Dad blogger and fitness advocate, Dave Allen, gives us the lowdown on staying physically and mentally well during “Lockdown 2.0”.
While this lockdown has been different from the last one, with the kids at school and more businesses staying open, some people are at least able to get out and work. This helps provide some “normality”.
All the outlets for mental and physical health remain closed or cancelled, though. This means we need to think outside the box and find different ways to do things and keep positive.
So, from my own experience and professional knowledge, here’s why exercise is essential for getting and keeping a positive mindset – and staying healthy.
When I first started in the fitness industry 15 years ago, life was easy; no kids, no family commitments, and no real responsibilities. Fast forward to now, and things are a world away; I have two young boys and all the real-life stuff that goes with it.
I had five years away from fitness, as I went out to get a trade and didn’t keep up with any training routines. I didn’t eat the right things, either. It wasn’t until my youngest was on the way, and I found out about my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), that I realised I needed a change. Sometimes we need that kick up the backside to get us motivated.
Because of all this, my outlook on health and fitness has drastically changed. It’s given me more empathy when it comes to the daily challenges we face. Years ago, I would have said there’s no excuse not to find an hour for exercise; now I know how much of a challenge this can be. A challenge, but not impossible! Do you need to be a little selfish? Yes, but the benefits will far outweigh the small time sacrifice you make.
The overriding reason I got back into fitness was down to mental health. I started exercising regularly and found that I was more relaxed, with my mind not racing as much. I have more patience to play with the kids, not to mention more energy. Weight has also dropped off me – and I feel much better for it.
There’s so much research showing us that leading a healthy lifestyle provides mental and physical benefits. So why don’t we always do it? The biggest reason most of us seem to give up, or never get started, is that we are content with where we are. We want to change, but we don’t want to move out of our comfort zone because it’s safe.
The other main reason is that we worry about what other people think. We think we’re not good enough, strong enough or fit enough. It’s far simpler to pretend it’s not possible to do it or we don’t have the time or can’t get to a gym. But if this year has shown us anything, it’s that there is so much we can do without ever visiting a gym:
Dave’s Top Tips
- Home workouts – granted, they’re not for everyone, but you can do as much or as little as you want in the comfort of your own home.
- Walking – Sure, the weather isn’t always great, but that’s what coats and umbrellas are designed for.
- Running or cycling – as above, yes, the weather can be a hindrance, but it’s cheap and effective and gives you time to unwind and feel better about life.
These are three simple and inexpensive things we can do to stay active and enhance our physical and mental health. Add a healthy diet, and you can make some considerable improvements to your quality of life.
Throughout this year, I have spent more time with my family than ever before. Believe me – walks and activities together are as good for mental and physical health as anything else.
While I still use my runs and gym sessions for my own time to de-stress and stay in shape, getting the family involved makes a difference. My boys don’t care about the weather or anything else – they enjoy our time together and want to have fun.
For more info on Dave, visit a-85fitness.co.uk or follow him on Instagram @daveallen_a85fitness.