Most of us are now getting a bit fed up of these restrictive measures in lockdown 3.0 but it’s important we stick to them. We are allowed out once a day for exercise and we should make the most of it! A lot of people have had their normal daily routine interrupted over the past 10 months, working from home and our normal exercise regimes may also have been affected. Maintaining an exercise regime may seem like the least of your worries at the moment but speaking from experience it can be key for mental health.

Throughout the pandemic I have worked from home and my motivation to train has suffered. I’m a triathlete whose favourite discipline is swimming so that has been taken away from me most with the pools being closed and open water swimming being very temperature dependent! This, alongside having no races to train for, affected my motivation. I started sleeping in past my alarm (I’m a morning exercise person!), then putting of my run or bike session till my lunch break, then putting it off again so I wasn’t ‘rushed’ on my break, then getting to the evening and not wanting to leave the house because of any excuse I could think of! I realised fairly quickly this was sending me on a downward spiral, I was isolating myself further and not getting any fresh air! I became restless and anxious very quickly.

I needed some kind of structure to my day and training helped provide that normality. It was suddenly like a switch had been flicked in my head and I realised I needed to exercise to maintain my mental health, on my own or with one other person. I started even doing my turbo in the morning in the garage and then using my lunch break to go on a walk with a friend instead. I’m so glad I realised this early on and it’s made the other lockdowns a lot easier. The structure to my day made me more productive and I felt like I had achieved something with my day! I was also sleeping better and generally started to have a more positive outlook on the future. Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for staying healthy both physically and mentally.

My tips for staying active during lockdown:

1. Make a plan.
Create yourself a weekly schedule on what you will do when and try your best to stick to it. That’s right, even if It’s raining go out and get that run done. If it’s icy, replace it with a walk but don’t give in to doing nothing.

2. Find a time that works for you.
Exercising for me used to be best in the morning before work but now as someone who works from home I find training at lunch time is better as it breaks my day up (Also making the most of daylight which is a bonus).

3. Say it out loud!
Tell someone you’re going to do this, share it with a friend, motivate each other and be accountable for your actions. You’ll be less likely to skip a session if someone is asking you how it went.

4. Be specific in your goals and track your workouts.
When you write your plan set yourself small but achievable goals, time goals are best as if you have to change a workout e.g. from a run to a walk because it’s icy it’s still achievable! Tracking your workouts can help with your sense of achievement, encouragement and also help keep you accountable.

5. Try to get outside once a day.
Although you could technically do all of your exercise indoors, try to get outside once a day, the fresh air and sunshine will further boost your mental health.

Exercise can help us get through this. Stay positive and keep moving forward. Share your lockdown training on social media and tag @scienceinsport, remember to check out SIS range to fuel your training goals!


Written by: Dr Emily Jevons

Emily has worked with Science in Sport since 2021. With a PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, she currently provides nutritional advice for endurance athletes. Emily not only understands the science behind performance nutrition solutions, but also the physiological and psychological demands of sport after competing competitively in swimming and triathlon for a number of years.