The thought of infinite ‘rest days’ might have seemed appealing at first as we tip-toed our way into self-isolation, but now, aches are becoming more apparent, opening and closing the fridge door is quite often the only ‘reps’ we’re practising and the general feeling is one of sluggishness. The key is to recognise your slump and implement an action plan before your body really starts to play tricks on you because not moving can quickly lead to everything from digestive issues and decreased metabolism to weight gain and low mood.
“Sedentary behaviour has been proven in countless studies to be bad for the body,” explains Matt Lawson, dietician and health expert. “A lack of movement has a direct influence on your muscle mass, effectively reducing the levels of muscle and therefore reducing your metabolism.”
But don’t panic, here’s what you can do to tackle each and every niggle, so you’ll feel nicely nimble for the foreseeable future…
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR UK
Keep your metabolism ticking over
You don’t need a full-on HIIT session, just a half-hour walk is enough to maintain healthy levels of muscle and metabolism Lawson assures us. Strength training is another stellar way to fire up your insides, but forget heavyweights, your own body weight will do. Try 10 push-ups, 15 squats, 10 burpees, a 30-second plank and 15 lunges and you’ll not only get your heart racing, you’ll be surprised at how much stronger you feel after just a few sessions. “Do this routine for 15 minutes every day for a quick and easy burst of activity,” says Lawson.
Out of the exercise arena, keep hydrated. Okay, so the kitchen tap isn’t quite as alluring without those water-cooler moments with colleagues, but your metabolism slows down even if you’re mildly dehydrated. Keep a bottle of water on your desk just like you would at work and aim to refill it every hour. Eating something every four hours is another good way to keep your metabolism ticking over so don’t beat yourself up about snacking, just keep some healthy options to hand. And don’t dramatically cut your calories – doing so could cause you to lose muscle which slows your metabolism so your body will actually burn fewer calories in the long run.