Exercising during COVID-19

Exercising during COVID-19

We are all well aware at this stage that we are experiencing an outbreak of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) which is a respiratory disease meaning it effects our airways and lungs. We know that the most effective way to avoid infection is good personal hygiene, social distancing and healthy habits which include exercise. Regular physical exercise can help to reduce the risk of a person contracting viral or bacterial infections by enhancing the person’s immune system. Therefore, we should try to maintain our exercise regimes as best we can during this period to ensure our immune systems are as strong as possible. In addition, it is well documented that exercise can improve mood and reduce anxiety, reduce stress level, increase energy levels, distract us from negative thoughts, increase our ability to concentrate and improve our quality of sleep.
But how do we continue exercising when we are out of our normal routine. This is probably the most difficult element of keeping up the exercise regimen especially if you have to socially distance yourself or isolate in your own home or cannot access the gym.
Suggestions that may make it easier;
• Where possible try to get outdoors away from everyone else. This maybe a walk around the garden, house or to the local park. If you can’t get outdoors to exercise think about opening the doors and windows in the house so that there is some fresh air circulating.
• When is the best time to exercise when at home? For a lot of people getting it done early in the day works best – so you don’t have time to talk yourself out of exercising however some people are better exercising in the evenings and this would be their normal routine. Taking that into consideration if you are a regular to exercise maybe stick to your normal daily routine and if you are new to exercising start earlier before you give yourself too many excuses.
• Have a plan so you don’t waste time trying to decide what to actually do! This could be something decided the day before or even better jot down a few ideas for the week.
• Have an accountability team mate. This doesn’t need to be someone you see on a daily basis but someone you could check in with every couple of days to ensure you are keeping up an exercise routine. Essentially, you will be each other’s cheerleaders.
• Take your time – use the travel time you saved by not going to the gym and make sure your workout a little bit longer!
• Get creative – avoid boredom and mix it up with the occasional yoga and dance workout. Use items in the home as weights for example – plastic bottles can be reused with water in them to make weights.
• There are lots of exercise apps that can be downloaded onto phones, some gym and personal trainers have gone online with their gym classes and if all else fails there is You-tube which will have an array of exercise regimens.
• Challenge yourself and your friends for example to do a hundred squats or push ups over a certain period of time. However, make sure to pace yourself and build up your exercise tolerance as you go. This is where a lot of people sustain an injury – doing too much too soon. Build up your exercises gradually especially if it is something new to you.
• If you are working from home try to break up your time at the computer/laptop for example with doing some squats or just having a quick walk around the house.
• Your exercise routine does not need to be high paced or sweat inducing all the time. Some days you may just feel like stretching and practising deep breathing which can help with relaxation. This is a time of uncertainty and anxiety so be kind to yourself.