Staying Active During COVID-19

Self-quarantining, physical distancing, and the closure of many gyms have made it harder to exercise. As many of our daily routines remain restricted during this pandemic, it is difficult to find the motivation to exercise. With the challenges of working from home and limited access to fitness facilities, you may find it hard to stick to a workout routine.

With so many people out of work and struggling financially, staying active can seem like much less of a priority. However, even a small amount of activity can make a difference to how well you think and feel. Exercise is one powerful tool we have for staying physically and mentally healthy.

While being fit would not prevent you from catching the virus, exercise can help ease depression, stress, and anxiety, and aid in the management of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in your brain that revitalize your mind and body, and it can help to boost your mood and improve sleep. Exercise can also strengthen your immune system, something that is important especially for older adults who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

As with exercising, it is important to be safe, wear good footwear, start slowly, and give your muscles and tendons time to adapt to any extra activity. Always seek your physician’s advice if you have any underlying health conditions, take medication for a heart problem or to control blood pressure or blood sugar, or experience dizziness, balance problems, or joint issues. And if you feel pain during an activity, STOP.

Unless your area is under a stay-at-home order or you need to remain in quarantine, try to exercise outside as much as possible. Take a walk, jog, or ride a bike outside, just remember to wear a mask and maintain a safe distance from others. The fresh air and sunshine will provide a further boost to your mental health.

Immerse yourself in the full experience of walking outdoors by adding a mindfulness element. Notice the smell of the air, the variety of flowers and trees and the feel of the sun or the wind as you move. Bringing your attention to these things can give your conscious mind a break from your worries and unleash your creativity.

Create a home workout area. If you have space available, designate an inviting area of your home to exercise and keep your equipment handy. Try using resistance bands, water bottles, or your own body weight to perform resistance exercises. Stair climbing is an efficient strength training activity. Keep one foot on a step and step up and down several times or try stepping up two steps for an even tougher workout.

For many of us, spending more time at home means sitting more, watching TV, working at the computer, being on online meetings. But you can still incorporate more movement into your day. Move around while you are on a call, stand for an online meeting, do squats or lunges while you are waiting for a meeting to start, or jumping jacks in front of the TV during the credits or commercial breaks.