The Covid-19 pandemic has left many people with so much stress and distress in their lives. So many jobs and lives were lost — and the end is nowhere in sight over a year in the new normal.
Physical mobility has been quite challenging due to travel restrictions. And if you are not an essential worker on the frontline and you do not have anything important to do outside, physical movement has been restricted pretty much to the four corners of your home. This drastic change of routine has affected the overall conditions of one’s mental and physical health.
Don’t worry. All this stress can stop now. You can begin by kickstarting your workout journey to better manage both your physical and mental well-being.
Why exercise at all?
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that exercising has been a proven method to deal with stress. It can also lead to improved resistance to a lot of illnesses.
The benefits of exercising and other physical activities have long been in numerous conversations and advocacies, even before the COVID pandemic began. Aside from developing strength and aiding in weight management, another key benefit of working out is to help steer clear of the long-lasting risks of numerous health issues, including anxiety, cancer, diabetes, depression, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.
On age-appropriate workouts
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released several articles on the benefits and importance of maintaining health through physical activity, especially during a pandemic. In one of its published articles, WHO Director of Health Promotion, Dr. Ruediger Krech, said that “physical activity of any type and any duration can improve health and well-being, but more is always better.”
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, echoes Dr. Krech’s statement as he stated, physical activity is essential to health and well-being, and that we ought to move everyday in safe and creative methods. Every move counts.
WHO released a fact sheet on physical activity, which indicated time recommendations per age group to keep their heart and lungs work harder.
Here are some of the key points on the fact sheet regarding exercise recommendations:
- Children under 5. Interactive and play-based physically activities several times spread throughout the day
- Children aged 5-17. Variation of low impact and high impact physical activities for at least 60 minutes every day spread across the week
- Adults aged 18-64. There are two options for adults in this category. First is physical activity of at least 2.5 to 5 hours aerobic physical activity with moderate intensity. The other option is at least 1.5 to 3 hours of high intensity aerobic physical activity. Exercises should also include activities that target major muscle groups for at least 2 days.
- Adults aged 65+. Same as for adults. Exercises should include physical activity that emphasizes functional balance and strength training at least 3 days a week to enhance functional capacity and to prevent falls.
The Home is Where the Health Is
The fitness industry has changed since the COVID pandemic began. Can’t go to the gym for your fitness classes? The classes will come to you. Hop on a Zoom meeting and exercise to your heart’s delight.
Fitness programs, both free and paid, have sprouted like mushrooms on the internet. You have over a hundred more options on the kind of virtual workout classes you can take. You also have multiple options to choose from over a hundred diet programs developed by nutritionists and diet enthusiasts.
There’s also no shortage of free exercise resources available over the internet, social media, and YouTube — use them or lose them!
Work with what you have.
Getting a good workout at home does not require transforming a portion of your house into a fitness gym. For one, it is costly. Secondly, having gym equipment in your house takes up a lot of space. You will also have to worry about proper storage, especially if there are children or seniors in the house. Now isn’t the best time to go to the hospital because of freak accidents.
Exercising at home can be simple but effective. You can grab a thick towel and join a yoga session online. You can also opt for dancing to several Zumba dance songs. Another option is to create your workout program that only requires your body weight. You have the freedom to change it up as you please.
If work commitments and home chores prevent you from exercising, don’t be discouraged. You can try these during the day:
- Walk around the house (especially stairs, if you have them) when speaking to colleagues or loved ones on the phone;
- Play some music you’ll know you’ll dance to as you wash the dishes
- Set your alarm every hour to drop everything you’re doing and do 30 jumping jacks (throw in some push-ups if you’re really into it)
Make it a family affair.
As WHO pointed out, it is not only the adults who need their dose of physical activity every day. So why not make it a fun-filled family affair?
Getting your whole family to exercise together can be loads of fun. You can create a series of physical activities that fit into everyone’s work and school schedule. This not only encourages your kids to get into the good habit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it also allows more time to bond and gets closer, even when you see each other every day.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on everyone’s physical and mental health. But don’t let that dampen your spirits. With the surge of online content for workout and nutrition, there are more reasons to getting up and getting more creative with the physical activity you and your entire family need to get through the day.