Federated Health Charities’ mission is to improve the health and quality of life of Ontarians. We believe education and prevention are key parts of this. Check out our latest Health Hint on how to the staying active during lockdown!
The information in this post has been adapted from the article Exercise During Coronavirus: Tips for Staying Active by the Help Guide. View the article in full here https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/exercise-during-coronavirus.htm
The Importance of Staying Active During Lockdown
As many of our daily routines remain restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise. With the challenges of working from home and limited access to fitness facilities, you may be finding it hard to stick to a workout routine. You may be missing the camaraderie of the gym, the relaxation of swimming laps, or the social connection from walking or hiking with a group of friends. If you were used to attending a fitness class with a motivating instructor, you might be disappointed in the intensity of workouts on your own. With so many other stressors at the moment, staying active can seem like much less of a priority. However, even a small amount of activity can make a huge difference to how well you think and feel. In fact, exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for staying physically and mentally healthy. Exercise can help ease depression, stress, and anxiety, and aid in the management of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. By finding new ways to get moving and stay motivated, you can take charge of your mood and well-being and regain a sense of control during this time of great uncertainty.
Tips on How to Stay Active:
Make an exercise plan that’ll keep you motivated: You’re more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you start small, celebrate your successes, and build up gradually.
Get outside as much as possible: Ontario’s stay-at-home orders allow for one exercise excursion per day so try to exercise outside as much as possible. Take a walk, jog, or ride a bike outside, just remember to wear a mask and/or maintain a safe distance from others. The fresh air and sunshine will provide a further boost to your mental health.
Prioritize your workouts: People who put their fitness activities on the same calendar as their regular appointments tend to stick to their plan.
Workout at the time that’s right for you: Many people who maintain a long-term exercise program workout in the mornings. Completing your fitness routine in the morning can energize you and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Others find it helpful to take a break from work and get moving in the afternoon when their energy is flagging. Do what works for you.
Be specific in your goals—and track your workouts: Rather than aim to “get in better shape,” set a concrete goal such as “walk 30 minutes in the morning on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.” Try a fitness trackers or smartphone app to keep a record of your progress. Tracking your progress can help keep you accountable, provide a sense of accomplishment, and encourage you to keep going.
Say it out loud: Tell a friend what your goals and routines are or post about it on social media. You’re less likely to skip a session if you know your friends will be asking about how you got on.
Keep your workouts interesting: Watch your favorite streaming show or listen to a podcast or some great music while working out. While walking or running, explore a new area in your neighborhood or catch up with a friend on the phone to keep things from getting stale.
Try something new: Always wanted to try barre exercise, line dancing, cardio funk, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training)? Find a free video online, subscribe to one of the many online classes available, or download an app to guide you from the safety of your own home. Many people find they are more comfortable trying something new when no one else is watching. You just might find your new passion!
Join the kids: Play catch or tag, go for a bike ride, shoot baskets, or pass the soccer ball with your kids. Taking the focus away from schoolwork or chores and playing together can even help repair a strained relationship.
Miss the gym? Create a home workout area. If you have space available, designate an area of your home to exercise and keep your equipment handy. Try using resistance bands, water bottles, or your own body weight to perform resistance exercises. You could start by doing push-ups against the wall then progress to doing them against the kitchen counter, the coffee table, and finally the floor. Have stairs in your house? Stair climbing is an efficient strength training.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest Health Hint!
NOTE: This article is intended to provide general health tips based on available research. You should consult with a health care professional for specific medical and dietary instructions that are right for you.