SHAPING UP: Six easy ways to boost your step count during lockdown

Moving more and getting outside in the fresh air is beneficial for both our physical and mental health.

it’s important not to be slack with your fitness.
it’s important not to be slack with your fitness.

Right now, though, it may seem very challenging to stay active because of lockdown restrictions and the Winter weather.

While it would be easier to stay indoors, slouch on the sofa, watch yet another series on Netflix and wait until we can get back to our usual routines, it’s important not to be slack with your fitness.

By continuing to be active and achieving your step count you’ll benefit both physically and mentally (which is really important during these stressful times). Aiming for 10,000 steps a day can:

Help with weight loss and management

Improve cognitive function

Reduce anxiety and depression

Improve quality of sleep

Reduce blood pressure

Improve immune system

The benefits of achieving 10,000 steps a day are plentiful, so here’s my top five tips for boosting your activity levels during lockdown:

WORKOUT EARLY

Do your workout first thing in the morning so you don't skip it later in the day when your willpower is weaker. Plus, seeing those initial steps early in the morning will motivate you the rest of the day. You could start with the 10-Minute HIIT workout below.

WALK & TALKWhether you’re working from home or talking to friends, move around the house or garden while taking the phone call.

SCHEDULE YOUR COFFEE-BREAKS

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in work and before you know it you’ve spent a full day sitting behind a desk. Set an alarm on your phone for coffee breaks. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes, get up from your desk and walk around.

HOME SCHOOLING P.E. LESSONSHome schooling can be very stressful for both parents and children. Trust me, I know! The workload during this lockdown seems to have multiplied by 100. So, when things get stressful or the kids get agitated, take a break from the desk work, go outside for half an hour and get some fresh air. Not only will it increase your step count but it will clear everyone’s head ready to work again.

DRINK LOTS OF WATERKeep a small reusable water bottle at your desk and get up to refill it often throughout the day. (you'll also get extra steps in because you'll be visiting the toilet more often)

USE A STANDING DESKWhether you buy a desk, or build your own with a stack of books, standing up and down throughout the day – as well as shifting from foot to foot as you stand – is a proven way to burn calories and beat back pain. If you’re building a makeshift desk just make sure your laptop/computer is in a position where you can stand with a neutral spine. In other words, you’re not slouched over or stooped down looking at your laptop.

On their own, the tips above won’t make you super fit, but if you’re consistent with all them it will increase your step count and activity levels and leave you in better shape physically and mentally.

10 MINUTE HIIT HOME WORKOUT

The mixture of cardio and resistance exercises in this workout will help elevate your heart rate and challenge your muscles within just ten minutes. The bodyweight only workout will help burn calories and increase your step count too. Before you start the workout go to the East Coast Fitness Facebook Page and watch the short demo video to make sure you’ve got the correct technique.

30 seconds SQUATS

30 seconds STAR JUMPS

30 seconds LUNGES

30 seconds BURPEES

30 seconds PRESS UPS

30 seconds HILL CLIMS

30 seconds SIT UPS

30 seconds FOOTBALL SPRINTS

30 seconds CROSSOVERS

30 seconds SHUTTLE RUNS]

X2

Spicy Beans & Eggs

SERVES: 2

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

CALORIES PER PORTION 463

On those cold Winter mornings, when you need a nice belly warming breakfast, give this a go…INGREDIENTS

2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1 x (400g) cannellini beans, rinsed & drained 1 x (400g) chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp ground paprika

1/2 tsp maple syrup

Salt & cracked pepper

4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

In a medium oven-proof frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add the beans, chopped tomatoes, paprika and maple syrup, stir well, cover and simmer on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Use a spoon to make indents and then crack the eggs into the spaces. Season with salt & cracked pepper.

Place the frying pan under the grill for 5-6 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.