Exercise for Physical and Mental Health in Lockdown

Let’s face it – no one expected the last couple of years to turn out the way they have. The global pandemic and associated lockdowns have had a variety of effects on our physical and mental health. Recent research has found “people’s mental health may have been severely affected by the pandemic and lockdown. There is a substantial increase in boredom…and a significant increase in loneliness, worry and sadness”.

If you are currently in the midst of a lockdown and not feeling like yourself, the good news is there are still plenty of ways you can move your body to improve your wellness. Research shows “The scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of exercise is indisputable, and the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most adults. A program of regular exercise…beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults”.

Now of course we already know exercise is good for your physical and mental health, but how to effectively execute it in a lockdown? There are more options than you may think! Here’s a few of our favourites:

  • Utilise your one hour outside to go for a walk or bike ride amongst nature
  • Search on YouTube ‘no equipment Pilates workout’
  • Grab a chair and use it for step ups, squats, push ups and/or Triceps dips
  • Utilise your own body weight to squat, lunge, plank and push
  • Jump on a Zoom call with a group of friends, pick one exercise each and complete that for 40 seconds with a 20 second rest (there are great interval timer apps you can download for free to help with timing)

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated, overwhelming or draining. Keep it simple and look after yourself during these challenging times. And remember, a 30-minute workout leaves 23.5 other hours in the day to do whatever else you want, so give yourself a small window to do something you know will be worth it!


Brodeur, A., Clark, A. E., Fleche, S., & Powdthavee, N. (2021). COVID-19, lockdowns and well-being: Evidence from Google Trends. Journal of public economics

Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., … Swain, D. P. (2011). Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

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