Many people, myself included, have found that our usual exercise routine has fallen to the wayside since the CoVid-19 pandemic hit our shores at the beginning of the year. Gyms, yoga studios and exercise classes have been shut and cancelled, and meeting up with friends for a run or even a brisk walk has been discouraged.
The thing is, exercise is necessary for good physical health. And in the middle of a pandemic, physical health is pretty important. In fact, being physically fit can help to boost immune systems and not only does it reduce the chances of you catching the CoVid-19 but if you were to get it, it'll help you fight it off. It does not only improve or maintain our physical fitness but our mental health as well, which is equally as important.
Here, we look at how we can still exercise safely and effectively during the CoVid-19 pandemic.
The CDC and WHO advise staying at least two meters/six feet away from people when you're not in your household, and to wear a mask whilst doing so. They also suggest meeting up with people outdoors, as the transmission of the virus is thought to be less so outside. This means that if we do want to go for a run or a walk with a family member or friend, we can do so, as long as we follow these guidelines.
Gently does it
If we have had a long break away from exercising, diving straight back into it at full force can cause injury. Instead, let's ease in slowly and gently. Perhaps we can look at buying yoga or pilates mats to stretch your body and get it ready to do our more intense training. It is also a great way to relax and clear our minds at the end of a long, challenging day.
Online classes and fitness sessions have exploded in popularity over the lockdown period, with people joining in at home. If you can’t find one that you enjoy, why not do your own thing? Stick on the radio or your Spotify playlist and have a boogie around your living room. (In my case, I dance around in my underwear in my little studio apartment blasting off some 90s RnB in my ear pods!) You could even set up your own online dance party - set up a Zoom meeting with your friends and family and get them joining in!
What are the benefits?
We already briefly touched on how keeping fit can give our immune system a boost, but that is far from the only benefit. By exercising to a regular schedule, we give ourselves something to focus on and gives what could be a long day some form of structure. This is particularly helpful if we are having to quarantine or work from home.
There are the usual long term health benefits to exercise, too. It reduces our risk of obesity and the associated problems - type II diabetes, cardiovascular problems and certain types of cancer, as well as improving poor mental health symptoms such as loneliness, anxiety and stress.
The pandemic has made us approach normal aspects of our lives in very different ways this year, and while we may have to be more creative than normal, it is more than possible to still stay fit and healthy.