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Exercise improves your physical health, mental health, immune system, sleep quality and energy levels all in one! As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing physical activity is more important than ever.
Whether you have more free time, or your schedule has only become more chaotic, exercise is essential to maintaining your well-being. The time you spend exercising pays off long after your workout. So, you’ll find that the time investment is well worth it. There are numerous ways you can fit more physical activity into your schedule.
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits, even just a moderate amount of exercise can make a big difference. Then you can aim to become more physically active over time to meet the guidelines.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week for substantial health benefits. This breaks down to about 30 minutes, 5 days a week. But any effort to move more and sit less can improve health.
You don’t need a gym membership to stay active. In fact, exercising at home is more convenient, making it easier to stay consistent. Home exercise is also free and less of a time commitment because you don’t have to drive there.
Try to schedule physical activities into your day just like you would schedule a meeting or an appointment. To make it easier to establish a routine, schedule physical activity at same time(s) each day if possible. For example, commit to a 10-15 minute walk after dinner rather than just trying to fit that walk in at some point in your day.
If you aren’t typically active, start with a lower intensity or a shorter workout. Then gradually increase the duration and difficulty. It’s also important to make it fun so you’ll follow through.
Walk with your dog, your partner or your kids. If you walk on your own, make it more enjoyable by listening to your favorite music playlist, an interesting podcast episode, or a new audio book. Some other family friendly physical activities you can do while social distancing include tossing a frisbee, playing hopscotch, jumping rope, playing catch, dancing and many more.
Exercising with someone else, even virtually, can be more enjoyable than doing it alone. When someone else is involved with your workouts, they can help keep you accountable, motivated and even encourage you to bump up the intensity.
Make it easy to move more and use visual cues that act as reminders to move. Examples, include:
Lay your exercise mat out in your bedroom before you go to bed.
Keep your sneakers and dog leash (if applicable) by the door.
Place a sticky note on your TV or remote controller with 3 exercises written on it.
Take it a step further and create a challenge for yourself!
Basic home exercise equipment may include:
There are endless body weight exercises to choose from for strength, cardio, core, flexibility, and more.
If you’re not sure where to start, check if your gym is offering virtual classes. Or try some of the YouTube channels I’ve listed below.
Bonus Tip! You can even use basic household items as weights. Just look in your pantry.
There are likely a variety of “weights” you can choose from:
Remember to find balance between physical activity and the time you spend sedentary. The average person is sedentary for up to 12 hours everyday, which is linked with negative health consequences. Especially now that we are spending more time at home, we may be sitting even more than usual.
Be mindful about the amount of time you spend seated or lying down. Set a timer or use apps like “Move” or “Stand up!” to remind you to move every hour or so.
Tori Price is a certified Exercise Physiologist who graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Assessment and Promotion. Tori has six years of experience in the health and fitness industry, working with a wide range of populations. As a Health Behavior Change and Weight Management Specialist, she is truly passionate about empowering people to take small steps to improve their well-being.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610