How to keep your body and spirit healthy while cooped up at home

A host of wellness and fitness practitioners are leading workouts and workshops online

Platinum Pilates co-founder Milena Jaksic

Platinum Pilates co-founder Milena Jaksic

 

Ireland has never been fitter or more mindful. Almost every town boasts a gym, yoga studio, meditation centre or Cross Fit hub, and our festivals, weekend breaks and holidays are all being geared more towards our athletic and spiritual inclinations.

With our social and cardiovascular outlets temporarily on pause, a host of trainers, instructors and fitness leaders are innovating and creating new ways for us to explore movement from the comfort of our livingrooms.

For Platinum Pilates co-founder Milena Jaksic, the temporary closure of her seven Dublin and Wicklow-based Reformer Pilates and Physiotherapy studios meant she and her team began to share simple stretches and movements via their social media channels to keep clients busy.

After demand spiked, Jaksic decided to create a series of daily live online classes that can be enjoyed by anyone at home.

“We opened this business 10 years ago during a recession, and going to classes was a temporary way to let go of the stress and take the time to relax.”

Pilates helps to boost your immune system, so there’s never been a better time to try it out

Jacsik suggests people use this time as an opportunity to either take up exercise, reconnect with your body or keep up your training if you’re someone who is already active.

“We look after the Leinster Rugby team who are all on leave at the moment too, so they’ve been able to log on to our online classes and home workouts.

“It brings a level of maintenance and normality to daily life, from core strength, mobility and even specialist classes like antenatal. Pilates helps to boost your immune system, so there’s never been a better time to try it out.”

Members and those interested can simply download the Platinum Pilates App and register for the selection of at-home lessons.

Sean Headon, owner of Headon Boxing, has also embraced the current climate as an opportunity to help members and those interested in the sport begin to explore it. Delivering high-quality, live online workouts, Headon says the real-time element is vital as it allows the coaches to engage with members and train with them.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support and gratitude of our members. Almost all have adapted with us and are continuing with their memberships and joining us for these online workouts.”

While Headon is catering to current members, his workouts are open to non-members too. “The sign-up process is easy. We offer memberships and class bundles on our website, which give you the ability to book into the classes on our app. Once booked in you’ll receive a private streaming link to the online workout via email. Our workouts require no equipment and are designed to be done in your bedroom.”

I love feeling that I can do something to help... Everyone is looking for ways to connect

Down south, founder of Tai Chi Chuan Cork Ann McIlraith began her free daily tai chi classes on Facebook to help those feeling isolated.

“I work with a wide range of people from all age groups who want to stay fit, including Active Retired and, through ARC House, people recovering from cancer. I became concerned about people feeling lonely and isolated so I decided to offer an online daily support class from my phone and anyone is welcome to join. I love feeling that I can do something to help. And the feedback has been wonderful. Everyone is looking for ways to connect.”

When it comes to mindfulness, Soul Space – The Experience offers a nightly live mediation via its Instagram Live, while the high-performance coach and public speaker Pat Divilly has launched a free journalling, group coaching, and meditation group via his Facebook page to help motivate those in need of a personal boost. In Galway, Yoga Mara is offering 45 minutes’ to one hour’s yoga and meditation classes daily for anyone in need of some grounding or releasing of tension and anxiety. Yoga studio co-founder Hannah Healy says, “It’s a strange time, but also a time that forces us all to become more creative and allows us the opportunity to be still and reflective. Let’s take this moment to really dive deep and discover what we’re all, as a nation, made of.”

Hannah Healy of Yoga Mara in Galway
Hannah Healy of Yoga Mara in Galway

At-home exercises

Plank
From a press-up position, rest on forearms rather than hands. Make sure back is straight and abs and glutes are tensed. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.

Lunges
Keeping upper body straight, with shoulders back and relaxed and chin up, engage the core. Step forward with one leg, lowering hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Ten times each side.

Squat
Set feet shoulder-width apart with toes slightly turned out. Bend at the knees and drop hips to lower the body. Rise and repeat 10 times.

Lateral Leg Raises
Lie on your side with legs extended. Lift top leg 45 degrees, then lower slowly. Five times each side.

High Knees
Standing with feet hip-width apart, run in place, bringing knees toward chest as high as possible. Sixty seconds.

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