Lifestyle » Health
Many of us with memberships to commercial gyms still don’t have access because of lockdown restrictions.
In winter many flock to the gym because it’s simply too cold to head outside for that run, cycle or swim. The temperature in the gym is regulated and you can literally train in shorts and a T-shirt.
Unfortunately, we now have to rely on other means of training and other means of keeping ourselves motivated to keep active.
I have always said that the best thing we can all arm ourselves with is a training buddy, whether it is your significant other, a friend or your kid. It’s especially hard nowadays because everyone is social distancing and many of us are physically not seeing our training buddies.
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With everything going virtual, the next best thing is to have virtual training buddies to help keep you accountable.
Many cyclists and runners use apps like Strava and Zwift and virtually train with each other or against each other.
These apps have a competitive element to keep you on your toes so they work for regular athletes. For the rest, a simple WhatsApp group among friends where you share your daily physical activity works just as well.
For example, my mom sends me a screenshot of her daily walks. We don’t walk together at all but it’s a way of keeping herself accountable. If she skips two days without sharing with me, I check in with her to find out why she isn’t training.
You too can do the same with your friends. I also sometimes use virtual friends on the Fitbit app to keep myself accountable. When we have a weekday challenge to see who takes the most steps in the week among a group of virtual friends, no one ever wants to see themselves at the bottom of the list with the least steps.
One of the best advantages of deciding to train with a partner whether physically or virtually is that you are there to hold each other accountable when one of you slips up.
It’s very easy to start making excuses to skip training sessions. To put it into perspective, a 30-minute workout is only 2% of your 24-hour day and a 60-minute one only 4%. That’s only 2% or 4% of your day, so we really have no excuse. Make time. Simple as that.
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To get started, draw up a training schedule and diarise the training sessions in your actual diary. For example, you might decide on a walk or run in the neighbourhood on Mondays, a virtual aerobics or functional workout class on Wednesdays and a virtual yoga or pilates session on Friday.
Once you have a general schedule, you then know you are committed on those particular days. Treat these appointments with your virtual or physical training partner with the utmost respect because they are for your health and general wellbeing. In fact, treat them as you would an important work meeting.
Your training partner is also there to be your support structure and your cheerleader. When you are struggling to keep up they should be there to support you and give you encouragement to keep going.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu; Twitter: @letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu
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