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
Don’t let your digestion get lazy
“Physical activity helps bowel movements as well as absorption of maximum micronutrients from the food we eat which is why sitting still for too long can cause problems with normal healthy digestion and even cause problems like constipation,” continues Lawson. Alarm bells ringing? Make a habit of not sitting down again immediately after you’ve eaten – your body needs time to digest so why not factor in any calls you need to make post-lunch and take them standing up or aim for a walk-and-talk session, even if it’s just meandering around your lounge.
If you’re finding you’re struggling with bloating more than normal, now’s the time to add in some strategic yoga stretches. Downward dogs, seated twists and hugging your knees to your chest while you lie on your back should ease any discomfort and help keep things moving. Even some deep breathing can help. “Your digestion is reliant on not only movement of the gut muscle walls which is controlled by your automatic nervous system but also your diaphragm which acts as a bellow with a massaging action to encourage your food to move along your bowels,” explains holistic health practitioner, Nish Joshi.
And if you do suffer with tummy troubles, think about adding in a probiotic as alongside the lack of movement, stress and a general change in routine can cause inflammation of the gut. Recent research also shows how collagen peptides can improve digestion and boost energy levels so if you’ve discarded those beauty supplements you once splashed out on, it could be time to reinstate them as it won’t just be your hair, skin and nails that thanks you for it.