The Importance of Staying Active During the Pandemic
While we are still facing the pandemic from inside our homes, it is important to consider our mental and physical health. As a society we are suffering from a number of chronic diseases— type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and more. When coupled with the mental strain that the pandemic has introduced into many of our lives, the stress of managing our health can become overwhelming and at times lack of motivation may settle in. However, exercise is a great way to manage both mental and physical health as well as combat lack of motivation (Dominski and Brandt).
When done regularly, exercise is a great form of preventative medicine due to its countless benefits for the body and the brain. Exercising regularly can prevent certain diseases from occurring or prevent further progression of diseases, which is why it is so important to incorporate into our lives.
Benefits of Exercise:
Decreases risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, depression, anxiety, and dementia (CDC)
Improved quality of sleep (CDC)
Weight management and obesity prevention (CDC)
Through the continuing social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been expected that rates of physical inactivity have increased, especially in populations experiencing chronic diseases (Dominski and Brandt). Considering the vast benefits of exercise and the fact that those suffering from chronic diseases may be at increased risk of physical inactivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, here you can find a list of exercises that can be performed inside your home or outside with proper social distancing and mask-wearing:
1. Walking: Brisk walking for 15-30 minutes can be done as a break between long sessions of sitting or as daily exercise if done at higher intensity levels (CDC).
2. Yoga: Yoga can be performed in your home or outdoors. Yoga is a great aerobic exercise that is beneficial physically and mentally. There are varying types depending on personal needs: restorative, vinyasa, hatha, and more (American Osteopathic Association). Videos to guide you can be found on YouTube and other platforms.
3. Jogging: Jogging can be done outdoors at varying intensity levels, depending on personal preference.
4. High Intensity Interval Training: a form of exercise that is done in intervals that acts as a quick cardiovascular exercise. This can be done indoors or outdoors.
The CDC recommends that adults perform moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 minutes each week, plus muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week. The exercises listed above are all moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercises but can be adjusted to be low intensity as well.
For more on CDC physical activity recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm
By: Aliyah Parker
American Osteopathic Association. “Benefits of Yoga.” American Osteopathic Association, 12 July 2019, osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/benefits-of-yoga/.
CDC. “Benefits of Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.
CDC. “Physical Activity Prevents Chronic Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm.
Dominski, Fábio Hech, and Ricardo Brandt. “Correction to: Do the Benefits of Exercise in Indoor and Outdoor Environments during the COVID‑19 Pandemic Outweigh the Risks of Infection?” Sport Sciences for Health, 2020, doi:10.1007/s11332-020-00686-8.
Hammami, Amri, et al. “Physical Activity and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Specific Recommendations for Home-Based Physical Training.” Managing Sport and Leisure, 2020, pp. 1–6., doi:10.1080/23750472.2020.1757494.