You don't need to be taught that daily physical activity, just like a good night's sleep, is essential to stay in shape. It keeps your joints and muscles supple and strong.
In osteopathy, the lack of physical activity is widely recognized for its major contribution to the development of painful muscle or joint disorders. And with confinement, physical activity often becomes rarer.
By contributing to better sleep, regular physical activity also strengthens our immune system and thus helps our body fight viruses. Confinement forces many of us to continue training at home.
With these 5 confinement physical activities, you are ready for a good home workout! To avoid injury, make sure to warm up your joints and muscles before you start.
This is a very good home exercise to start your training. The plank is an abdominal sheathing exercise that is done while maintaining a static position:
On a mat, place your elbows and forearms on the floor, joining your hands together. Between your elbows and shoulders, keep your arms vertical. Apart from your elbows and forearms, only the tips of your feet touch the floor.
Adjust the height of your pelvis: your head, back, and legs should be aligned and straight; this is the purpose of the exercise. You can place a mirror on the side to help you.
- Hold this position for 60 seconds, and repeat the exercise 5 times in a row with 10 seconds between each.
Squats are also a very good home exercise. They are an excellent way to strengthen your thighs and legs:
- In a standing position, join your hands in front of you with your arms bent, and spread your feet shoulder-width apart.
While keeping your back straight, bend your knees slowly as you inhale. Move down as far as you can without losing your balance. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Always keeping your back straight, slowly move back up to the starting point by stretching your knees for the time of exhalation.
Repeat at least 30 times in a row each day.
Another great classic of home exercising! Push-ups tone the arms’ muscles (especially the triceps) and pectorals (among others).
As with the plank, care must be taken to keep the head, trunk, and legs well aligned throughout the exercise:
Return to the plank position, then place your palms just outside of your elbow prints on the mat. This time the forearms remain vertical.
With your arms straight, take a deep breath. Hold the breath for 1 second, and slowly begin to descend by bending your elbows, over the time of the exhalation.
- Ideally, the chin and torso touch the mat at the same time. Maintain this position, with your back straight, and take another breath. Again, keep the apnea 1 second before slowly ascending while exhaling.
Repeat at least 3 sets of 10 push-ups per day, with a 15-second break between each set for beginners.
Feet can be raised to add a little extra height to the exercise.
Indispensable among home physical exercises, crunches help strengthen the abdominal muscles but also many other muscles:
On a mat, lie on your back and bend your knees at 90°, feet on the ground. Place your fingertips against your temples (rather than crossing your hands behind your neck) for more efficiency.
As you inhale, slowly roll your head and then your bust towards your knees at a constant speed (without jerks) until your shoulders come off the mat. The pelvis and feet remain against the floor.
- Still slowly and at a constant speed, lower your shoulders toward the mat while exhaling, but without resting your back on the mat.
Repeat at least 3 sets of 10 crunches per day, with a 15-second break between each set for beginners.
The difficulty can be increased by keeping the legs stretched at 45°.
To complement this home training in confinement, lunges are a very effective method for strengthening the thighs and buttocks.
Again, it is important to keep your back straight throughout this exercise. It is also important to keep your shoulders and pelvis aligned:
In a standing position, move one foot forward about half a step and place your hands on your hips. This is an asymmetrical exercise, where you work one leg after the other.
As you inhale, slowly lower your pelvis to the ground, bending the knee of the leg that is being advanced up to 90° (in line with the heel, which should not be overshot). The descent is done vertically: neither the pelvis, the trunk nor the shoulders go forward.
Slowly return to the initial position over the exhalation time and repeat these three steps 10 times in a row.
- Repeat the same exercise with the opposite leg.
Do at least 3 sets of 10 flexions/extensions for each leg each day.
A good COVID home workout would not be complete without proper stretching after the effort. Stretching helps to relax your muscles after a series of contractions, and thus, prevent excessive stiffening. Hence, we avoid contractures at the end of the day and in the following days.
A healthy diet and a good night's sleep are also valuable assets to reduce aches and pains.
That said, after a long period without regular physical activity, it is quite normal to have some contractures after resuming sport. Console yourself: with regularity and appropriate stretching, muscle aches will disappear.
If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to ask your osteopath for advice.
Putting in place a workout routine at home is beneficial on many levels: to your muscles, bones, immune system, sleep, cardiovascular system, and many others... even to your mental state! And especially during this long-lasting pandemic.
All these benefits are well worth the effort, aren't they?