Exercise in Lockdown

Musculoskeletal Podiatrist Ms Anne-Marie O'Connor provides some top tips for exercising, particularly running and walking, for everyone experiencing lockdown during Coronavirus.

For most of us, unless you’re in the toilet roll business, we are trying to adjust to life in lockdown. Whether you’re busy working from home, looking after some little ones or are just trying to get through this as best as you can, we all have one thing in common, and that’s extra time on our hands.  

Current public health guidance and the government have asked everyone to only leave the house to carry out essential shopping or for local light exercise. Many of us would have been running on softer treadmills in the gym or maybe not running at all, but suddenly faced with only being able to exercise once a day means getting out of the house has become a salvation for many feeling the strain of being cooped up indoors. 

Running is the most common sports related injury we see in sports injury clinics, even before Coronavirus lockdown. A growing interest in the nations' love of running and the encouragement of charity challenges means, as a podiatrist, I have seen lots of injured athletes and runners over the years. It’s not just the knees either, any part of the lower limbs and also your back can be injured in the running process, from stress fractures and over used tendons to muscle strains and much more. 

It’s all about the trainer 

As with walking, the most important piece of equipment needed is a sports running trainer that suits your running style (forefoot, mid-foot, heel striker). Putting it very simply, whichever part of your foot touches the ground first takes your highest impact force and therefore needs to be stable, not too flexible, and has to be cushioned to absorb the shock in that first contact position. 

Take it slowly 

The most common reason people get injured running is because they aren’t used to it, so if you usually play only a team sport such as football, rugby, netball, basketball or simply haven’t done much running before, do not start to suddenly run every day. Start off with a walk-run program, three times a week making sure you have rest days, and gradually build up from here. 

Mix up your training 

Take a walk outside and come home and do a 30-minute HIT session, there are a variety of options online including live streams on Instagram that are fun. Or do a harder run outside and come home to do a 30-minute yoga stretch session on your own, using Instagram or YouTube. 

Online workouts 

Current choices of online workouts have never been this diverse, motivational and quite often free. Many trainers and teachers are holding classes on Zoom which means you can’t skip poses or exercises out! We don’t know how long this isolation period will last, but if we can leave our front doors on official release date fitter than we entered or certainly then that is a positive.