Why is it important to stay active during lockdown?

Thu 18 Mar 2021

It is important, if not more so to stay active during a national lockdown.

There are two main benefits to exercise during this time: 

(i) physical the one everyone thinks about

(ii) mentally, which is sometimes the one that is forgotten about or swept under the carpet.

On average during a lockdown situation, our step count can be down as much as 50% due to not commuting walking around offices or just not leaving our homes as often. This passive exercise is just not being done on a regular basis. The negative impacts of not doing this passive exercise every day are something that people just do not think about.

So, it is important to maintain a certain level of activity even when the sports facilities are unavailable.

Below are the benefits of exercise in general.

Physical benefits

  • Maintain physical performance – by this I mean our body’s ability to fight of infections using our immune system.
  • Better circulation – this allows the body to circulate blood more efficiently, allowing white blood cells flowing which support repair and allows cell waste products to be dispersed from the body.
  • Stronger bones – this allows the skeleton to keep in the best shape to help maintain posture to avoid aches and pains and better balance.
  • Weight management – helps to maintain a healthy weight during this time so you are not adding pressure to the heart and lungs when they may be needed to already work very hard.
  • Improved sleep – sleep is where the body does a lot of its healing from repairing sore muscles to the immune system.

Mental benefits

  • To feel good – exercise will release endorphins into your system helping you feel good and to cope with what life has to throw at you.
  • Helps to reduce mental fatigue – exercise can be used to help cope and address mental health problems. It has also shown in studies that it helps with anxiety and depression.
  • Control – during these times it can feel is though you have no control over parts of your life. Exercise is one of the areas that you can control use this as a bedrock when you feel lost.
  • Improved sleep – as well as the physical benefits sleep helps to reduce mental health issues.

I have put the recommendations for exercise for different age groups. Remember that physical activity can include walking, gardening, doing bodyweight exercises lifting and carrying children or even carrying heavy shopping bags. Be creative with the different ways of exercising in your own home or outdoors.

Children 3 – 5 years
At this age, children need to be exercising every day throughout the day. Trying to make exercise fun is key here such as games of how many times you can hop on one leg to playing in the park

Children and teenagers 6 – 17 years
Older children need 60 minutes every day of moderate to vigorous activity. In these times you will need to do one session of vigorous activity and one session to help to strengthen muscles, and a final session to help to strengthen bones. 

An example could be, running, climbing and skipping. 

Adults 18 – 64 years
Adults need to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which could be a brisk walk or cycling. An advantage would also be to include 2 days of strength training a week. 

Older adults 65 and above
Again, you will need to try and complete 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise and 2 days of strength training activity. Exercises that improve your balance would also be advantageous, you could try standing on one foot or heel to toe walking.

To help us all, the trick is to try and fit this exercise into our daily life. Make it fun, meet friends or workout with the family.

For inspiration on activity, visit Derby Active at Home web page or our Derby Active Facebook Group

While you are exercising, remember to go at your own pace and seek medical advice prior to exercising if you have any concerns. 

Keep safe and well. 


Derby Active Health and Wellbeing Advisor.