Concern over health impact of ‘iso weight’

Melbourne is looking at easing out of one of the world’s longest coronavirus lockdowns. What impact will quarantine eating habits and a lack of outdoor physical exercise have on the long term health of Victorians?

Some health and fitness experts fear that if Victorians don’t get moving, weight gain will be an issue that could seriously affect physical health well into the future.

With six and a half million people at home and with gyms shut during stage four restrictions, individual battles with love-handles are more widespread than ever.

Plenty of Victorians are feeling stressed and tired – which are two factors when it comes to weight gain.

Going into lockdown for the second time had many in the state worried, with a brief surge of panic buying everything from supermarkets.

After coming out of the first lock down, Victorians were ready to move back into their old work- and exercise- from home routines, but for some this didn’t last long.

“I’ve been lucky to be able to work from home, but I just feel I’m working more, and my old routine is gone,” says Jane, a Victorian mum of two.

Reportedly, many Australians came out of the first lockdown with a few extra kilos they hadn’t planned on – which comes as no surprise, as eating patterns along with exercises and daily life routines had all changed.

“I definitely am stress eating for sure,” Jane says.

“I’ve put on around 4-5 kgs since the first lockdown began which I am not happy about and the amount of alcohol I consume in a week has increased compared to pre COVID.”

She says exercising is non-existent in lockdown.

“My only exercise has been taking my dog for a walk – I just feel I’ve got so much more work to do that exercise isn’t a priority,” she observes.

“Pre-COVID I would work out 3-4 times a week now hardly once – it’s like I’m playing catch up.”



Apart from health issues associated with being overweight (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure) it’s also linked to increased pain and joint damage due to the increased stress on your joints.

Experienced personal trainer Grace McPherson believes there are so many exercises people can follow and do from home without equipment – but, she adds, it’s just about finding time and motivation to do these.

“Putting on weight puts a lot of pressure on our joints which then restricts what we can and can’t do,” Ms McPherson says.

“Weight gain impacts the way you move – so if people are finding they are putting on weight it’s going to come back and bite them in the bum later, because what they’ll be experiencing is bad posture, back aches, and neck aches from sitting down.”

She warns a lack of exercise will be felt after lockdown is eased.

“You may not be feeling it now, but you will be feeling it a few months down the track that you’re not moving as well – believe it or not using your own body weight is really hard work, people think it’s easy but once you get into it, it’s actually quite hard to move your own body,” she says.

Ms McPherson recommends doing body weight exercises, pilates, yoga, and mobility exercises that can easily be searched for online, and done from home.

“It’s also important now more than before to unwind properly at the end of a busy stressful day, and there are plenty of mindfulness and meditation apps to help people unwind,” she adds.