During this pandemic, we are all at home most of the time. There has been a huge influx in people turning to exercise as a means of keeping themselves busy and sane. Now we’ll discuss the benefits of pandemic exercise – not only for your health, but to buy time until you leave the house again.
Why Exercise Is Important
Although it might be tempting to skip your workout during these challenging times, public health officials say that exercise — while undoubtedly crucial under normal circumstances — is essential to your physical health and mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why you should stay active and how you can exercise safely during the pandemic.
How To Get Pandemic Exercise
Consider engaging in physical activity once or twice daily that includes brief periods (30-90 seconds) of greater intensity. For some, this might be accomplished through exercise in their homes including jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and sequencing strength training exercises (i.e. standing squats, push-ups, sit-ups). For others, the use of home exercise equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes may be helpful. Regular exercise is essential for everyone under normal circumstances. However, here are a few reasons why exercise is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Boosts the immune system. Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.
- Prevent weight gain. Exercise can help you burn extra calories caused by dietary changes and offset the effects of sedentary activities.
- Reduces stress and anxiety. Exercise is a proven mood-booster and can help adults reduce stress levels and build emotional resilience.
- Improves sleep. There is evidence that suggests regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality. Getting a good night’s sleep has also been found to boost your immune system.
Where You Can Get It
Many companies are offering free use of their on-line platforms that may help to identify a variety of in-home activities (indoor cycling, treadmill running, dance cardio, yoga, strength training, and more) to help make exercise more enjoyable during this critical period. We strongly support the idea of ongoing vigilance regarding physical-distancing and limitations on in-person contacts as guided by the CDC.
It is important for family members to take a supportive role in the promotion of physical activity and exercise. Allowing individuals to maintain their autonomy and choice in their activities will be important for ongoing engagement.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get moving:
Exercise with family
Exercise is an excellent opportunity for family fun. Walks, bike rides, dance parties, living-room yoga sessions, or backyard soccer games are just a few examples of how you and your household members can exercise together.
Walking, cycling, jogging, and hiking can help you get some much-needed fresh air while staying safely away from others. Don’t have time for a full-length outdoor exercise session? Consider breaking your workout up into several 10-minute sessions. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a few brisk walks around the block can add up to a full workout.
Follow along with online exercise videos
Whether you enjoy yoga, cardio kickboxing, Pilates, strength training, barre, dance, or another type of workout, chances are you can find a service that offers online videos. Additionally, many exercise studios and other community organizations are now providing on-demand virtual fitness content.
Take a virtual class
If you have the financial resources, consider supporting your local fitness studio or personal trainer by signing up for online fitness classes or training sessions. Some personal trainers are even offering private virtual sessions for your needs, schedule, and preferences. Plus, having a class or training session on your calendar allows you to interact with other people in a fun way, which may be just the motivation you need to keep up with your fitness regime.
Although it may take some effort to create and adjust to new fitness routines, regular physical activity can help you optimize your health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. We may even look back on this difficult time as the turning point when we learned new ways to build our emotional resilience and our physical health.