Focus on mental and physical health during lock-down, say health experts

Lauren Manlow and a fitness class at One Leisure

Lauren Manlow and a fitness class at One Leisure - Credit: Archant

Fitness experts and gyms in Huntingdonshire are making sure we keep our health in check during coronavirus isolation – from streaming 80s inspired aerobics to tips to improve mobility.

“Exercise boosts your levels of serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone’, therefore boosting your mood and reducing levels of anxiety you may be experiencing right now,” Lauren Manlow, who is a personal trainer in the district, said.

“Video sessions help give clients a structure and routine that’s as close to normality as possible.”

It comes as global health officials advised last week that people should “exercise, maintain a healthy diet and stop drinking and smoking” during the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also said people should get up for at least three minutes every hour to avoid sitting time and use household chores to stay active.

Everyone should aim for a daily goal such as 30 minutes of activity, and online classes, strolls in the park and dancing to music could also help, the WHO said.

Lauren, from Lauren Jay Fitness, in St Neots, has taken her classes online during to help her clients stick to their fitness goals while undergoing the lifestyle change.

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She trained as a professional dancer before becoming an instructor seven years ago, usually seeing clients in Eaton Socon at The Fitness Forge and holding BarreConcept classes in Godmanchester.

“I am continuing client’s training sessions as normal via Skype and FaceTime during isolation,” she explained.

“They perform their training sessions in their homes, with what equipment they have while I coach them through it.

“I have also set up a private Facebook group where they get daily content on nutrition, mindset strategies and workouts to help support them through this time.”

But for others who are stuck indoors without gym membership or equipment, Lauren suggested hitting a daily step count of 8,000 to 10,000 steps.

She added: “I don’t recommend anything high impact if you’re not used to it, but to get some steps in while social distancing will help to improve the mobility in your joints, which is always a good place to start.”

Those suffering from an underlying health conditions were also found to have their mental health negatively impacted by the coronavirus compared to those with no such health issues.

A survey by Rehab 4 Addiction found more than 30 per cent of those suffering from an underlying health condition said their mental health had been “extremely” impacted.

Oliver Clark, admissions manager, said: “Respondents revealed their use of alcohol and recreational drugs had not increased due to the pandemic, but the fear is that if more focus is not placed on the mental and physical health aspect of the pandemic, more and more people could turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of self-medicating these mental health problems.”

Elsewhere, One Leisure Huntingdon is sharing videos, nutritional advice, exercise ideas and fun photos of those taking part on their social media.

Videos range from football challenges, circuits, aerobics and yoga and can all be done at home in the garden or living room.

One Leisure closed all their centres with immediate effect from March 20, including facilities in Huntingdon, Ramsey, St Ives, St Neots, St Ives Outdoor centre and the Training Shed, in St Ives.

A spokesperson for One Leisure said: “We’ve been working hard with our instructors to bring you workouts and classes to help you keep active at home.

“You can find these on our One Leisure YouTube channel don’t forget to subscribe to see new workouts when they’re added.

“Please ensure the exercises, weights or equipment are suitable for you when following our videos.

“Only do what you are comfortable with and what is suitable for your fitness level.

“One Leisure strongly recommends consulting your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.”