Activity During Isolation

With the chances of a second strict lockdown looming as the number of COVID-19 positive cases rises globally, the exercise routines that were regained will likely be disrupted again. The implementation of the first lockdown in March 2020 made way for many to lose muscle, regain weight, and face challenges in their mental health journeys. Exercise is a tool in not only maintaining the physical body but strengthening the mind as well. Despite the possibility of gyms closing, there are a variety of ways we can strive to keep exercise a part of our daily routines.


Body Weight Exercises

Body weight exercises provide resistance training that improves strength, flexibility, endurance, speed and power. Without a need for any formal machine or equipment, these types of exercises are perfect for those looking to maintain muscle tone with a straightforward, at-home workout routine. Popular body weight exercises include push-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, leg-raises and donkey kicks. Doing a couple sets of each either all at one time or even between work meetings is an efficient and accessible way of maintaining both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.



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Walking

If body weight training is not the right fit, walking is a perfect, simple and an incredibly underrated form of exercise that anyone can do! It not only provides resistance training while improving cardiac health, but it provides a low impact form of exercise that many can do for a longer period of time as an alternative to running. Studies have found that consistently walking every day has allowed individuals to improve their blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol levels, fatigue and depression (Hanson and Jones).


Household Items

Holding free weights, even 2 to 5 pound dumbbells, is a great way to increase resistance training during walking. Don’t have any? No problem! Soup cans, water bottles or anything that has some weight to it can do the trick just fine. If you are used to using free weights or deadlifts at the gym, there are multiple ways to replicate the same exercises at home. Resistance bands have increased in popularity recently because they allow for the same level of efficiency during exercise that free weights provide without the high price tag or space required. Otherwise, getting a little creative with milk jugs or laundry detergent containers and filling them with either water, sand or even concrete is a great alternative approach.



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YouTube

Understanding and curating a workout for ourselves can seem so overwhelming. There are just so many possible exercises to implement into our routines. If you are someone who shares this feeling and wants to follow pre-curated workouts, YouTube is a perfect place to start. There are many trained professionals that provide 20, 30, 40, and even 60 minute workouts for every difficulty level possible. You have your choice of pilates, Zumba, dance fit, yoga, walking exercises, dance cardio, etc. and can look specifically for aspects such as low impact or high resistance in each. As this pandemic impacted people around the world, many trainers have also switched to online fitness classes. Such an environment provides a new way to connect with people and hold you accountable.


Video Games

Active video games are a fun and engaging way to get everybody in the house involved and moving. It can provide the step away from reality that so many of us desire during quarantine and can be used to connect and compete with others online. Fitness and dance games on the Wii, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and now VR-based games allow for a fun fitness alternative to regular routine exercise.


No matter what methods you choose to utilize to maintain your activity levels outside of the gym, exercise, for even 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times per week can be immensely beneficial for your overall health and well-being. So get up, get active and stay consistent.


Sources:

Hanson, S., & Jones, A. (2015). Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(11), 710–715. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2014-094157


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