While gyms, fitness centers, and workout facilities are temporarily closed for quarantine, healthy individuals and families are challenged to find alternative ways to keep active and keep moving.
And experts agree, it’s an important effort.
Staying at home for prolonged periods of time can pose a significant challenge for remaining physically active. Sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on physical health and overall quality of life. These stuck-at-home days can also cause additional stress and test mental health (parents, I’m looking at you).
According to Brinkoetter Realtor and RedZone Fitness gym owner, Jenny Lambdin, mental health is just as important as physical health. And exercise is a big player in positive mental health.
“From my standpoint, people are happier when they’re active and moving,” says Lambdin. “It makes us feel better. It clears your brain, loosens your joints, and keeps your muscles engaged and relaxed.”
And according to Lambdin, physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and stay positive during these uncertain times.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. These recommendations can be achieved even at home, as a family, with no special equipment and with limited space.
We’ve rounded up some tips on how to stay active and reduce lazy ways while quarantining at home:
Take active breaks. Short bouts of physical activity add up to the weekly recommendations. And feel free to break with tradition. A quality cardio workout doesn’t need to include biking, running, or an elliptical machine. Dance parties, playing with children, walking the dog, and performing domestic chores such as cleaning and gardening are other means to stay active at home, especially when you have little ones in tow.
Follow an online exercise class. Many gyms- including RedZone Fitness- are offering online exercise routines and classes. Even for children. Lambdin cautions, “If you have no experience performing these exercises, be cautious and aware of your own limitations.”
Walk. Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot can help you remain active. If you have a conference call, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down.
Stand up. While many of us are working from home, it’s important to reduce sedentary time by standing up whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting every 30 minutes. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing.
Relax. Meditation and deep breaths can help you remain calm. Many yoga routines and classes are available for no cost on YouTube, and can be easily adapted to your proficiency and comfort level.
Watch your intake. It’s tempting to snack and self-comfort through kitchen indulgences. But tight-fitting pants won’t do much to help your positive outlook. The CDC recommends drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages for adults, and of course strictly avoiding these in young people, pregnant and breastfeeding women, or for those with other health conditions.
Lambdin’s final word on quarantine fitness? “We have to stay active, motivated, and engaged. Take deep breaths. Get outside every day. Move as often as you can. And remember: this will pass.”