Spring into action
A new year can mean a new focus on health and fitness. Physical exercise is proven to have a positive impact on mental health, making it even more important that we all keep active during the new lockdown.
Mr Huxley, Director of Sport at Westminster City School explains: “A healthy mind needs a healthy body and there are plenty of ways to be active during lockdown and stay safe. Below are some top tips to help our young people (and their parents/carers) keep active.”
- Find a fitness routine that works for you. This doesn't have to be too strenuous, a simple walk will raise your heart rate and improve your mental wellbeing. Living in London means we are lucky to have a lot of green space in our local area, so why not visit your local park for a walk on a regular basis? Remember most smart phones have a health app which can count your steps, so you could record your daily steps and slowly increase the amount you do.
- Even in lockdown, you are allowed outdoors for daily exercise, so make sure you go for regular walks, runs or bike rides, ensuring you keep a safe social distance from others whilst outside.
- If the weather is bad or you are unable to leave the house, then there are many online classes such as yoga, pilates, boxercise, circuit training and strength training. There really is something for everyone, so you could even make it something you try as a family! Once you’ve found an online class that you enjoy and can take part in at home, then make some space, put on some fun music and start working out!
- Indoor exercises like running on the spot and press ups, sit ups, tricep dips, squats, calf raises and the plank can all help if you are trying to build muscle. Our PE Department has also set up circuit training sessions for our young people each week. These can be used by your whole family and you can work on them every other day. (As long as you allow one day to rest in between exercise sessions, you should avoid injury).
- It is worth keeping a record of what you have done when exercising. This will help you stay motivated and allow you to set targets to improve your attainment. Keeping a diary, downloading a step counter on your phone, timing yourself or writing down how repetitions of a particular exercise you do are all easy ways to monitor your hard work.
- If you are new to exercise, then your long-term aim should be to exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week. This can seem daunting when you first start, so a good idea is to simply do as much as you can and then stop. If this is 10 minutes, for example, then you should do this three times a week, for two weeks. Aim to increase the time you exercise by five minutes every two weeks, until you are exercising for 30 minutes, three times a week.
- When exercising, don’t forget to keep challenging yourself! Why not download a step counter on your phone to see how far you go, then try to beat that number the next day? If you are going for a jog, then see if you can go a little further each day and aim to be able to run for 30 minutes without a break.
Mr Huxley has provided the following simple steps, to help you to get started:
- Find a type of exercise that suits you, eg walking or yoga or running.
- Plan when you are going to exercise and stick to that plan. This will soon become your routine!
- Keep a record of what you do.
The photograph, above, shows our pupils making good use of nearby Green Park for their PE lesson during our Michaelmas term.