As the news gradually dawns on us through hearsay, received wisdom from other governments and erratic announcements from our own, it’s clear that we’ll be staying indoors for the foreseeable future. Many Brits are wondering how they’ll keep fit and healthy during this difficult time. 

But just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean that it’s months of sofa and ready meal based lockdown. During self isolation or quarantine, you can still keep on top of your fitness and mental wellbeing. Here’s a few things we’re doing to stay fit and healthy during self isolation.

HOME GYM EXERCISES

It’s been reported that gyms are a breeding ground for the virus, with the shared machines, sweat and humidity allowing effortless transmission. Though it seems drastic, it’s wise to avoid working out in such close proximity to others during this time. Your exercise regime doesn’t have to suffer as a result of this responsible approach. In fact, you don’t even need to invest in any home gym equipment, although this certainly helps. By harnessing the power of callisthenics(using your body weight for resistance, the most obvious routine being press ups) you can add bulk without damaging your bank balance.

That said, a few minor investments in some home gym equipment, such as dumbells, a resistance band and a pull up bar, can add huge variety to your workout. You never know, you might emerge from self isolations, squinting into the sun, sure, but looking pretty trim, too. 

Because you’re likely to be living a life more sedentary during this downtime, it’s important to keep flexible in other ways too. Make sure you get the blood pumping with some cardio and aerobic exercise, such as star jumps or running on the spot. It’s basic, we know, but these are unprecedented times. Embracing the power of home yoga, for flexibility and for the soul, is also a wise move when you’re stuck indoors. There are several approachable, accessible yoga apps, as well as guided routines on Youtube, which can help you get started on your yoga journey.

DIET

A shot of turmeric juice each morning, followed by a kale mask and a bath in lemon and honey will not keep the coronavirus at bay. Only structured, systematic nationwide testing, social distancing, self isolation and regular hand washing will do that. But that shouldn’t mean you let your usual healthy diet take a hit. Though we’re all probably anticipating more tinned foods and a lot more pasta taking pride of place at the dinner table, it’s still important to get your fill of vitamins and nutrients during this time, particularly so your immune system remains strong and stable. Perhaps that’s not the most apt phrase, actually.

Anyway, make sure you keep your diet packed with fresh fruit and vegetables. If the panic buying and threat of supply chain collapse have vanquished your local supermarket’s fresh stuff, there’s still plenty of nutrition to be found in the frozen fruit and vegetable section. Peas, spinach, broad beans and sweetcorn are all particularly good from frozen. 

Fermented goods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are also packed full with health benefits; you could do much worse than getting a large sealed pack of the latter from your nearest Chinese supermarket. While you’re there, stock up on some frozen dim sum because, well, we all deserve a treat, right?

VITAMIN D & OTHER SUPPLEMENTS

Though a varied, conscious diet will generally give you ample sustenance, consider supplementing any divergence in your usual healthy diet with vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as Omega 3 tablets if you’re not getting enough oily fish. Vitamin D is particularly important right now, since you may not be seeing much sunlight. Local pharmacies sell dedicated Vitamin D supplements; it’d be sensible to stock up. 

MIND THAT MIND, TOO

The 24 hour rolling news coverage of disaster and catastrophe, accompanied by the Twitterati’s panic inducing commentary, is enough to cause anxiety and distress in even the calmest soul. Don’t neglect your mental health during self isolation. Sometimes it can be the last thing you prioritise during a tough time, but some introspection and self care is vital.

Use the time to meditate regularly and take stock (no, not stockpiling guys) of the situation. Just ten minutes a day can do wonders in realigning your perspective. If you’re new to the wonderful world of ‘taking a moment’, there are plenty of apps offering guided meditations and mindfulness exercises for a monthly fee. On Monday, March 16th Beejameditation launched an initiative to offer daily (at noon) guided meditations to those self isolating, for free.

Indeed, acts of altruism can help you put things in perspective, too, and are vital at a time when food banks are struggling and the homeless are particularly at risk from illness. Do donate to local food banks (you’ll find dedicated baskets at the doors of most supermarkets) and give generously to the homeless and those in need. If you’re able and well, offer to get shopping in for any elderly neighbours, too. We’re all in this together, after all.

KEEP THOSE VICES IN CHECK

Sure, the temptation during an extended period at home with not much on the agenda is strong; to pickle yourself in gin, cloud yourself in smoke, and wait for normality to resume. But this won’t do any good for your immune system, which needs to be in good shape to keep viruses at bay. Though nobody’s watching, to caution or chastise you, it’s sensible to exercise moderation so you’re fighting fit. 

It’s responsible to note that MDMA and cocaine can have a particularly pronounced short term impact on your immune system – acting as immunosuppressants – so perhaps resist the pingers until there’s a dancefloor open again? And if you’re snorting anything, be scrupulous about avoiding note sharing.