Physical activity and movement are extremely important during the coronavirus pandemic. Our bodies and minds need exercise to function well and keep the spirits up during these challenging times. How can you help your family become more physically active and get enough exercise to stay healthy? Get up and move more as a part of your everyday routine with our easy tips and tricks! We’ve compiled a list of simple daily efforts and habits, from healthy snack ideas to the best at-home workouts, that are easy to start infusing into everyday life.
Global recommendations are for all adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. Any activity is better than none, and more activity provides more physical and mental health benefits!
Here are some guidelines based on just the right amount – for most people.
During this coronavirus pandemic, the one thing that we all have in common is an opportunity to take advantage of the time that we have. That will look different for us all, whether it’s trying a new hobby, finding the best quarantine gifts to send to loved ones, or creating healthy routines, here’s a list of habits that you can build and even continue long after coronavirus restrictions are lifted. We’re here to help you get through this together with some exercise, eating well, and self-care tips.
Take breaks from continuous sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone every 20 – 30 minutes. You can take a few minutes to walk around the house, take some fresh air on the balcony, in the garden or yard, or play with your dog for a few moments. There are lots of fun and easy ways to build more activity into your everyday routine.
Having a commitment or goal, such as doing yoga five days per week or beating your best 5K time, will help you stay on track. Share it with others to keep yourself accountable. If you’re the competitive type, virtual challenge friends, family or coworkers and see who can consistently meet their goals over time.
It’s not easy shopping for groceries right now, as most aisles are empty or limiting how much you can buy. To avoid overspending and stay healthy, buy in-season produce or find on-sale items. Make a list: You’ll shop smarter, and it’ll keep you from roaming around the store longer than needed.
It feels easy to buy snacks and processed foods right now since they have a longer shelf-life. But you can still eat healthy during this pandemic. Plan your meals in advance to avoid impulsive purchases. This is a great time to track your food to hold you accountable and healthy while at home. If you’re hungry, enjoy:
Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. Take a break from the news and negativity right now and practice a meditation session to clear your mind. It’s also important to get a good night’s rest to keep your immune system healthy. Watch what you eat or drink before bed, and keep moving throughout the day to catch some zzz’s.
There is no need to push yourself to exercise. You can always start slowly. There are activities like pilates, meditating, and yoga which are also very good ways of keeping healthy. These gentle mind-body practices may leave you less stressed and can be done just about anywhere.
Make healthy food swaps such as making cookies with unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar or butter. Have your kids help plan their fun lunch boxes for the week. And still, encourage activities they enjoy to keep them active and healthy during self-quarantine.
Walking, cycling, jogging, and hiking can help you get some much-needed fresh air while staying safely away from others. Don’t have time for a full-length outdoor exercise session? Consider breaking your workout up into several 10-minute sessions. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a few brisk walks around the block can add up to a full workout. Even after the lockdown is lifted, consider making a conscious effort to enjoy nature more often.
Find fun activities that fit your personality and motivate you to stick with them. If you’re a social person, try joining a virtual exercise class or calling up a friend to workout together. If you prefer time alone, yoga or running might be a better fit for you.
Hydration is a very essential part of your health, however, it is often overlooked. Now more than ever, drink plenty of fluids to help keep your body hydrated and to flush out toxins. Take this time to focus on your daily water intake with some custom water bottles.
Chores such as mowing the lawn, working in the garden, washing the car, or cleaning out the garage provide excellent opportunities to build muscles and burn calories. In addition to the sense of accomplishment, you will feel after your workout, completing a household task will yield even more feel-good benefits.
Most importantly, set up the routine of allowing yourself to process. That looks different for everyone. Maybe you’re the kind of person that likes to take a bath when things get tough, or maybe you like to cuddle up with your pets. Maybe journaling is your favorite go-to or sitting outside in the sunshine lifts your spirits. Whatever the case, make sure to leave room for your brain to work through these difficult emotions. Pick healthy options, like working out, and avoid negative habits, like binge-eating or sleeping all day.
Remember to take care of yourself, mentally and physically, during these trying times. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as productive as you were before the coronavirus hit. Be gentle, patient, and kind, and you’ll get there.
Exercise can help keep our immune system strong, less susceptible to infections, and better able to recover from any sickness. You might feel that being at home has affected how much daily exercise you are able to successfully complete. It can be tricky to find the motivation to exercise when you are used to going to a gym or miss taking classes with your friends. Luckily, there is a way around it! Here are some of the best at-home workouts you can do without any equipment to stay on top of your health during this time.
If you have the financial resources, consider supporting your local fitness studio or personal trainer by signing up for online fitness classes or training sessions. Some personal trainers are even offering private virtual sessions customized to your needs, schedule, and preferences. Plus, having a class or training session on your calendar allows you to stay connected in a fun way, which may be just the motivation you need to keep up with your fitness regime.
Home-based strength exercises that utilize your own body weight – such as press-ups, sit-ups, and planks – are as important for health as aerobic exercise. Aim for at least a couple of own bodyweight sessions per week, with each session involving two to four sets of eight to 15 repetitions of each strength-promoting exercise. Make sure you take a two to three minutes rest between sets.
An increasing number of live concerts are streamed online through virtual parties. Use the stress-releasing magic of music and dance at home like nobody’s watching. Dancing is an excellent way to protect the heart and maintain fitness as it can reach moderate and vigorous intensity and can even imitate high-intensity interval training. Dancing also has established mental health benefits to help us cope with the coronavirus-imposed solitude.
When walking, running, or cycling, increase your speed from leisurely to brisk or choose a route with more hills or inclines. Or alternate moderate and vigorous intensity. You’ll get a more intense workout in the same amount of time.
Using the stairs is an extremely time-efficient way to maintain fitness. As little as three 20-second fast stair climbs a day can improve fitness in only six weeks. If you live in an apartment, avoid uncomfortable lift encounters with other self-isolating neighbors by using the staircase for any necessary outdoor journeys. Take care to avoid much contact with handrails.
Use video calls with your friends as a time to get in some exercise and social interaction. Think of this as a way of keeping yourself accountable for exercising and not feeling alone in the process. Better yet, you and your friends can come up with your own workout circuit to enjoy together.
To help you have fun while getting moving with your kids, we came up with a list of some unique activities you can do together that will get everyone’s heart rate up.
Clear some space, put on some music, and take a dance break! It can re-energize a work meeting, study session, lazy Sunday or game night. Let each person take a turn as DJ so everyone’s favorites get played.
Walk or jog in place or on a treadmill, lift weights, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows. Break up a TV binge with a bit of activity between episodes. Or challenge the kids to see who can do the most burpees, pushups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
Let each family member draw a card each day with a different active task that needs to be done. Cleaning up after dinner, walking the dog, taking the trash out, folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher are all good ways to get your family up off the couch – and get the chores done.
Since the 2020 Summer Olympics are postponed to next year, you can still enjoy the spectacle of Olympic competition in your own home! Some at-home, kid-friendly events might include an egg race, balancing a cup full of water, a water balloon toss, a hula-hoop contest, frisbee throwing contest, dance-off, and more!
Gardening, lawn mowing, and yard work are a great way to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden.
Although it may take some effort to create and adjust to new fitness routines, regular physical activity can help you optimize your health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. There are things we can all do to help make these days better and to stay healthy.
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