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Stay active even if you’re staying at home: Physical health and movement

“People just need to remember what's important is their health and everything else should come after that.” Mark Whelan

Watch the video above to see the full conversation or click here to read the transcript.

With coronavirus seeing many of us without a physical commute to work or access to gyms or fitness centres, we’re having to rethink how we build movement and exercise into our daily routine. But it doesn’t have to mean renting a treadmill or spin bike, for AFLW player and ANZ employee, Meg Downie it’s about adjustment and improvisation.


“I've had to roll with the punches and find some new routines in this new environment,” she says. “I've managed to interweave physical exercise and find a good balance between work and football.”


“I've made a couple of adjustments around my working schedule and ANZ offers me some really great flexibility. So I make the most of that but I'm used to having access to a really well-equipped gym and great facilities for running.  So I've had to be very creative in terms of how I've used some different pieces of equipment to do my weights. At the moment, I'm actually using a piece of a piece of wood to do some squats and some lunges.”


For ANZ’s Group Executive Institutional, Mark Whelan, exercise is really important in maintaining a balanced lifestyle and says now more than ever it’s important for our overall wellbeing.


Prior to COVID Mark trained at the gym at work before 6am but as facilities closed he also had to adapt. “My body clock was waking up and I'd go into the office, but I wouldn't exercise I'd just start work. And so I found I was getting really pretty flat over that. So now I'm exercising at home,” he says. “It's really important to me that I get that done because I find I'm significantly more effective. Things get done quickly.”


Paralympian and Gold Medallist, Dylan Alcott says physical activity is a must. “I've been very lucky that throughout the lockdown, I've been able to play tennis. But when I had a six week break where I couldn't have a hit, I missed it so much. It made me realise how important it is to me, how important it is to get out and be active. It helps me become the best version of me,” he says.


Do it your way


Encouraging people to exercise in whatever way they can Dylan says, “Everybody can do exercise or movement in their own way. You've got to stay within your own capabilities or whatever you can do. But there are so many different ways you can get out and about and do things.


“If you want to call your best mate rather than sit on the couch and call him, just walk around the block and call. And you might think that that's not actually doing anything. But in terms of your physical well-being, your organs, everything, your mental capacity, your mindfulness, everything will improve if you do that,” he says.


Meg playing Australian rules football for the Melbourne Football Club in the AFL Women's competition.


Maintaining a routine


Setting aside time for physical fitness and movement is something we can all control – while so much of what we’re going through is out of our control, building this into our day can have a number of positive effects.


“You do have to have some degree of routine,” Mark says. “You've got to think about the little things that are really important to you as an individual. I found myself sitting in front of zoom and video meetings, you know, ten hours a day... so I'm trying to break that up a little bit.”


“I think people just need to remember what's important is their health and everything else should come after that. And so do little things during the day to ensure you're looking after yourself,” he says.


Meg agrees, “It also just lifts my mood generally exercising in the morning is just one of the best ways to start the day.”


Time in nature


Getting out in nature and the fresh air can provide a shift in perspective.


“For me being out, getting out with other people, if you can, and you're allowed to, you're not only getting closer to nature, the fresh air is fantastic. You do get invigorated,” says Mark.


Where to go for help


Please remember you are not alone. ANZ’s Employee Assistance Program is available for support services for ANZ employees and immediate family members. Please visit www.benestar.com or call 1300 360 364.


For ANZ employees outside of Australia in need of help or support please see ANZ’s intranet site Max for details of your local employee assistance program.


If you, or someone you know needs help or support, please go to BeyondBlue.org.au or call 1300 22 46 36. Beyond Blue has a range of resources to help support people’s mental wellbeing during COVID.


You can also contact Lifeline at LifeLine.org.au or call 13 11 14.


For information on other services that can assist with navigating difficult circumstances visit anz.com.au


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