COVID-19 Survival Guide: Keep Moving

Categories: News

Ann StrombergAnn Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

COVID-19 Survival Guide: Keep Moving

As we continue to social distance, work from home, and connect with others via zoom, it is encouraging to hear that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. We are slowly learning when and how we may emerge from this pandemic. One thing we know for sure is the return to normal will most certainly be a new normal for most of us. There will still be restrictions and requirements for moving out of our homes and back into our lives.

We know we will be moving about very differently, but we will be moving. The benefits of movement and exercise are well documented. Volumes of research exist lauding the benefits of exercise as a protective and preventative prescription for what ails you. Exercise improves both our physical body and our mental health. Almost any physical and/or mental health condition can improve with exercise. As we are encouraged to stay home and be socially distant, it may take some creativity to maintain any type of exercise routine. The amazing benefits of moderate exercise can be achieved with as little as 30 minutes a day, and those 30 minutes do not have to be completed all at once. Moderate exercise can be different for each of us. Think of a moderate exercise as walking at a slightly faster pace. The talk test is a good way to judge your pace; you can find a pace that allows you to talk maintaining a sentence when moving. Finding a way to move in 5 or 10 minute increments can be sufficient to see improvement in health. Knowing that exercise can boost our mood, why not give it a try? Who doesn’t need a mood booster these days!

Let’s not get caught up on the word exercise. Exercise can be anything that you enjoy and that allows you to move your body such as walking, running, yoga, boot camp type exercise, taking the dog for a walk, or really any activity that allows you to move. These homebound days are the perfect time to create a habit of movement in your daily activities. Working from home can be tedious and challenging. Try taking movement breaks every hour. You can walk outside, do jumping jacks, burpees, crunches, march in place or anything you can do for 5 minutes every hour. Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move for a few minutes to break up sitting all day. You can create a new healthy habit that you can take back to the office with you. Any exercise you choose can be beneficial, however, most studies stipulate moderate exercise is where the benefits begin. It may take some time to build up to a moderate-paced activity and that is part of the process. Take your time building a routine you can maintain.

Exercise will improve your mood and outlook. Exercise has been traced to improving brain performance, memory, and brain health. Exercise builds muscle and helps our brain too; there really is no reason not to find time to move our bodies. Challenge yourself to move for a few minutes a day and it will become a habit!

Want to learn more about habit building? Click here to read COVID-19 Survival Guide: Habits