/ by Peter Gray, LAT, ATC
Written by Peter Gray, LAT, ATC, athletic trainer with UK HealthCare Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing us to make many lifestyle changes and sacrifices as we all practice responsible social distancing to protect ourselves and the ones around us.
Even temporary change can be hard – and many of us are struggling with the uncertainty and added stress.
How can we combat all of this stress and anxiety we are feeling? Physical exercise is proven to reduce stress and boost immune functioning, and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, and two sessions per week of muscle strength training.
Physical activity is beneficial both physically and mentally, relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety and improving your mood. So, if you’re able to exercise, let’s get creative, set some goals and get moving!
Here are some great aerobic activities you can try.
- Put some music on and walk briskly around your house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Find a fun exercise video to do.
- Jump rope.
- Use a home cardio machine if you have one.
- Walk or jog around your neighborhood but remember to avoid crowded spaces.
- Hike in a local park, as spending time in nature may enhance immune function. Be sure to wash your hands when you leave.
- Ride your bicycle.
- Work in your garden, cut the grass or work in your yard.
- Play active games with your family.
Try these strength training activities.
- Download a strength workout app to your smart phone, such as the 7-Minute Workout (no equipment necessary).
- Do a strength training video.
- Find a yoga video – deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety.
Do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house:
- Squats or sit-to-stands from a study chair.
- Push-ups against a wall, kitchen counter or the floor.
- Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs.
Many companies are providing free services during these hard times. Remember, social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation: FaceTime your workout partner or take a Zwift ride with your friends!
For a local option, UK HealthCare and Keeneland have teamed up to encourage healthy exercise through the Gatepost Gallop – all for a good cause, with proceeds benefiting numerous charities in and around Lexington. Just remember, you are not alone!