Never before have the nation’s exercise routines been so visible, with streets, parks and public spaces regularly dotted with walkers, joggers and cyclists huffing and puffing their way through their permitted daily exercise.

We spoke to personal trainer, Vharri McMinn for tips on keeping fit throughout these difficult times.

Research shows that being sedentary is bad for your physical and mental health, so staying active during this difficult time is important.  Plus, it’s a great way to ward off some of the psychological issues associated with being cooped up for an extended time and can also help support immune function, increasing mental health and boosting creativity while working from home. 

Vharri, who opened her fitness studio two years ago at North Berwick’s bespoke Business Centre, The Lighthouse, tells us even if you’re stuck at home, there are ways you can stay active and continue your workout routine. She recommends incorporating exercise into our daily routines. “Every day aim to do five minutes of exercise, it then becomes a habit. You can build on the time or maybe add in another exercise so five minute becomes ten minutes of exercise and so on.” Writing an exercise plan for the week also helps structure our days and minds. Write which day, what type of exercise and what time you plan to exercise – morning, lunchtime or evening. She adds; “Planning is the key to success, so even if your routine is not the same, you can create a new one by structuring your day to fit in with children or working from home. 

More and more of us are now sitting for longer without daily commutes and normal daily routines, so it’s a good idea to try and increase our NEATs (non exercise activity thermogenesis). Vharri says; “This is the movement that isn’t structured exercise. If you sleep eight hours, 63% of your day is taken up by NEAT, if you do an hour of exercise this is 4% of your day. If you are looking to be fitter, healthier and loose weight – take the stairs, walk to the shop, clean the house, walk around if you are on the phone. The more you move, the higher your NEAT will be – benefiting both your mental and physical well being.

If you need guidance about which exercises to do at home or extra motivation, Vharri offers Pilates, HiiT classes and personal training via Zoom. She says; “The zoom sessions have given people the confidence to try new classes. And although it’s different from being in a class where I can walk amongst everyone, I have quickly adapted to the situation. The feedback has been fantastic, giving people structure to their week, routine and most importantly a positive impact on mental health. 

Throughout this time of uncertainty, it’s reassuring to know that we can take control of our health and well being. And Vharri has plans for the future including a library of exercises with teaching points and demonstrations, nutritional hints and tips, and of course returning to the studio when the situation allows. 


Heugh Brae, North Berwick EH39 5PS | t: 0797 1606131 | e: |