Sure, you’re doing all the right things to stay healthy right now — washing your hands, avoiding public places, working from home. Here’s another strategy to add to your health hacks: exercise.
Moderate exercise seems to have a beneficial effect on immune function, which could help protect against upper respiratory tract infections. Plus, it’ll make you feel better. Regular exercise helps combat depression and anxiety, relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
But … the gym is closed, classes are cancelled, and your running buddies are keeping their distance. Don’t default to the couch — try one of these ideas to fuel your fitness during coronavirus close-downs:
- Walk, run or cycle. These are all easy activities to do on your own or with a household member, right out your front door.
- Get creative. No weight-lifting equipment at home? Look around the house and garage for substitutes. Try bicep curls with a gallon of milk, or sumo squats holding your toddler. There are plenty of exercises you can do with just your own body weight, too: planks, push-ups, crunches. Try this total-body workout that only takes 10 minutes and anyone can do.
- Download an app. There’s a nearly endless variety of apps for home workouts, from virtual running coaches to yoga to strength training. Some are even free.
- Channel yourself. No Peloton? No sweat. Search Facebook Live or YouTube for fitness videos from cardio dance to full-body workouts.
- Spruce up the yard. Now might be the perfect time to clean up winter storm debris, weed flower beds or plant your vegetable garden. You can burn 200 to 600 calories an hour, depending on the task.
“The most important thing is to incorporate some movement in your day, especially since you’re probably not getting in as many steps around the house as you would navigating the office building,” said Laurie Mitchell, RDN, assistant vice president, Global Wellbeing & Health Management. “When it comes to exercise, anything is better than nothing.”