Making the most of your daily exercise

Ed Tebbs, Runnymede Explored project volunteer Ed Tebbs Runnymede Explored project volunteer
Cyclist by the Thames

During this time of national isolation, it can be very easy to feel unmotivated and unproductive. However, changing your daily exercise activity each day will differentiate your routine significantly. While we’re all itching to have fun in the sunshine, social distancing regulations should continue to be followed at all times. Please be courteous and mindful of others when you’re out and about. Here’s an example of ways you can shake up your daily activity and feel connected with the outside world.

The world’s first recognised bicycle was given to us in 1817 by German Baron Karl von Drais. His Laufmaschine, which translates into ‘Running-machine’ was the world’s first steerable, two-wheeled, human-propelled, commercialized exercise machine. Over two centuries later, the bicycle is one of the most dependable and accessible means of traveling distances using only self-generated energy. So, whether you’re a seasoned cycling pro or you’ve got one in the garage somewhere, it’s the perfect time to get out on your bike. Plan a few local routes beforehand and have a go at each of them throughout the week. If you have a competitive nature, challenge your friends. Time each other’s routes and try to get faster each cycle. Having a fun, daily challenge to look forward to will help your overall mood and keep your mind and body active.

When we’re spending all day inside, we’re cutting ourselves off from the natural world. Unfortunately, this means we’ll be depriving ourselves of many of the environmental influences that contribute to our wellbeing. It’s well-known that getting enough sun is vital to our health. The sun’s rays give us vitamin D which keeps our skin healthy and helps our brains to function. They also help our sleep patterns, put us in positive moods, and boost our immune systems. Plant-life, aside from giving us our valuable oxygen, act as stress-relievers, and help reduce our sensations of boredom. Use your daily outside activity to walk to a nearby park or woodland. Focus on all the stimulating sensory information you’re receiving and appreciate how it’s making you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Obviously, many people will be isolating in urban areas where it’s difficult to walk to green places. But that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home with comforting house plants. A real sense of triumph and progress is obtained watching your plants shoot and grow. They’ll purify your air for you and make you feel better about having to spend so much time inside. They’re very low maintenance too, often only requiring water and different degrees of sunlight. Popular plants such as the Spider Plant and the Dracaena make for the perfect windowsill roommate. So, to help ease the stress of isolation, consider adding a humble house-plant to your shopping list essentials.