The pandemic is dragging on, and while it’s tempting to skip workouts, staying active is important for your body and mind during these challenging times. Understanding the toll that coronavirus-related concerns have on our healthy habits, and the role of fitness in our overall health, makes that really clear. Here’s what to know about fitness during the pandemic.
PANDEMIC CONCERNS AFFECTING PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
Stressful experiences can impact our nutrition. Fewer trips to the grocery store may mean we’re stocking up on pantry staples in lieu of perishables. And spending more time at home can mean less movement and more snacking. Boredom, isolation, anxiety, stress and financial concerns may affect our mental health, but there are physical symptoms too. You may notice nagging back or neck pain, or pain and discomfort stemming from posture problems relating to working from home.
Committing to fitness during all of this may seem impossible, but there are so many benefits. The hardest part is making the decision to get moving.
Once you do, benefits include:
- Boosting the immune system: Regular, moderate-intensity exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, which may help your body fight off infections.
- Maintaining a stable body weight: Regular exercise will help you burn extra calories you may be taking in, and it will balance all of the sitting you’re doing with your work-from-home routine.
- Improving sleep quality: Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy higher quality sleep, which is important for a healthy immune system and better mindset.
- Reducing stress, anxiety and tension: Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, and can also diminish stress.
You may not feel comfortable returning to the gym, and that’s fine. You can stay active while practicing social distancing. Try an online workout. Go for walks or bike rides with the family. Set a specific exercise goal, like doing yoga five days in a row or running a certain distance in a certain timeframe. Take the dog for a run. There are endless ways to get exercise, so aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity movement every week. If you up the intensity, you can make it 75 minutes per week.
Regular exercise can help address aches and pains to some degree, but Dr. McSweeney is always here to get you out of pain. Schedule a visit today, and learn more about what to expect at your first treatment.