We understand that the recent advice from the Government can be confusing. On one hand, we’ve been told to stay home as much as possible. On the other hand, we’ve also been told that it’s important to keep exercising – and that a walk, run or cycle within 2km of our homes is okay. Many of you have been going for a walk to get out of the house for some fresh air, but it’s actually more important than we realise.
Being physically active is probably the single most important thing that we can do for maintaining or improving our physical and mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19. Physical activity which includes an active lifestyle and routine exercise, like walking, plus eating sensibly is the best way to stay healthy and support your immune system.
Walking is the best form of exercise as it can be tailored to most fitness levels and health needs – and it’s absolutely FREE! All you need is comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing for the weather and you are good to go!
Here are 5 tips to help you get started and stay on track:
1. Go for a stroll after lunch or dinner each day instead of watching television – make this a habit like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins
2. Give yourself an aim like walk to the shop to get milk or post a letter – it helps to have a reason to get to your destination
3. Change your route and explore different paths every day – that way it won’t seem so monotonous and you will gain more appreciation of your the surroundings on your doorstep
4. Take the stairs instead of the lift or go the longer route instead of your normal routine – get those steps up each day
5. Keep track of your progress by using a calendar or a fitness tracker – you will soon see improvements in your timing and want to increase your steps even more!
So how much exercise should we be getting?
Children and Young People (2-18)
All children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening exercises 3 times a week. So children and teenagers should be outside in the garden as much as possible… which gives Mum & Dad some space too!
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week). Go for a walk, run, cycle or take the dog out for a walk – remembering to keep 2 metres (6ft) away from anyone from outside your household. Parents are allowed to include children in their exercise.
Older People (70+)
The Irish Government are strongly advising people over 70 years of age and those with serious underlying medical conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow cocooning measures in order to keep themselves safe.
Under new restrictions, people not ‘cocooning’ can leave their homes for a walk/run within a 2km limit from home.
2kmfromhome.com lets you select your exact location and offers a clear visualisation of where you can go within 2km from your home.