with an ordinary sized step. Face the same way and return to where you started walking sideways with the other leg leading first. Keep your body in a level plane or ‘square”; there should be no twisting of your hips or upper body.
  3. Pause to hum or sing a few lines of a favourite song.
  4. Focus on your posture:
    1. Feel your knees unlocked/soft, not bent, but not stiffly tight all the way back.
    2. Feel that most of the weight of your body is over the balls of your feet, and not your heels. You may need to shift your hips a little forward to achieve this.
    3. If your pelvis is over the balls of your feet; your knees are soft; your shoulders should align correctly. If not, do not tense your knees again, keep them relaxed and gently feel your spine lengthening as if a wee elastic is gently stretching you up to the ceiling. This brings your shoulders to their correct resting position.
    4. Do not try and pull your shoulder back; rather let your body align itself correctly so that your shoulders are placed where they belong.
  5. Walk sideways there and back again, this time with a larger width to your step. Not too wide, enough to feel it is a bit more work but not so that your feel wobbly. Remember to keep your body plane level or ‘square’ so you have not twisting anywhere.
  6. Pause and focus on your posture.
  7. Walk sideways there and back again, this time with a very small step width. Remember to keep your body plane level or ‘square’ so you have not twisting anywhere.
  8. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Sequence three: To be applied in Room 3 in the later afternoon or evening.

  1. Warm up with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.
  2. Use a room/floor surface that has a medium to large mat on the floor i.e. not a door mat. If you have no mats, visualise a space on the floor of about 2 m x 1m.
  3. Walk around the inside of the mat in one direction. Use your ordinary comfortable walking step stride
  4. Turn and walk back around the mat in the opposite direction.
  5. Pause and clap your hands slowly 5 times above your head or in front of you if above your head is too hard.
  6. With each clap say something out aloud e.g.
    1. Counting
    2. Expressing feelings
    3. The names of your pets
    4. The names of countries also in lockdown
    5. The list is endless, have fun!
  7. Walk across the mat from one corner to the other. It does not matter which corner you started at. Walk to the next corner and repeat to walk across the mat from that corner to the other. Go around the mat so that you have walked from each corner once.
  8. Walk around the inside of the mat in one direction, this time twice. Use your ordinary comfortable walking step stride.
  9. Turn and walk back around the mat in the opposite direction twice.
  10. Warm down with the breathing and muscle tension relaxation above.

Ensure you put into practice good sleep preparation hygiene!

Disclaimer: These exercises are not for those with health problems. Please take the advice of your Physiotherapist or Doctor about appropriate exercise in your home for your condition.