As everyday life changes drastically as a result of COVID-19, it’s important to maintain a regular schedule to keep mental and physical health in check. One easy way to stay healthy is to exercise.
Benefits to exercise are more than just getting in shape physically and losing weight. For example, exercise can prevent diseases like cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes. Furthermore, exercise has many mental benefits. Especially in stressful times like these, exercising can have immediate benefits on mental state. Physical exercise has been proven to reduce risk of anxiety and depression. It also improves sleep and sharpens judgement skills and learning capacity. The best part about exercising is that anyone can do it, no matter your age or experience, and it can be done anywhere.
Types of Exercise
- Aerobic exercises
- Strength exercises
- Balance exercises
While any exercise is beneficial, there are four specific types that focus on different muscles and give various benefits. Aerobic, or endurance, exercises focus on your heart and lungs. These exercises benefit your overall health by improving blood flow making everyday easier easier. Strength exercises improve your muscles by making them stronger. Unlike endurance exercises, strength exercises focus on building short expressions of strength rather than the aerobic capacity to continue exercising for a long time. Flexibility exercises keep your body responsive by stretching out muscles and giving them more freedom of movement. Balance exercises improve posture and can prevent accidents, like falling.
It can be difficult to incorporate each type of exercise into a routine. However, making a schedule and setting realistic goals for each category of fitness can be great motivators to stay active and build up muscles that might not be used often.
Many outdoor facilities are hard to access with the changes in our lives right now. However, there are a lot of easy indoor, at-home activities that accomplish the same physical goals that outdoor exercise does.
Below are some suggestions of exercises that can be done inside, or outside if preferred and possible. Be sure to do at least one activity from each type of exercise, and feel free to mix it up throughout various points in the day or week. It’s important to incorporate exercise into an everyday lifestyle and feel proud of small accomplishments because they will lead into bigger and better health benefits.
- Jump rope
- Plank and pushup set (10 second plank, 10 pushups, then repeat)
- Crunches or sit-ups
- Supermans (lay on stomach, extend arms and legs straight out, and lift)
- Weighted squats
- Weighted lunges
- Yoga: downward dog, tree pose
- Touch your toes
- Stand one one foot then alternate
- Walk down the hallway in your toes, then walk on your heels
- Walk following a straight line
Exercise might not be extremely appealing to everyone, but there are ways to make it fun. For example, listening to music, scheduling breaks for snacks, or face-timing a friend while exercising make every workout more enjoyable. Similarly, challenge friends to a plank or push-up competition and set goals to not only strengthen yourself physically but also motivate yourself to accomplish fitness.
“Balance Exercises.” American Heart Association, 18 Apr. 2018, http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/balance-exercise. Accessed 13 Apr. 2020.
“Benefits of Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 25 Feb. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm. Accessed 13 Apr. 2020.
“4 Types of Exercise.” Go4Life, National Institute on Aging, go4life.nia.nih.gov/4-types-of-exercise/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2020.
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