‘Dance to a bit of music’: Italy’s official advice for keeping fit under quarantine

'Dance to a bit of music': Italy's official advice for keeping fit under quarantine
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez//Unsplash
As Italy's residents spend their third week under lockdown, here's the Italian Health Ministry's official advice for keeping fit indoors.

When quarantine measures were first introduced across Italy, many people were still going out for their daiiy run, walk or bike ride. Gyms and pools were closed, but there was no rule against exercise outdoors.

And while outdoor exercise is still permitted under the government's national emergency decree, ministers continue to urge people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, and many regions have individually cracked down on joggers who they say create a health risk by congregating in parks and on seafronts.

READ ALSO: Why the quarantine rules aren't always the same around Italy

Some regional governments have introduced strict rules on taking the dog out – a quick walk round the block is fine, a stroll down the lungomare is not – while cities including Rome have closed parks and public gardens to the public.

The rules vary from one region – and sometimes town or comune – to another, so it's always best to check the latest updates on your local authority's website.

But either way, the majority of people in Italy are now spending most of the day indoors.

The Italian Health Ministry today issued a reminder for us all to get up off the sofa and get moving, and gave a few suggestions as to how we might do so.

“Physical activity is good for the body and mind. During the COVID-19 emergency, doing activities at home can also help maintain heart health, muscle strength  and flexibility of the whole body,” the ministry tweeted on Thursday, adding five indoor exercise suggestions.

Follow exercise classes online

Whether you're more into Youtube zumba or yoga videos or prefer to download fitness proramme apps to your phone, the modern version of the workout video is the top suggstion for helping to you keep mentally and physically healthy under quarantine.

Two popular apps are:

Nike’s Training Club, which lets you choose a workout based on a wide range of sessions that have been selected based on your fitness level. They have everything from strength to endurance to yoga (this last one is new), and shorter workouts of just 10 minutes to longer ones nearing an hour. 

Keep Home Trainer, an app featuring 400 exercises, from cardio to toning and strength training. None of the workouts require equipment, relying on using your body weight instead, so they're perfect for people who'd normally do their workouts at the gym.

Dance to a bit of music

This one is sure to lift your mood quickly, too. Balcony and rooftop singalongs  and dance parties may not be happening as much in Italy anymore, but cranking up the music and dancing around your kitchen is now officially government-approved advice.

Try a workout videogame

If you're getting bored with workout apps, a game might be more interesting. If you have an Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch or Wii there are plenty to choose from, including zumba, golf or even boxing, and general adventure games like Ring Fit Challenge aim to give both your mind and body a workout. Here are more details on some of Italy's favourite fitness games and where to buy them.

Photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

Use a skipping rope 

Your downstairs neighbours might not thank you for this, but your heart will. If you have a skipping rope lying around the house, skipping is an excellent cardio workout and fun too.

Do some stretching exercises

Having a good stretch on the balcony or roof terrace is about as close as some of us are getting to outdoor exercise these days. But the health ministry recommends any kind of stretching exercises to maintain flexibility.

READ ALSO: Ten expert tips for keeping kids entertaned under Italy's lockdown


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