The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life in unimaginable ways. Thanks to remote work-from-home jobs and food delivery services, many people are spending most, if not all, of their time at home. While necessary to combat the spread of the coronavirus, staying at home also means far fewer opportunities to be physically active and more time to be sedentary – Netflix, anyone? Despite the challenging situation, it is actually more important than ever to stay physically active now. While specific #fitnessgoals, such as beating your 5K PR, shouldn’t be your top priority, getting some movement into your day can not only boost physical and mental health but can also support your body’s immune system. We know it’s tough, so here are a couple of tips on how to stay active during COVID. Check them out below!
Take Movement Breaks Throughout the Day
With remote-work-from home jobs, it is important to take regular breaks from sitting in front of your computer every 20 or 30 minutes. You can take a quick walk around your house, take in some fresh air on the balcony or garden, do a few simple stretches, or even something a little more rigorous like a set of push-ups. It may be helpful to set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to take a movement break. You can also consider investing in a standing desk or a treadmill desk (Yes, these exist!) and alternate between periods of sitting and standing/walking as you work.
Make It A Social Activity
Working out on your own at home can be boring, we know. Instead, try exercising with others. Thanks to technology, you have a ton of options for virtual group workouts. Consider exercising with a friend or family member via Zoom, hiring a personal trainer you can connect with virtually, or simply streaming workout classes together with family members at home. Some of our favorite free workout websites include Blogilates and POPSUGAR Fitness. Making your workouts a social activity is a simple strategy to stay active during COVID.
Get Outside (If You Can)
Go for a nice walk, jog, or bike outside – just remember to maintain a safe distance from others. If you have a dog, you already have a reason to get outside. However, always check the latest guidelines from your government on the specifics for your area before going out. If outdoors is not an option for you, try gardening or doing some yard-work. A little bit of fresh air and sunshine can do wonders, not only for your physical health but also for your mental wellbeing.
Track Your Workouts
Using fitness trackers, such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, can help you stay accountable and motivated. Seeing your progress and your ability to keep active during this difficult time will give you a sense of accomplishment and an emotional boost to keep going. New to fitness tracking? You can start with a basic workout journal – any notebook will do. After each workout or movement session, record the date, your bodyweight, your routine, and how you felt before, during, and after the workout. Don’t forget to set goals as you monitor your progress so you stay motivated!
Turn It Into to A Game
Activity video games like those from Wii and Kinect can help you get your heart rate up while staying at home. There are also many options for “exergames” that simulate dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis. These can be great alternatives if you miss the real thing. Alternatively, you can also play non-virtual active games with family or neighbors (in a socially-distant manner, of course). Hopscotch and Tag are good options.
Everyone knows the benefits of drinking a ton of water. But you may not know that drinking enough water also forces you to to get moving. Sipping water throughout the day not only keeps you hydrated but also creates mini breaks — bathroom stop, anyone? So on top of being a hydration queen, drinking lots of water will also push you to stay active during COVID. Win-win.
Finally, remember not to be too hard on yourself. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it a lot more difficult to partake in your regular exercise routine. While you’re making do, it’s normal to feel like working out isn’t as enjoyable, maybe even a little frustrating. If this is the case, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, try focusing on how much better you’ll feel after you move a little. It also helps to give yourself an extra treat. You can reward yourself with a hot bubble bath, a chocolate smoothie, or some Gua Sha – whatever floats your boat.