The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through the world as we know it. To fight the virus, our governmental leaders have asked all of us to stay at home, closed down many businesses, and introduced social distancing into our way of life. Yes COVID-19 has changed our day to day life, but not just in the ways that are highlighted in the media. Staying at home and having our gyms closed presents a unique challenge to everyone trying to stay fit and healthy. Exercise is an essential part of life to maintain a healthy weight, fight chronic disease, boost immune systems, improve stress and elevate your mood, and to combat chronic pain. Your body was created to move, and as the old saying goes, you either use it or lose it!
As we practice social distancing and self quarantine we have to be creative to find ways to stay mobile as part of our new routine. The risks of not staying mobile are considerable. In fact, immobility poses many health risks, some which can be serious.
1. Take Advantage of the Great Outdoors!
While many businesses and the gyms are shut down, being outside is still safe. Obviously the most important thing is to remain at home and quarantined if you feel sick, especially with the cardinal symptoms of COVID-19; cough, fever, and shortness of breath. But as long as you are healthy and maintain adequate social distancing from others, go out for a run or go for a hike. Ride a bike and get your heart pumping. Cardiovascular-type exercise is critical in burning calories, limbering up stiff joints, and improving your mental health! All it costs is a good pair of running shoes!
2. Rainy Day? Cardio Inside.
What if it’s raining outside or you just want to be extra cautious and stay indoors to protect yourself from the virus? That’s ok. There is plenty of exercise you can do inside to get your heart rate up. Jumping jacks, running in place, burpees…all of these require no equipment and very little space to do. Time yourself and do as many as you can for a minute, rest for 15-30seconds, and then do it again! You’ll be dripping in sweat in no time! Another great option is jump roping. This is a simple piece of equipment that is very affordable that again takes up very little space. Just make sure there is enough room overhead!
3. Try Yoga.
Yoga has long been used to promote flexibility and resilience in the spine as well as a way to improve joint mobility and control. There are many styles and practices of yoga, from muscle building stability work to gentler forms where you focus on breathing and reducing stress. Classes come in all shapes and sizes with plenty of free resources online to get you started. One of my favorite free options is www.doyogawithme.com. You can also search on social media platforms like YouTube for videos that will walk you through forms and practices.
4. Get Creative as Household Items Double as Exercise Equipment.
You may have a few pieces of gym equipment at home such as dumbbells. Many weighted exercises that use big bulky machines at the gym can be done with a simple set of dumbbells. Don’t have these at home? Get creative! Fill a suitcase or backpack with some books and use the handles to do curls, or hold it against your chest for goblet squats. Another solution is to buy a set of elastic bands online. Most sets can be anchored over your door and come in a variety of resistances. This versatile set of equipment can give you the total gym experience in a small, easily storable bag.
As we all adjust to new routines and a different way of life, it’s normal to be confused and not know where to start. With my background in osteopathic medicine, I am here to serve as a resource to you. Feel free to reach out to us to learn about exercises to combat stubborn back pain or the chronic aching shoulder pain. If you don’t have a movement routine and want to learn how you can get started, we can help with that too. Now is as good of a time as any to get started!