Group exercise is banned, X is closed and the Government would rather that no one goes jogging. So how can you stay fit when you are stuck in your room?
(Photo: Annebelle de Bruijn)

Group exercise is banned, X is closed and the Government would rather that no one goes jogging. So how can you stay fit when you are stuck in your room?

Lees in het Nederlands

First the good news. It will take a while for you to lose your strength and endurance, even if you skip training for a couple of weeks. “Three weeks without doing any sports means that your muscles have 5% to 10% less capacity to use oxygen and convert it into energy,” explains physiotherapist Rutger van Hulsen of X TU Delft. “For example, if you then go cycling, it won’t be as easy as usual. But that loss isn’t really alarming.” Furthermore, you can make up for a couple of weeks of not doing fitness, jogging or power training quite quickly. “It’s even easier to regain your level of fitness when you’re young. Your muscle tissues and tendons are still strong.”

Now the bad news. It does not mean that you can be a couch potato for weeks on end in your free time. “Four to eight weeks of complete bed rest – meaning not moving at all – is disastrous for your body,” warns Van Hulsen. “The level of fitness that you had gained is then completely gone and you have to start from zero again.”

Stricter guidelines
TU Delft student associations are seeing that their members are struggling with keeping in shape. “In the beginning, we still trained in small groups in the Delftse Hout park. But since the Government imposed stricter guidelines on 23 March, we can’t do this anymore,” says Jasper Rou, trainer and founder of DSAV’40, the student athletics group. So he started giving fitness classes on Instagram. “I then do exercises that you can do in your room. Stability, press-ups, stomach muscles, that sort of thing,” says Rou. “Quite a lot of members are joining the class.”

D.S.R.V. Laga has created a special hashtag, #roodtraintdoor, and an alternative ‘home competition’. Members can compete against each other on ergometers, power training, cycled kilometres or jogging minutes in a special class. Competition commissaire Lars Lipman says that “now that part of the season has been cancelled, you need to try to keep each other motivated.” And it’s working. The 150 members have done 1,513 kilometres on the ergometer; 222,550 kilometres on the racing bikes; run 7,493 minutes; and done 7,037 minutes of power and circuit training.”

    Staying fit Laga
    D.S.R.V. Laga has created a special hashtag, #roodtraintdoor, and an alternative ‘home competition’. (Photo: Laga)

    Back to your student house. How can you stay in shape? Rou of DSAV’40 says that there is a lot you can do at home. “Use your staircase, for example. Run up and down a couple of times or jump on and off the first step. Use your imagination to think up lots of fun exercises.”

    Finally, we asked physiotherapist Rutger van Hulsen for advice. His tips will help you turn your room into a temporary gym.

    • Make your own weights by filling two litre milk packets with sand or water. Another option is to fill a rucksack with heavy books.
    • Everyone in the Netherlands now has an impressive stock of toilet rolls at home. Make a wall of four rolls and do burpees across them. Or build a tower with four rolls and do stomach muscle exercises, raising your legs and torso at an angle.
    • You probably have a forgotten skipping rope lying around somewhere. Skip rope!
    • Rock climbers – for the perfect exercise, take the push-up position and then make running movements with your legs. If it’s too heavy, put your hands on the bed or sofa.
    • Most importantly: combine these exercises to get the best results.