Written by Jim McNerney Coaching Team
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on regions spanning the globe, nearly every US state has mandated stay-at-home orders in an attempt to slow its spread. The resulting non-essential business closures have led to a double whammy effect on many people who enjoy exercising. First, the majority of Americans continue to telecommute from home, increasing the likelihood that many of us are experiencing a newly sedentary lifestyle; in addition, closure orders have shut down many of the gyms, pools, beaches, and walking trails we formerly used to boost our physical activity.
Tips For Staying Active
The benefits of staying active are clear – physical inactivity increases susceptibility to major conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and leads to an estimated 3.5 million lives lost globally each year. In fact, researchers at The Lancet estimate that attention to decreasing inactivity “by 10% or 25% [could result in] more than 533,000 and more than 1.3 million deaths, respectively, [being] averted every year.”
For that reason, We’ve compiled a few tips for staying active during isolation:
- Set a schedule. Many of us thrived on the routine provided by the activities of daily life – wake up, go to work, hit the gym, relax at home. While you can’t keep the same schedule you would have before the pandemic hit, blocking out a little time each day for physical activity can help you keep your promises to yourself. If you don’t already have a workout routine, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
- Set a timer. If you’re working from home, it can be tempting to power through your daily tasks without a break. Instead, set a timer; reminding yourself to take a pause for at least 5 to 10 minutes every hour can help encourage you to get moving. In addition, be sure to set a reminder to engage in moderate exercise at least once per day.
- Find a virtual gym. During the COVID-19 crisis, groups from fitness companies to national organizations have been making efforts to reach out and get America moving. The American Heart Association has instituted a #MoveMoreTogether campaign complete with virtual workouts. Meanwhile, companies like Peloton and Nike have released a library of free workouts and launched their own virtual campaigns.
- Set up a bodyweight-only routine. While the absence of sophisticated gym equipment is one of the toughest parts of staying active during isolation, you can get a great workout at home without it, too. You can find yoga and Pilates instruction online, as well as routines involving more strenuous bodyweight-only exercise like push-ups, planks, squats, sit-ups and more.
- Get out with the family. Whether you live with kids, a spouse, or a furry friend, take the opportunity to get out and play as much as possible. Take a walk around the neighborhood – while observing social distancing – play a favorite game in the backyard, or even challenge one another to a bike race or other preferred activity. The key is getting active while relieving stress with a fun activity.
No matter your previous level of activity, it’s essential to maintain physical activity throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Utilize one of these tips, stick with a workout routine that works for you, or blaze your own trail; the important takeaway is to get moving and prevent the physical and mental toll that can be caused by our newly sedentary lifestyles.