As the global coronavirus pandemic is on full-swing infecting thousands with millions on the verge of getting the disease—going to the gym is the last thing on people’s minds right now. Regular gym-goers are disappointed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended even more aggressive social-distancing measures, which means that many gyms and fitness centers have to close their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Health experts are now suggesting people improvise and do exercises that can be done at home or workout outdoors while maintaining a safe distance from others. As more and more cities and entire nations are now under lockdown to minimize the spread of the virus, the question many are asking is, how will this impact our health and well-being?
Why You Need To Exercise and Stay Active
Research shows that being sedentary for long periods is detrimental to your physical health and mental well-being. So you must do everything possible to stay fit during this difficult time. Physical activity reduces blood pressure and cholesterol. Furthermore, staying active can significantly lower the risk of developing heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes.
Regular exercises also help in maintaining muscle mass and bone density lowering the risk of developing osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Physical activity also keeps your immune system in check. It also helps in flushing bacteria from the lungs and airways, increasing white blood cell circulation, and maintaining the body temperature—all of which are required to help the body to ward off infections. Physical activity also improves your psychological health as it lowers your stress hormones, such as cortisol, and promotes the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones).
If you’re stuck at home with no home gym—it is still possible for you and your family to stay active and continue with your workout routine. A quick search on Google, and you’ll come up with many exercises that can be done at home with very little or no equipment. If you’re fortunate enough to own a treadmill or a stationary bike—you’re probably familiar with various home workouts to stay active. But if these are not possible, multiple activities will raise your heart rate that is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs. Talk or chat on your phone while standing up rather than sitting down. If you love to dance, do it—it’s a great way to remain active, especially with kids. Just play some music for 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times a day, and dance your hearts out. Alternatively, you can exercise using ropes. Just fetch those old skipping ropes from the garage and put it into use. If you’ve been into yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates, but have lost in touch with them, now is the time to reengage. There are many fitness apps and YouTube videos promoting exercises and physical activities for home, so check those out.
Resistance exercises strengthen your muscles and improve mobility, and resistance bands or weights are required to perform some of these workouts. But, if you can’t do these exercises because of a lack of equipment, you shouldn’t stop. There are some great alternatives to these workouts, such as squats or crunches from a sturdy chair, push-ups against a wall, and lunges using a bench, or single legs ups on stairs, and so on. Make your home-made dumbbells using tins of baked beans, bottled water, and rice or flour bags. To have an improvised kettlebell, fill up a carrier bag with sand or rice, or whatever else you have around you.
In these times of uncertainty, whatever your situation is—we all need to do something to take control of our health and well-being. So, be active, eat healthily, and stay hydrated.