Festival Daily Check-Ins: Exercise and Physical Activities (Wednesday)

We spoke to Adam Kreimeia from the Doctoral School, who shares some tips on staying active throughout lockdown for our third Festival Daily Check-in of the week

Countryside scenary, with people on boats in a river.
On a cycle to Arundel
  1. What exercise/physical activities have you got (back) into throughout lockdown?

I’m quite an active person generally, but by far the most enjoyable activity I’ve got into in this period has been cycling. I had always used my bike around town and for commuting to campus, but I rarely went on any longer rides before lockdown. One Sunday, I went to Worthing when I was bored and since then I have been out most weekends, increasing the distance each time. It’s been so much fun visiting beautiful nearby towns and villages (e.g. Bramber, Arundel, and Lewes), being outside (especially with the great weather we’ve had), and listening to music and podcasts.

I usually go to the gym and do a lot of bodyweight exercises, so I was quite prepared for lockdown in this respect. I have been taking flexibility work a bit more seriously, though, from a few morning stretches to now doing an hour in the evening, really focusing on specific areas. I’ve also been swimming (I avoided putting myself through Wimhof/cold showers and just bought a wetsuit), going on long walks, and have got back into skateboarding.

2. How have these helped you throughout lockdown/Covid-19?

Beyond all the usual feel good benefits of exercise, it’s been particularly vital for me to disconnect from work and other aspects of life. Like most people, I now work, socialise, and eat in my bedroom. A lot of different areas can easily merge, which can have negative consequences for me (e.g. less productive, less sociable). As I often do exercise right before/after work and change my location, exercise helps provide a separation between work and leisure time, which has really made a big difference. We have been really fortunate in the UK to be allowed outside to exercise throughout lockdown, so the fresh air really helps too.

I’ve also found it enjoyable to set and work towards targets. I find certain exercise a bit boring otherwise, so this has been a really factor important in giving me that extra push to get out and start moving. Whether it is cycling an extra 10 miles, or trying to hold a longer handstand, I’ve found it really motivating to set goals.

3. What would you recommend for people interested in finding out more about exercise/physical activities, and where can they access resources?

The easiest method is to do something with a friend, that way it’s MUCH funner and you have greater accountability to each other. Doing exercise alone is about making habits, which is a lot easier for me when I set a specific day/time/place. For instance, doing HIIT exercises in the morning, working out at 19.00 on weekdays, or cycling on Sundays. I find I NEED to set these routines, otherwise I start listening to the voice inside telling me to grab some magdalena cakes, sit on the sofa, and watch TV!

Exercise can be a really difficult thing to get into regularly. Some people may be motivated by having accountability (e.g. telling friends and family they are going to run a marathon), but others might be more likely to do things if they keep their goals to themselves. It’s important to understand how you are motivated, and also how and when you’re likely to break habits.

There are tons of Youtube advice and tutorials on pretty much any physical activity:

  • If you’re interested in bodyweight exercise/calisthenics, then I would recommend Tom Merrick’s channel as he provides useful progressions and exercises, and provides a focus on flexibility and mobility work as well.
  • A good and quick way to get moving is to do a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. They can be tough, but they are often short and can over in 10 minutes! If you are concerned about making too much noise in your home, quiet home workouts are an option.
  • For stretching and greater flexibility, check out yoga and mobility videos.