Social distancing, self-quarantine, and many gym closures have made it harder for us to stay active and exercise during this pandemic. While staying at home, our physical actions are likely more limited now than they used to be.
As most of our daily routines remained curbed during this COVID 19 pandemic, also with the challenges of working from home and limited access to fitness facilities, you may be finding it hard to persist to your workout routine. And with a lot of people out of work and struggling financially, staying active can seem like much less of a priority. However, even a slight amount of activity can make a big difference to how well you think and feel. Exercise is one of the powerful tools we have for staying physically and mentally healthy.
Exercise can help reduce depression, stress, and anxiety, and aid in the management of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. By finding new ways to get moving and staying motivated, you can take charge of your mood and well-being and regain a sense of control during this time of great uncertainty.
While being fit won’t prevent you from catching the virus, it does have other protective effects. Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in your brain that help revitalizes your mind and body, and it can help to improve all aspects of your health. In addition to boosting your mood and improving sleep, exercise can also strengthen your immune system, something that is particularly important at this time, especially for older aged adults who are more prone to COVID-19.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways we can increase our motivation during this time to stay active and keep on working towards our health goals. Here are some tips to help keep you active and healthy during this trying time.
Prioritize your Workout Plans - Put your fitness activities on the same calendar as your regular appointments and stick to your plan.
Workout at the most suitable time for you - Most people maintain a long-term workout program in the mornings. Accomplishing your fitness routine in the morning can energize you and set you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. Others may find it helpful to take a break from work and get moving in the afternoon when their energy is slumping. A spurt of activity can stimulate the brain and help you bustle the rest of the tasks on your agenda.
Focus on your goals and track your progress - Rather than aiming to “get in better shape,” set a concrete goal such as “walk 30 minutes in the morning every day.” Try one of the many fitness trackers or smartphone apps available to keep a record of your progress—or simply use a calendar to record the length of your workout, distance, and effort level. Tracking your progress can help keep you responsible, provide a sense of accomplishment, and encourage you to persevere.
Play with the kids - Play catch or tag, go for a bike ride, shoot baskets, or pass the soccer ball with your kids, or grand kids. Taking the focus away from work or chores and playing together can help keep that strong family kinship.
Add more movement into your day - Spending more time at home means slouching more—watching TV, working at the computer, or being on virtual meetings to most of us. But you can still discover other ways to add extra movement into your day. Incorporate household chores into your sitting time: vacuum a room, mop the floor, do some gardening, or wipe down your appliances. Move around while you are on a call, stand during an online meeting, do squats or lunges while you’re waiting for a meeting to start, or jumping jacks while watching TV or during the credits and commercial breaks. Try ‘microwave exercises’ or short bursts of movement like countertop or wall push-ups while you are waiting for the soup to boil or the cake to bake.
Create a home workout area - If you have space available, designate an area of your home to exercise and keep your equipment handy. Try using resistance bands, water bottles, or your body weight to perform resistance exercises. Start by doing push-ups against the wall then progress to doing them against the kitchen counter, the coffee table, and finally the floor. You could do stair climbing too as it is an efficient strength-training activity. It can increase the strength of the leg, thigh and hip muscles while also toning the abdominal muscles.
During this COVID 19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that when it comes to exercise, doing something is always better than nothing. Going for a walk around the block will not only stretch your legs but can help clear your mind too. It might even encourage you to walk a little further the next day.
If the current situation has made it hard for you to do your favorite forms of exercise, don’t beat yourself up and keep exploring with new workouts until you find something that you really enjoy. And if you feel that you are losing your motivation to get moving, focus on how much better you’ll feel after even a little exercise. It also helps to reward yourself for adhering to your exercise program. Take a long, hot bubble bath, for example, make a fruit smoothie, or eat your favorite cake.
Keep this in mind - the healthy habits you build now can help you to stay healthier and happier far beyond this global pandemic.