If you are having a difficult time incorporating regular exercise in your new at-home routine, remember:
- Exercise promotes healthy immune system function. Aerobic exercise activates your immune system in a healthy way. Regular aerobic exercise may leave you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses.
- Exercise relieves stress, boosts mood, eases the gloominess of depression, reduces tension related to anxiety, promotes relaxation, and helps you sleep!
- Exercise helps maintain healthy body weight, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of many chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of cancer.
Consider reallocating what used to be time spent commuting to time spent exercising. You won’t regret it!
For maximum benefits, aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise and two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week.
A few considerations if you are still able to exercise outside:
- Honor social distancing guidelines. Social distancing is a practice recommended by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of contagious diseases. It requires the creation of physical space between individuals to stop the spread of infectious diseases. If you are running, walking or hiking outside, try to do so in a location that is not crowded. If you encounter others while out exercising, maintain six feet distance.
- Assess risks before participating in certain activities, like bike riding or other outdoor activities. If you are injured during this activity and seek emergency medical care, this displaces resources in our healthcare system. Use common sense in your decision making to limit the risk of straining the healthcare system with emergencies unrelated to COVID-19.
- Spending time in nature may enhance immune function. Just keep your distance and be sure to wash your hands when you get home!
Don’t Sit All Day!
If you are working from home, this eliminates a lot of natural daily movement. Try to find some ways to creatively fit more movement into your day. If you are having a hard time meeting the exercise recommendations, a reasonable goal is to simply sit less!
Make Sedentary “Activities” More Active
If you spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV, first set a goal to devote some of this time to being more active. For example, if you watch 2 hours of TV daily, consider cutting that in half and spend the other hour moving.
You can also multitask! If you are watching TV or doing another sedentary activity, get up periodically (ie, during every commercial) and do some stretching, jumping jacks, a lap around your home or an active chore. You can also incorporate movement like stretching or bouncing on an exercise ball throughout the show.
Simple ideas to get moving.
- Put some music on and walk around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes two or three times daily
- Dance to your favorite music
- Jump Rope
- Do an exercise video –while many gyms have closed, check with membership offices or your gyms social media channels for online workout options
- Use an in-home cardio machine (like an exercise bike or treadmill) if you have one
- Walk or jog around your neighborhood or at some local trails (socially distanced.) Exercise, such as brisk walking, especially after meals helps with blood sugar regulation. If you don’t have time to schedule 30 min at a time, try 10-minute brisk walks or stairs after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Go for a bicycle ride
- Do gardening and lawn work
- Play active games with your family
Fuss-free ideas to develop your strength.
- Download a strength workout app to your smartphone, such as the 7 – Minute Workout (no equipment necessary!)
- Do a strength training exercise video
- Do yoga –deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety
- Simple muscle strengthening exercises that you can do around the house (even in front of your favorite show!)
- squats or sit to stands from a sturdy chair
- push-ups against a wall or a kitchen counter
- lunges or single leg step-ups on the stairs