Keeping Healthy at Home: What you can do to keep moving during lockdown
For many of us, the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation on Monday 23rd March were totally unprecedented. Being asked to limit our outside movements to only the most essential journeys are mandatory guidelines few ever expected to hear during peacetime. Whilst it is extremely important to adhere to the new guidelines to save lives and ease the burden on the NHS, it is also crucial we all do our best to ensure we remain healthy at home during these uncertain times, in part for the immediate benefit of our health, but also to reduce the risk of developing or worsening chronic health conditions with a long-term view of easing the strain on our healthcare system.
The government has recognised that the ‘draconian’ measures in place are highly likely to have a detrimental impact on physical and mental well-being, particularly for those who have been asked to self-isolate for a period of 12-weeks. However, they have repeatedly stressed the importance of doing what we can to stay as active as possible. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways of keeping active around the house, and here at KiActiv® because we know physical activity is multi-dimensional, we are well placed to help you find the value in your everyday movement. We have had 1000s users come through our various programmes, which enables us to draw valuable insights from over 100 million minutes of real-life data.
For this blog, we analysed our database to find common examples of home-based activities our clients have tagged with the purpose of shining a light on the various different ways we can keep ourselves moving during self-isolation. Cooking, cleaning and tidying popped up regularly, suggesting that the mundane household chores we wouldn’t traditionally consider as physical activity are actually great sources of movement. Other household activities such as vacuuming, DIY, baking, playing the Wii and doing the washing up all appeared frequently, underlining the countless possibilities for physical activity within the confines of our homes.
If you are fortunate enough to have a garden at home, getting outside presents a number of opportunities to keep active such as digging, weeding and mowing the lawn. All are great examples of everyday activities we could think about incorporating into our new way of life. What’s more important perhaps is realising that the same activity can be a different intensity depending on the individual. Walking was a popular activity amongst KiActiv® users, and was by far the most tagged activity in our user database. Of these walks, 48% were classed as light intensity, whilst 40% were moderate intensity.
This highlights that physical activity is personal to each of us and what works for one person could be different from the next. The more important take home is that walking is an extremely effective way of keeping active, so where possible, we should make the most of our opportunity to get out of the house – but make sure to follow government guidelines and limit this to local activity once per day.
Due to the wide-ranging age demographic of KiActiv® users, we were also able to get an idea regarding how the average intensity of activity changes as we age. Generally speaking, the percentage of tagged activities that were a light intensity increased with age, whilst the opposite was seen for both moderate and vigorous intensity activity.
We know that activity is multi-dimensional, so activity does not need to be strenuous to carry benefits. Whether your focus be on minimising your daily non-sedentary time or increasing your weekly vigorous bouts of activity, it’s all good for our health. Recognising that activity is multi-dimensional allows us to find the true value in each and every movement we make, providing us with a vital piece of the puzzle to keeping healthy at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The KiActiv® Team