Health Bits: How to Stay Active during the Pandemic
Engaging in regular physical activity during a pandemic can be a challenge when you do not have access to local gyms or group exercise studios. Covid-19 restrictions are slowly getting lifted across the U.S., however, there is still uncertainty of when places of indoor exercise will be allowed to operate at normal capacity in some communities.
Maintaining regular physical activity is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle and research shows that increased physical activity yields increased health benefits. These benefits include reduced risk of chronic disease, improved mental health, improved sleep quality, and an increased ease of moving around. Even small amounts of physical activity have shown positive health benefits. Thus, it is vital to maintain a regular physical activity routine even when you are limited to your home and outdoors. Below are some creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your stay-at-home routine. As always, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider before starting any new exercise plan.
- Schedule daily walks – If you are able to take outdoor walks in your community, try to schedule a daily walk. You can even get creative and mix up your walking routes. If you are limited with time, they do not even have to be long. Take a 5-minute walk here and there just to get your body moving!
- Create a friendly exercise competition – As we mentioned in our prior Stress Blog, social support is a great way to manage stress. Well, now you can even incorporate social support into your exercise routine. Create a friendly exercise competition between a friend from afar. Most smartphones have built-in applications that monitor steps and calories burned. Using this information, you can compete to see who has done more each week. Create a plan to celebrate in a socially distant manner once Covid-19 restrictions are removed.
- Move while watching TV – If you were previously lifting weights in the gym and are used to a more intense workout, try doing body weight exercises while watching TV. If you have access to Youtube, you can also find several variations of home workouts depending on your physical activity abilities. Just walking in place while watching your favorite show is a small way to stay active while staying indoors!