With COVID-19 keeping many of us at home, our ability to be physically active is limited. Staying physically active is important. It can help to reduce stress, as the increase of endorphins will make you feel better! Lack of physical activity can have negative effects on health and mental well- being.
Carving out a time to be physically active while at home can be difficult. Take active breaks throughout the day, short bouts of activity add up! If you are on a call, stand or walk around while on the call rather than sitting. Make sure to take breaks from sitting in front of the computer or on the couch, every 30 minutes or so get up and move for a minute or two. Go for a bike ride or take a long walk, but make sure to practice social distancing.
If you are unable to get out of the house, walk laps in your home or walk up and down the stairs. Have a dance party. Try an online workout. Do some yoga. Use household items as weights. Some activity is better than none. Even if you are unable to do a “workout”, moving around is key; whether it be cleaning, gardening, or playing with kids, be creative – these minutes add up.
Even though going to the gym is no longer an option, there are so many free resources available to you online to help you stay active. Find an online exercise class. Many are being offered for free online, even if you are not a paying member. If you are new to these types of classes, be aware of your own limitations. It is recommended that an adult participates in 150 minutes of moderately intense or 75 minutes of vigorously intense physical activity each week, or a combination of both.
The World Health Organization has also prepared some home-based exercises to help you stay active while home. Below are a few of the exercises for you to try.
Knee to Elbow (Standing or sitting)
- Touch one knee with the opposite elbow, alternate sides.
- Perform this for 1-2 minutes, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This should increase your heart and breathing rate.
- With your elbows under your shoulders, support your forearms on the ground.
- Make sure that your hips stay level and don’t sag.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds – or more if you are able. Rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This strengthens your stomach, arms and legs.
- Laying on your stomach, touch your ears with your fingertips and lift and lower your upper body. Keep your legs on the ground.
- Do this exercise 10-15 times or more. Rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This exercise strengthens your back muscles.
- Place your feet hip distance apart, with your toes pointing slightly outwards.
- Squat as low as you can while keeping your heels on the ground, your knees should be over your feet, not in front of them.
- Do this exercise 10-15 times, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This exercise strengthens your legs and glutes.
Side Knee Lifts
- Standing with your legs hip distance apart and your arms at shoulder level, lift your knee to the side and touch your elbow, alternating sides.
- Do this exercise for 1-2 minutes, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates as well as strengthen your sides.
- Get on all fours, place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Lift one arm forward and the opposite leg back, alternate sides.
- Perform this exercise 20-30 times, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This exercise strengthens your stomach, glutes and back muscles.
- Laying on your back, plant your feet on the ground with your knees over your heels.
- Lift your hips and then lower them. Perform this exercise 10-15 times, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- This exercise strengthens your glutes.
After performing any physical activity, it is important that you stretch the muscles you just worked.
Any form of physical activity will help – you just need to move. You will find that being physically active helps to reduce stress, burns pent up energy, helps to maintain mental well-being and overall good health. Incorporating physical activity into your routine can help to boost mood too! Find ways that you and your family can incorporate some sort of physical activity into each day to reduce sedentary behavior and to help you get through these uncertain times.
World Health Organization. Euro.who.int
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Nor is it intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a medical professional. Individual results may vary.