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Scott does a push up in his living room

My tips for exercising at home

Scott McPhillimy

Keeping active is really important to me because exercise helps me manage some of my MS symptoms, especially fatigue.

I think exercise is especially important at the moment with the amount of time we’re spending indoors because of Covid-19. Having a short workout helps improve my mood, gives me more energy and makes the days feel less monotonous.

Over the last year, the biggest transformation for me has been moving from only working out at home to going to the gym regularly. Now, I’m back to working out at home.

Adapting to change

At first, this felt like a backwards step. But one thing I can say is living with MS makes you flexible and used to adapting what you do! Ironically, maybe living with MS has better prepared me for this period of uncertainty because it’s something I deal with every day.

Here are some of my tips for doing a home workout:

1. Block off time to exercise

Now that most of us are staying at home, you may have more spare time. Still, I think it helps to have a time set aside for exercise. You might prefer to exercise when you get up, during your lunch break or in the evening. Having this time set aside can break up your day and provide some structure

Along with walking my dog in the morning (keeping in line with social distancing rules!), I have been doing different 30-minute circuit training exercises every lunchtime. I find that this is a quick and effective method for fitting in different exercises to target different parts of my body.

2. Go at your own pace

It can be demoralising trying to keep up with an instructor on a home workout video. I think it is important to workout at whatever ability level you have. It doesn't mean just take it easy, exercise can still be challenging but tailor it to you!

Scott and his dog
Along with walking my dog in the morning (keeping in line with social distancing rules!), I have been doing different 30-minute circuit training exercises every lunchtime.

3. Do something you enjoy (but don’t find too easy!)

If you pick an exercise you absolutely hate then you’re more likely to fail. There are so many different things you can try. Find something you enjoy but still challenges you!

4. Be realistic with your goals

Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and can put you off. Start small and just see how your body reacts. It’s all about taking baby steps. I thought I could do a minute of push ups straight away, which I’m a long way off!

5. Don’t be afraid to mix things or make adjustments as you go along

Tailor things to you. If you are finding something way too hard then adjust it. There are beginner versions of most exercises. Equally, if you are beginning to find something too easy, then mix it up to make it harder. Challenge yourself!

6. Keep trying

If you fail at an exercise or miss a session then don't give up. Just pick up where you left off at during the next session. A shorter workout is still better than no workout!