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Fitness at Home

We miss our long dog walks along the jaw-dropping coastal path from Port Isaac to Padstow for well-deserved fish and chips at the end. Oh to be in and out of the waves on the sweeping sandy beach at Polzeath, salty hair and vitamin D-soaked faces. It’s very easy to keep active and healthy without really thinking about it when on holiday here in North Cornwall. And the relaxing bottle of Sauvignon Blanc enjoyed from a coastal garden or sea-view balcony is all the better when the body feels weary from an active day walking, cycling, horse riding or surfing. That said, we’re channeling these energies into keeping fit at home and sharing some top tips for staying physically and mentally strong whilst staying at home.

Green-fingered Goddess

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you could be burning 300 calories an hour without even realising. Gardening gives all major muscles a good workout, including legs, bottom, core for stabilising, neck, and back. The phrase ‘back-breaking’ is often associated with gardening, but just make sure you warm by and cool down to avoid this – perhaps with a walk around your garden (dreaming of a sea breeze). Also, just as you would carry a bottle of water with you on your coastal walk, don’t forget to hydrate as you garden – or maybe a stop for a cup of herbal tea as a break. We like making our own by popping some fresh mint leaves into a cup of boiling water.

If you’re taking advantage of the glorious weather and channeling your inner Charlie Dimmock with your very own veg plot, why not add some superfoods such as onions and garlic. Rubber beans are very prolific and a good source of potassium. Berries are full of vitamins, plus the grandkids will love picking them. If space is a problem, microgreens are amazing nutrient powerhouses that you can grow on your (south-facing) windowsills. Gardening is practiced by the world’s healthiest nations, like Japan, which has the world’s highest concentration of healthy centenarians.

gardening at home

Top-to-Bottom Workout

Turn cleaning into a workout and you’ll perhaps find that motivation you need to drag yourself away from the sunny garden. So swap the lycra cycling shorts for a pair of marigolds and work on some bingo-wing busting scrubbing or tummy toning vacuuming. Yes, vacuuming for 30 minutes burns around 90 calories, so turn it into a work out by doing the whole house in one. Make sure you have the brushes on for extra resistance, and you are also toning your stomach as the back and forth motion works the abs. Do an all over house dust, stretching up high and squatting low and you’ll burn 100 calories an hour. This is also really good as a yoga-like workout, keeping muscles and joints nice and supple. Face the awful job of cleaning the oven and try to use both arms at once – really give it some welly and you’re in fact doing a shoulder workout. Next up in your cleaning workouts the bathroom, where you can burn an amazing 200 calories in 30 minutes because it involves lots of scrubbing but also stretching and bending too. Pop your favourite high-tempo Vivaldi or golden oldie favourites and get the most out of your cleaning workout.

Keeping the house clean from top to bottom 

Hula Hoop Health

Not only is hula hooping lots go fun it is also a great exercise for a slimmer waist and hip health too. Make sure you have an adult hoop. It should reach your waist when next to your body. Start with a simple ‘back-and-forth’ spin, which is where you have your feet in front of each other, one forward and one backward. The motion is back and forth as you spin the hoop around your waist. Then move to ‘side-to-side’ spin, where you stand with feet hip-width apart and you hula from side-to-side. To get abs of steel – well almost – see how long you can complete the motion of gentle squats at the same time as hula’ing.

Hula your way through isolation

Live-Stream Workout Class

A wonderful outcome of the current quarantine is that people are turning their living rooms and bedrooms into gyms, using chairs and tins of beans to create a perfect at-home workout. Some popular ones are Davina McCall’s ‘Own Your Goals’ or Joe Wicks for a fun family PE class. We recommend that you choose a personal trainer or class that you will keep up with, such as Zumba or dance classes perhaps rather than an intensive HIIT. Set a weekly schedule as this helps give you some routine. Remember to build up your fitness slowly, take rests when you need to and don’t worry about completing the full set of repetitions or sets if you are struggling. It is more important to show up daily than push yourself too much in one session and be put off for a week. If 10 minutes of sustained moderate exertion three times a week is enough to keep for NASA astronauts, then it’s good enough for us too!

A virtual gym class