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Article Type: Blog

Healthy Mom, Healthy Family: Prioritizing 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 Work Out During a Pandemic Like COVID-19?

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:

  • 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 coronavirus quarantine. You may want to invest in a set of light dumbbells, but it’s okay 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 and your little ones energy to keep going, too.

Make it a Game

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring! Go outside and play tag, kick around the soccer ball, or play anything else that your family finds fun. You may even forget that you’re exercising.

Find Workout Videos Online

Whatever kind of exercise you like, you can find tons of exercise videos on popular video streaming websites. This can be a private workout class just for your family. Kids love to mimic, so teach them how to do what they’re seeing on screen. 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. This is a great time to involve the kids as your helpers. Some active, family chores include:

  • Cleaning the car
  • Gardening 
  • Raking leaves 
  • Sweeping
  • Washing windows

How Much Exercise Do You and Your Family Need?

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

Young Children

Preschool-aged children age 3 through 5 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 two 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. 

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 family’s 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. 

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 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

Our Women’s and Children’s Health Navigation Team is here to answer your health care questions and provide support and guidance for your whole family.

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