If you’ve ever done a group exercise class, you’ll know that special kind of betrayal that comes when you’re about to finish your set and your instructor yells, “five more reps!”. We know it well. And it has us wondering: Does President Cyril Ramaphosa secretly moonlight as a group fitness instructor? Lockdown was meant to be over. Yet, here we are, heading into another 14 days in our homes. Remember when 21 days seemed like an eternity? Well, it’s amazing how quickly you can adapt. Now staying home almost feels normal.
A New Routine
To help you find some order in that original period, we created the #WH21DayChallenge. Every day there was either a workout, yoga practice or mindfulness exercise to complete. It was a new routine during a time when every previous routine had gone out the window and life was unpredictable and a little scary. So now, with lockdown having been extended, we bring you WH Lockdown Challenge 2.0. You’ll once again have an exercise to complete each day: Either a workout to keep you strong and fit, a yoga practice to ease cramped muscles or a mindfulness exercise from our Women’s Health Mindfulness Manual.
What’s different in WH Lockdown Challenge 2.0: We’ve added more live streams. This challenge is all about remembering that, while you may be at home on your own, you’re not in this alone. So with the live streams, we can all do our workouts and yoga practices together. But if you miss them live, you can still go back and do them on our YouTube Channel in your own time.
Secondly, we’ve also added bonus mindfulness exercises and readings. Having your freedom of movement taken away can be not only frustrating, but stressful. Even if you’re a natural optimist and approached the start of lockdown like an adventure, now that you have to endure another two weeks, confinement is probably starting to feel really old. The mindfulness exercises and readings in the lockdown challenge are designed to help you cope.
How WH Lockdown Challenge 2.0 Works
Taking part in the challenge is simple and you can join any time! There’s no need to have done the original WH 21-Day Challenge first.
STEP 1: Download or screenshot the challenge card below. You can print it or keep it on your phone.
STEP 2: Each day, starting on Friday 17 April, do the exercise for that day. The daily exercises are listed here under the challenge card.
STEP 3: Tick off the day on your card and share it to your Insta stories, tagging #WHLockdownChallenge @womenshealthmagSA. Remember: We may be on lockdown, but we’re all in this together!
Your Challenge Card
Save or screenshot and use it to track your progress.
Lockdown Challenge Exercises
Day 22: Home Workout
After three weeks of sitting a lot more than usual (Netflix on the couch, dining room table “office”), your body is likely feeling really stiff and immobile by now. This mobility sequence is a great dynamic workout to do before a workout, but you can also do it on its own on your active rest days to wake up tight muscles and improve your mobility. Click here for the full explanation. Do three rounds.
Bonus Mindfulness Exercise: Today should have been your first day of freedom. If you’re feeling angry, disappointed or desperate right now, that’s ok and perfectly normal. Acknowledge these feelings and don’t feel guilty that you feel this way. Find a quiet space and practise this breathing exercise to help you dial back anxiety and find calm.
Day 23: Home Workout
This workout is a chance to use some of those toilet rolls you stockpiled ahead of the lockdown (we won’t tell if you don’t!). It’s designed to be done with a partner, but you can follow the instructions and easily adapt it into a workout you can do on your own. Click here for the full workout instructions.
Bonus Mindfulness Exercise: It’s self-care Saturday! Today you’re going to make yourself feel good. Take a shower, shave your legs if that’s something you did before lockdown, wash and style your hair and get dressed into clothes that you haven’t worn since before lockdown. If you’re someone who enjoys make-up, put some on and do your nails. Then take pictures and post them all over your social media because, why not?
Day 24: Mindfulness Exercise
What do you consider a show of strength?
Strength means different things for different people. For some it’s a physical feat, like lifting a heavy weight. For others, it may be exercising self-restraint when someone’s really pushing your buttons. Write down five things that you consider a positive show of strength and draw on these when you’re feeling helpless.
Day 25: Yoga Practice
Join us for a 45-minute live-stream strength practice with Amy Hopkins at 8am on our YouTube channel. Check out our Instagram for more details. Missed it? You can catch up at any time.
Bonus Mindfulness Exercise: Treat yourself to a delicious comfort meal. Take pleasure in preparing it and eating it, whether you enjoy it out of a bowl, snuggled up in a corner of the couch or set the table with your best crockery and cutlery. You’re healthy and safe and that’s something to be celebrated!
Day 26: Mindfulness Exercise:
What are you passionate about?
Not many of us get to live our passions every day. Write down five things that you would do to ignite your spark if money were no object. Now pick one of them that’s the most realistic and start working on an actionable plan of how you can start incorporating this into your life now, and after lockdown has ended.
Day 27: Home Workout
Join us for a live-stream lockdown challenge workout on YouTube at 8am. Watch our social media for details! Missed it? You can still head over to YouTube catch up later.
Day 28: Yoga Practice
Join us for a lockdown challenge live-stream yoga practice at 8am on our YouTube channel. Follow us on Instagram for details. Can’t make it at 8? You can still catch the video on YouTube at a time that’s convenient for you.
Day 29: Mindfulness Exercise
What inspires you?
Or who? Write down a list, one beneath the other. Then take time to think about what it is about that person or thing that you find inspiring. This may be harder than it seems initially — you want to get down below the surface. Say you’re inspired by someone who ran a desert marathon. Is it the physical performance that inspires you? Or was it actually their determination to finish what they started even under extreme, adverse conditions? Finally, consider how you can cultivate that quality in yourself. You don’t need to run across a desert, but what task could you complete in your own life with a bit of determination?
Day 30: Home Workout
Join us at 9am on YouTube for a lockdown challenge live-stream workout. If you can’t make it for the live class at 9, simply go to our YouTube channel to catch the workout at any time.
Day 31: Yoga Practice
This restorative yoga sequence is the perfect way to show your body some love after a long week. Do Part1 first, then move on to Part 2.
Restorative Yoga Part 1
Restorative Yoga Part 2
Day 32: Home Workout
Join us for an extra special Freedom Day lockdown challenge live-stream workout! Watch our social media for details.
Bonus Mindfulness Exercise: It may seem ironic to be celebrating Freedom Day while we’re all confined to our homes. But today is a day for gratitude. When we think back on our country’s history, the limited movement we’re experiencing right now was reality for so many South Africans for years. We have many problems in South Africa, but take a moment to think about how far we’ve come as a nation.
Day 33: Yoga Practice
Join us on YouTube at 8am for a lockdown challenge live-stream yoga class. Missed it? You can go to YouTube at any time and do the class when it’s convenient for you.
Day 34: Home Workout
Join us at 8am on YouTube Live for the last live workout of WH Lockdown Challenge 2.0. If you can’t make it, no worries! Pop on over to our YouTube channel to do the workout at any time.
Bonus Mindfulness Exercise: How have you impressed yourself over the last 34 days of lockdown? Write down as many things as you can. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back. This hasn’t been easy, and you’ve made it through, you rockstar!
Day 35: Mindfulness Exercise
What’s the most exhilarating thing you’ve done?
Think carefully about why you did it and how it made you feel. Notice how you feel now when you recall that memory. At some point (hopefully soon) you’re going to go back to your previous way of living. For some, this may come with changes, big and small – perhaps you’ll need to look for a new job. But a time will come when this period is just a memory and you’re once again caught up in the daily grind. Routine is comforting, as we’ve all discovered since having our routine taken away. But stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then is what reminds you what it feels like to truly feel alive. Don’t be afraid to chase exhilaration sometimes.
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
– Nelson Mandela