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 the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. Gyms and studios across the nation are temporarily closing their doors in an effort to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus, so more and more businesses are quickly adapting to the situation and launching online training to keep people active and exercising from home. Luckily, WHO’s recommendations can still be achieved at home with little space and equipment.
The evidence is clear—physical activity improves overall health, can reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, and can make people feel better, function better and sleep better. Some health benefits start immediately after activity, and even short bouts of physical activity are beneficial. Taking short breaks throughout the day to move can have a tremendous impact on your well-being. Even being sedentary for more than three hours a day attributes to an increased risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Aerobic exercise also helps slow brain aging, according to a January 2020 study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. While with no exercise, your brain may be more vulnerable to the effects of this age-related decline. Aerobic exercise has also been shown to improve circulation, blood pressure and cardiac output, a measure of how well the heart is pumping blood to the rest of the body.
So how can someone reap all the benefits of exercise while staying at home? There are a ton of options like walking and body weight exercises to start. Even in small spaces, walking around or walking in place can help you remain active. If you have a call, stand or walk around your home while you speak instead of sitting down. Take the dog on an extra-long walk. Use family walks as time to reconnect with your household and get everyone out of the house. If you do decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from fellow Hoosiers.
With a little bit of creativity there are many exercises you can do from your living room floor. Use a chair or sofa for squats, tricep dips, crunches and body work exercises. Lay a towel down to use as a mat for core workouts. Apps like Sworkit can create a fitness program for you based on your fitness level. You choose the length of your workout and enjoy strength training, stretching, cardio, yoga and more. No matter what you use to workout, the most important part is staying consistent. With more time at home, taking a few extra minutes to stretch at the beginning and end of each day will also help you achieve your fitness goals.
There are tons of local fitness studios offering workouts online right now, too. Take advantage of this opportunity to try tons of new workouts and studios — for free! — from the comfort of your own home. Many Indianapolis-based yoga studios are offering virtual classes, and places like Pure Barre and OrangeTheory have free videos anyone can access. For a regularly updated list of free at home workouts, check out this list.
No matter what your current living situation is, there are limitless ways to stay active. Exercise is a great stress reliever and mood-booster. Get moving for yourself and for your state of mind. We’ll all get through this together.
Kevin MacCauley is the CEO and Founder of Upper Hand, an innovative sports and fitness software that helps businesses escape the administrative vortex and focus more on helping clients achieve their goals. For more information, please visit getupperhand.com.