Your normal exercise routine is very likely to have been severely impacted by the current COVID-19 outbreak. The demands of remote working or home-schooling kids may be keeping you busy, you may be working long hours in an essential role or, alternatively, you may be waiting at home for normal life to resume.
Whatever your situation, staying active now has never been more important. Keeping physically active is vital for both your physical and your mental health and wellbeing. Being active can help you deal with anxiety and stress and getting outdoors, if you can, is really important.
You can listen to our radio ad on staying active here.
Activity at home
There are lots of options to keep fit if you have to remain at home.
The guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity five days a week for adults, but short bouts of physical activity (even 10 minutes at a time) can quickly add up to 30 minutes. For kids it’s 60 minutes a day –and we have lots more information for them below.
The important thing is that no matter what your age or circumstance you need to keep moving, so make sure to include some physical activity in your daily plan.
Sport Ireland has created an information hub
to help keep you active and informed. This hub includes a list
of great resources to help you stay active and healthy at home, here are just a few:
Athletics Ireland have a range of home workout skills and drills videos that you can follow from your own home or garden. You can watch one of their videos here and on the Athletics Ireland channel
the Camogie Association have plenty of skills challenges to keep you sharp. A full range of exercises and challenges are available on camogie.ie
Special Olympics Ireland are releasing exercises for their athletes every day for the coming weeks. The inclusive exercises will focus on endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Everyone in the family is encouraged to take part in the daily challenges. For more information follow @specialolympicsireland on Facebook
the swimming pools may be shut at the moment but Swim Ireland
have put together a guide to keeping fit and staying healthy during COVID-19
the Sport Ireland Local Sports Partnership Network
is continuing to help people to get physically active and participating in sport in the community through innovative programmes, live workouts, skills challenges, regular social media content and much more
Sport Ireland's social media channels will be updated with advice on how to stay active daily. We recommend you follow them here: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Continue to spend time outdoors if you can. Fresh air is vital for the physical and mental health of the whole family. It can help improve our mood, reduce stress and anxiety and enhance self-esteem and sense of wellbeing.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get the exercise you need while keeping safe:
current advice states that you can go no more than 5 kilometres from your home and maintain social distancing of 2 metres from other people who aren’t your household members
walking is a great way to get outside for fresh air and some gentle exercise. The most important thing is to aim for a pace that slightly raises your heartbeat and makes you breathe a little faster and feel a little warmer. Once you can still talk, you're doing well!
the GAA have launched the Irish Life Healthy Club Steps Challenge.
Running from June 3rd to 30th, this challenge asks all GAA clubs to register their club's participation by June 1st, get a minimum of 15 participants from their club (they must be over 18) and get walking. The club with the highest number of steps in each province will win a €2,500 O'Neills voucher.
plan your outdoor exercise. If you are within advisable distance of parks or green areas, going out at quieter times of day is always a good option
Sport Ireland have produced guidelines for exercising safely outdoors, following the Phase 1 easing of restrictions from 18th May.
Stay Local, Stay Apart, and Stay Safe in the Outdoors
Guidelines for Exercising in the Outdoors From 18 May – 8 June from Sport Ireland
When the UV index is 3 or above you need to protect your skin. In Ireland, the UV index is usually 3 or above from April to September, even when it is cloudy. Limit time in the sun when UV is strongest, typically between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
The best way to protect your skin is to be SunSmart and follow the 5S's - Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide.
Slip on Clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
Slop on Broad-Spectrum (UVA/UVB) Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection, and water resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
Slap on a Wide Brimmed Hat: Protect your face, ears and neck.
Seek Shade: Sit in cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
Slide on Sunglasses: Guard your eyes from harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
You can find more information on protecting your skin here
You can listen to our radio ad on protecting your skin here
Keeping kids active
Kids need to be active every day. All activity, no matter how short, counts. Keeping kids active helps them to build strong muscles, healthy bones, agility and co-ordination, while improving self-esteem, mood, energy and sleep patterns.
kids should play and be active at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day
if you have a garden playing games outside as a family is a great way to get some fresh air and physical activity in without even thinking. There are some great ideas at START
to get you started
there’s some brilliant weekly skill drills and wellbeing challenges being developed by top GAA players and coaches to help everyone stay active and stay well while staying home. Why don’t you get everyone to join in and become part of the team? All details are available here
or just follow your local GAA club our county social media accounts
parkrun also have a range of videos called School of parkrun,
setting daily parkrun themed tasks covering 5 subjects; English, Maths, Science, Geography, and Art
Starting from Monday 27 April, Active Home Week aims to motivate young people to keep active at home by trying out new activities, taking on challenges and having fun with family activities. To complete the challenge, young people have to find four different ways of being active every day, making sure that this adds up to 60 minutes or more, of physical activity. All members of the family are encouraged to take part. Go to activeschoolflag.ie
for more information
sometimes all you need is a wall and a hurley/football/tennis racket and a ball
babies and toddlers need to be physically active too. Chasing games and music and action songs are a great way to encourage them to be physically active or try also, light activities, such as building blocks or playing on the floor
ball activities like kicking, catching and throwing
copycat activities such as skip, jump, hop
Here is one example of activity to keep your little ones busy while they are off school. Joe Wicks aka the Body Coach is doing a live workout every weekday morning at 9am. It’s aimed at kids but parents are very welcome to join in too!
Activity for Older People
As you get older it is really important to stay active, and this is even more so the case if you are cocooning.
Being active can help your body to stay strong and supple, improve balance and coordination aiding in falls prevention, cheers you up and boosts your energy.
Just 30 minutes activity a day could have a huge impact on your health.
Here are some tips to get you going:
light housework, gardening or walking around your farm are all good ways to keep active while staying safe
have some great exercise videos on their YouTube page
you can also find some strengthening exercises for older adults developed by HSE Physiotherapists in association with Cork Healthy Cities here
the HSE also have some more tips and info on indoor exercises for older people here