This week, over 900,000 people tuned in for Joe Wicks’ live Youtube workout, exercise studios scrabbled to transfer their classes online as gyms were ordered to close, and the nation was told to only leave the house once a day for exercise in the form of walking, running or cycling.
But digital classes don’t appeal to everybody, and it has even been reported that internet use could be rationed to prioritise health services and online lessons.
Step up, the revival of home exercise books – ideal for digi-phobes, and those whose diaries are already booked up with other "digital commitments".
They're a useful motivational prop for anyone who fancies taking time out to unplug from technology and switch off while working out and staying active, as well as a useful back-up should your internet connection fail you. That said, many of them are also available in eBook version too, if you prefer.
Here’s our pick of the titles we’ve been treating ourselves to in a bid to remain sane while cooped up indoors (and sending to friends and relatives in isolation).
While there is currently a long wait for Amazon orders, you can order them online from Telegraph Books (delivering as normal). Alternatively, try Hive (an online network of 360 independent bookshops nationwide), Waterstones or Blackwell's, delivering across the UK.
Featuring 62 exercises, targeted routines, and three four-week fitness programmes from an exercise guru, including functional everyday movements like bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, and reaching – designed to render daily activities such as gardening or playing with grandchildren easier for life.
Yoga, A Manual For Life by Naomi Annand
The ultimate companion to practising yoga at home, with clear images of different poses and sequences to get you breathing and moving (in whatever room in the house you can find some peace). It includes sections on yoga for children, yoga for an anxious mind, calming breathing techniques, yoga for small spaces and anti-desk yoga for those working at a computer all day. We also like 15-minute Gentle Yoga by Louise Grime, to intersperse your day with moments of calm (£9.99, DK).
The Whitlock Workout by Max Whitlock
27-year-old Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock is on a mission to help Britons get back in touch with their bodies, become more agile and mobile and lead healthier lives. This easy-to-follow book centres on the idea that gymnastics offers an effective full-body workout, and it doesn’t require expensive kit or gym memberships.
Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans for Physical Fitness
Both Helen Mirren and the senior Royals are fans of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s simple 12-minute a day exercise plans for men and women, designed to improve the fitness of recruits with little space or spare time (the XBX plan for women, the 5BX plan for men). Suitable for all fitness levels and ages with no equipment required, think lateral raises, hopping, arm circles, jogging on the spot and toe touches. Lots of print versions have been released by different publishers over the years. Read about when we trialled it here.
The Runner’s Expert Guide to Stretching by Paul Hobrough
If you have space to go running while social distancing (staying at least 2 meters away from others), the dynamic stretches in this book by a leading physiotherapist are designed to keep your body injury and pain-free, to help you recover and build strength, to understand your body and ultimately to run better, further and faster.
The Viking Method by Svava Sigbertsdottir
A Nordic-inspired fitness and diet plan, for “warrior” strength in mind and body, with body weight exercises that require virtually no equipment. Svava’s exercises are all perfect to do at home, and she provides clever hacks like using tea towels on the floor as sliders for balance/core work. We love her emphasis on mental resilience: Amanda Holden is a fan too.
Matt Roberts' Younger, Fitter, Stronger
This 8-week fitness manual by celebrity trainer Matt Roberts is designed specifically for mid-life men. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest science, Roberts promises to boost testosterone, tone the body and leave you feeling younger – all from the comfort of your own home.
Complete Self Massage Workbook by Kristine Kaoverii Weber
Exercises to relieve stress, and for when you’re feeling listless – featuring 100 simple techniques for re-energizing body and mind. It draws on Taoist studies as well as shiatsu, reflexology and Indian head massage, with step-by-step pictures to help you harness the healing power of self-massage.
Train Happy: An intuitive exercise plan for every body by Tally Rye
The co-host of BBC 5 Live’s Fit And Fearless podcast Tally Rye’s recently published book is designed to encourage a positive approach to fitness and wellbeing, helping you to ditch diet culture, reconnect with your body and find the fun and enjoyment in fitness – just what we all need to be inspired to find joy in movement in these testing times.
Have you been flicking through any exercise guides and fitness plans? We’d love to hear about your own recommended fitness books in the comments below.