On Monday the 4th of May 2021, Malaysia is relaxing it’s MCO restrictions. The government has bought it’s healthcare system some time to be prepared (as of May 1st when the announcement was made, of the 1500 available ventilators in the country, only 14 we being used), but it literally can’t afford to buy any more time with an estimated RM2.4billion being lost by the local economy daily.
Sense has prevailed and we are being allowed out of our homes to exercise, but indoor sports with a greater transmission risk are still off the menu. That means gym facilities remain closed.
So, what does that mean for your health and fitness goals? Well, the good news is that two very important factors are now going to improve: your NEAT and your sun exposure. Another subliminal contributor to your progress that we’re also expecting to see positively affected is your mood.
Your psychological health has quite a significant effect on your physical well-being. Prolonged periods of stress result in your hormones downregulating functions that get in the way of staying on “high alert”. The main aspect that has had an evolutionary affect on our mood has been the prospect of danger, in which times our digestive systems, our reproductive systems and even our growth systems take a back seat. None of this is good news for your physical state, with your food assimilation, your testosterone production and your anabolic hormones suffering respectively.
Whilst the financial turmoil that many are facing as part of the strangled economy may still cause concern and worry, the ability to go for a stroll in the sun should do wonders for mental health. The sun exposure will also have a positive effect on mood and performance, with studies having shown low testosterone correlating with vitamin D deficiency. If you’re looking for more information on how this will also improve the quality of your sleep, check out our previous blog post titled “Embrace The Sun”.
Being able to “get your steps in” will also help many struggling with weight management, which is effectively just calorie-balance management. Time spent walking outdoors is time spent not sat on the sofa eating crisps, and suddenly the scales are quite literally getting tipped in the other direction. The movement you’re able to get in just through walking and being active throughout your day doesn’t just contribute far more calories than a single workout, but it also helps provide a lot of the crucial forces and motion required for joint health. If you‘ve noticed you suddenly have stiff knees, hips or a sore back in the past month, this is likely why.
If you’re still working from home, the beauty of not having to worry about office attire or getting a little bit sweaty is you can now schedule work calls to take place whilst you’re walking outdoors in the sun. Whether that’s laps of your condo grounds or a long walk to get takeaway lunch from down the road, this is an awesome way to keep moving and active whilst also being efficient with your to-do list.
If the lingering thought in your mind is “yes, but what am I going to do about building muscle??” then you’ve obviously missed our guide to building your own home workout. The principles of muscle building remain, but one thing to keep in mind is that they also apply to how you dose your cardio. If you are going to start jogging again then try not to fly out of the traps with a 30-minute run on day one (and maybe not the day after a heavy leg session). Think of the number of reps that is putting your calves through, the total, cumulative force suddenly being placed on your knee joints, after 6 weeks of recording TikTok videos for cardio. You’ll end up sore and house-ridden again after Day 1, and the key here is (just like with resistance training) getting progressive work done on a daily basis.
The issue that you’ll face is because you used to be capable of X-minutes of running, your muscles may well get you through that without feeling like death (your lung capacity is another question), however your chances of injury are high due to your brain’s neural association with that much joint strain having been reduced and your ability to recover from it being lower too.
Go for something comically easy on Day 1, barely breaking a sweat, and focus on using a lot of time to limber up with very gradual movements and cool down.The speed you run at is also very relevant, not just the duration. Depending on how diligent you’ve been with your training and taking your joints through their capable range of contractile positions under load/force, they will not be prepared for anything more.
Consider the range of joint positions required by the man jogging in the left photo and the man sprinting in the right one. Consider the difference in the amount of force required to be produced when his feet make contact with the floor. If someone has done a lot of sprint work in the past, they will re-adapt quickly. A less well rehearsed individual will take longer. Ignore your “calories” burnt numbers and focus on only taking your body from sofa to sprinter over the course of a week or two
If you’re desperate to make up for lost time and fat stores gained, take solace in the fact that getting your heart rate to 80/90% of its max or getting out of breath is not necessary for this to happen. It can improve the efficiency of the effects of your exercise and has important health benefits, but it is not immediately necessary for weight management. Stick to what will allow you to keep moving every day - 300 calories burnt daily on walks is significantly more impactful than 500 calories burnt on a run one day, followed by 2 or 3 days sore on the sofa.
Still not confident of managing this dosage of cardio + resistance training yourself? Contact us through any of our social channels to get connected to the perfect coach for your goals and requirements.