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5 fitness challenges you can still do from home
Don’t be disheartened if you can’t nail your fitness resolution now we’re in lockdown. Here’s some you can achieve from home.
While the race to the end of 2020 was more of a crawl than a sprint, January has still managed to bring its traditional new lease of life energy. As people geared up for a new year, resolutions were being made and fitness progress was being mapped out.
Then, a national lockdown managed to come along and deflate our goal-chasing spirits. While a huge portion of the country was already in tier 4, the official news of nationwide gym closures and limited outside exercise, while needed, meant that those with big fitness goals were left without direction.
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If you were one of those who had their sights set on a weight lifting PB, signing up to a new sport or running a marathon, you may be just about ready to throw in the towel on your new training programme. But don’t! There are still plenty of ways to challenge yourself and your fitness without a gym or classes.
1. Conquer a full press-ups
You probably can’t name a better home workout challenge than a press-up test, because this exercise works your chest, shoulders, core and back – not to mention your mental resilience.
Building up to a full press-up is a great challenge if you want to focus on building strength, but don’t have any weights on hand. Even if you can already bash out a set of full press-ups, working on adding more reps or moving slower through the movement will really test your upper body strength.
Strong Women Collective member Alice Miller has written a full four-week plan, which you can check out below.
2. Run a 5k (or even 10)
Use your once-a-day exercise time well by nailing a tricky run. Sure, you can sign up to a Couch to 5k app, but if you want to take charge of your timings (and more importantly, blast your own selection of motivating music) then try the four week 5k challenge that runner Tashi Skervin-Clarke planned for Strong Women.
“More than anything, getting out in the fresh air is important for your peace of mind and switching off. It’s a nice escape from day to day,” she says.
If you already sorted your 5k out in the first lockdown, don’t stop now! How about pushing yourself to hit the 10k mark in four weeks time? There’s a how-to guide below.
3. Move for 10 minutes a day
It’s understandable if your desire to train has been scuppered. So start small, with just 10 minutes of intentional movement a day. Whether that’s a gentle yoga flow, a brisk walk around the block or one of our Strong in 10 workouts, getting active for a short period of time will do a world of good for your mental health. “When it comes to exercise, something is always better than nothing,” explains sport and exercise expert Dr Folusha Oluwajana.
If you can push it a bit further, 12 minutes of high-intensity training has been proven to have great physical benefits, too. Find out why, and challenge yourself to this bite-size exercise plan, below.
4. Try out yoga
Low-intensity training is nothing to be sniffed at. While you might think that yoga is more about the brain than the body, the two are more linked than you might imagine. “By bringing the physical and psychological parts of our wellbeing together, it creates almost a cocktail of wellness,” says Dr Zoe Williams from the Strong Women Collective. “It can push our bodies from being in a fight-or-flight mode, which is when your sympathetic nervous system is firing, into a more restful and calm state with your parasympathetic nervous system activated.”
While the practice can be intimidating for some, there are some gentle moves you can follow to get into the flow of yoga. Challenge yourself to do these three simple postures every single day, and see how you feel after two weeks.
5. Learn to handstand
Here’s something tricky that only requires your body and a wall to do: handstands. But while the training is tough, following this programme from How To Handstand is a simple way to perfect your skill during lockdown. It might not be weight lifting, but your shoulders, core and back will be shaking afterwards (and you’ll probably have a sweat on, too).
It will likely take longer than four weeks to master a free-standing handstand but take on the challenge and you’ll have a skill for life.