The Benefit Of Exercise As COVID-19 Restrictions Start To Get Lifted

We might be quite a few weeks in and restrictions are starting to be lifted, but it’s unsure when the gym will be open with many still opting to exercise from home.

You might have been doing workouts from online apps and YouTube clips and using filled water bottles as weights, but I also wanted to get advice from a woman I trust the most and who always makes sense out of this workout world for me… Ella Martyn.


How important is it to keep fit at the moment? 

Very important and not just for our physical health but our mental health too.  People exercises because of the way it makes them feel, we get a good dose of those feel-good hormones released when we exercise. We are also spending way more time indoors which has resulted in a drastically reduced general non-exercise activity or NEAT. This reduction in NEAT can affect our energy expenditure, coupled with being at home, at the temptations to eat and drink more this is not good for our waistlines – post-COVID-19.


With no confirmed date about gyms reopening and many possibly still not wanting to attend when they do, what is the best way someone can exercise? 

There is now a light at the end of the tunnel with updates to the gym opening stage 2. It will be different and we can’t go back to how we were training before but it’s great that we have a date.

I think this situation has proven that you don’t need a gym to stay fit and active. So many people have gotten super creative with home training. More people are out and about walking too. With a selection of bands, body weight, and an understanding of overload principles anyone can get a really good workout, anywhere. 


Are there any apps or online programs that you think are particularly effective? 

I have a free home-based training program that’s is simple and can be modified to suit your equipment, training ability, and training days.


Being at home can make you sluggish and just wanting to Netflix and chill, especially coming up to winter.  What are some ways to stay motivated to exercise? 

Like anything, a plan and routine is key to success. So block out your training time in your calendar. I also find multitasking when heading out for a walk really beneficial. I’ll listen to a podcast, write some content, or respond to emails. You can also do walking calls rather than sat down desk calls.

It’s also important to check in with yourself. Yes, it’s getting colder and your motivation might be low, but weigh up what you want most vs what you want now. Is sitting on the sofa watching Netflix conducive to your goals? To your health? To your mental health? Can you do the things you know that are good for you first, then relax on the sofa?


How often should we be doing exercise?

I think 1hr of movement a day is reasonable for most people to achieve. That can be 2x 30-min walks, a yoga class, weight training the type of exercise is really dependent on the individual their goals and what they enjoy.

For those that are becoming very worried about not being able to work out like they used to, the impact it will have on their body and their self-esteem, what advice do you have to mentally help them deal with this?

I pretty much told all my clients this COVID-19 phase is a maintenance phase. We want to preserve lean muscle tissue. Which is achievable with much less training volume that people think. If you can get enough stimulus and this can be achieved through tempo, pause reps’ bands, etc. it’s also been an eye-opening training experience for my clients and most people who thought the same. That you couldn’t get a good session done without load or being in the gym. It’s actually allowed them to connect with their body, recruit and engage the right muscles and work ok weak areas otherwise neglected.

It’s also been a great opportunity for people to work on their nutritional behaviours. Time was always the issue, but for many of us being at home we got a lot of time back. It’s been great for those that wanted to take action and use this unique time in life to get better nutrition habits, cook more, and actually achieve some fat loss results too.

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