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Article Type: Blog

Why and How to Exercise During a Pandemic

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Staying fit can keep you healthy physically, but exercise also boosts your mental and spiritual health, too. During a pandemic like coronavirus, it’s important not to give up on your fitness routine just because you can’t get to the gym, attend an exercise class or play an organized sport. 

There are lots of ways you can get a good workout at home, and many reasons why you should, too.

Why Workout During a Pandemic Like Coronavirus?

Of course, exercise helps prevent weight gain. But regular physical activity also offers plenty of other important benefits. Exercise can lower your risk of developing health conditions like:

Several types of cancer, such as breast, colorectal and lung

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Exercise also helps you build strong bones. It can improve your sleep, your mental health and your cognitive function, too. And to top it all off, a good workout can simply make your outlook brighter during a global pandemic like coronavirus.

Advantages of Working Out at Home During a Pandemic

Fortunately, working out during a pandemic is as simple as getting set up in your living room, at any time of day. At-home workouts aren’t only just as effective as exercising outside or at a gym, but they also have unique advantages. A few to think about include:

  • An at-home workout takes less time overall because you don’t need to build in travel time to the gym, studio or court
  • When your children see you exercise, you’re setting a good example of an active lifestyle
  • Working out at home may help you stick with exercise, since it’s easy to keep up a routine
  • You can watch your favorite television shows while you break a sweat

Exercising During a Pandemic: Ideas to Try at Home

Many at-home exercises don’t require any special equipment, making them perfect during a COVID-19 quarantine. You may want to invest in a set of light dumbbells, but it’s OK if you don’t have them. To get moving, get started with these tips.

Let the Music Play

A good soundtrack is a key to a fulfilling workout, and a great song can help give you energy to keep going, too.

Do Some Simple Strength Training 

Try out some simple strength exercises that only require your body weight. You probably know how to do more than you think; pushups, sit-ups and lunges are all good options. You can also try using a resistance band.

Find Workout Videos Online

Whatever kind of exercise you like, you can find tons of exercise videos on popular video streaming websites. The variety is endless, and many are geared toward specific age groups, time limits and interests.

Chores Around the House Burn Calories, Too

Physically demanding chores can also count as exercise. To reap the benefits of exercise, do the chores for at least 10 minutes at a time and work hard enough that your heart rate goes up. Some active chores include:

  • Gardening 
  • Mowing using a push mower 
  • Raking leaves 
  • Washing windows

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers these physical activity guidelines:

Young Children

Preschool-aged children ages 3 through 5 years should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.

Kids and Teens

Children and teens ages 6 through 17 years should get 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

Adults

Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity — think brisk walking — per week. Another option is at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity, such as running. In addition, do strengthening exercises, such as weightlifting, twice a week. 

Older Adults

The guidelines for adults apply to older adults, too. This group also benefits from activities to improve balance and prevent falls, such as standing on one foot.

If you can’t meet these guidelines, start with what you can do. Build on it over time by working out a little bit more each week.

Remember to check with your doctor first if you have a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Your doctor can also answer questions you may have about how much exercise you do and what types of activity are best for you.

Keep It Up, Keep It Interesting

As you continue to exercise from home during a pandemic like coronavirus, pick activities that you like and you’ll be more likely to continue doing them. You can make exercise more fun by working out in front of your favorite television show, or playing your favorite music or podcast. 

Try to make exercise part of your regular routine by working out at the same time every day. Remember, it takes a couple of weeks to form a new habit, so don’t feel discouraged if you miss one workout. Just make sure you get back into it the following day. 

If you don’t know where to start, try this simple circuit workout. You can pick the exercises according to your ability level:

  • Pick out a type of aerobic exercise, like jogging or marching in place
  • Additionally, choose up to five strength exercises, such as lifting dumbbells (or soup cans) or doing pushups and lunges
  • Do your aerobic exercise for one to two minutes, then do the strength exercises
  • Repeat about three times for one complete workout

Here to Help You Stay Healthy

AdventHealth is here to help you feel healthy in body, mind and spirit. For more information about coronavirus and how to keep your family healthy at home, visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub

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