“Trying to be productive and exercise has definitely been tricky. I miss the social interaction of team sports,” says Fiona Harris, one of millions of Melburnians stuck in lockdown.
With exercise limited to one hour a day and group activities banned, team sports like netball and football, as well as outdoor exercise classes, are just a memory.
And switching the couch for one hour of limited outdoor exercise can be harder than it seems.
“It’s the same thing every day and that gets boring – we’re in a loop,” Fiona says.
One result is that internet usage has risen by 65 per cent daily during the lockdown, according to the NBN.
Carla Centrone, a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, says there are ways to increase motivation and make the most of time outdoors.
1. Find an exercise buddy
Choosing between outdoor exercise or finishing a Netflix series can be hard.
“Because there’s not much to do, I’ve lost a fair bit of motivation,” says Fiona.
Carla suggests finding a friend to exercise with and making yourself accountable.
“My personal favourite is going for a socially distanced jog with a friend – you get your exercise and social time in one go,” she says.
“It’s nice to get out of the house and in the fresh air chatting, rather than constantly communicating over messages. It can also help contribute to a more positive mindset.”
Just having someone to meet can encourage you to get outdoors, particularly when you’re not feeling fully up to it.
2. Schedule it
Whether you’re exercising by yourself, or with a friend, finding time in schedules can be a barrier to overcome. It’s important to allocate and set a time of day to go outdoors and exercise.
“Try get out every day at an hour that suits you,” says Carla.
“Having only one hour outside to exercise can be tough, but as long as you’re optimising that time, it can be a great part of your day.”
If you’re trying to compare schedules with a friend, Google Calendar is one way of linking schedules to find the perfect hour to get exercising.
3. Plan your workout
A workout or exercise plan to complete can help optimise time outdoors and is a great way to stay on track.
“Planning your exercise makes it more efficient. If you plan for nothing, you get what you planned for,” says Carla.
There are a number of apps and sites to help you stay on track, such as Apple iPhone’s built in health feature or training apps like the Nike Training Club. These can help track steps and kilometres walked, as well as setting workouts and goals.
If you have a plan to follow, you are going to be more motivated and the exercise you do will be more efficient,” says Carla.
“One idea that can be tailored to many fitness levels is the one-minute interval technique,” says Carla.
“After warming up, run for one minute and walk for two minutes. Do this four to 10 times.”
4. Make sure to rest
While it’s important to move your body and make the most of outdoor time, it’s okay to need rest days and lack motivation.
“A lack of motivation is normal, some days you’ll have more motivation than others, especially during this time,” Carla says.
When struggling to find motivation, consider the benefits of regular exercise, such as reducing the risk of developing health conditions, as well as contributing to a positive mindset.
“It can also help with a better night’s sleep – and who wouldn’t want that?” she says.