You may have heard that exercise saves lives, and well, that is true — literally! Exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it is even more important in the midst of the pandemic, as it can prevent severe symptoms should infection occur. In fact, a recently published study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed worrying, but not surprising, news: COVID-19 patients who were inactive for the two years before their diagnosis were more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the ICU. Moreover, another study conducted by McMaster University found out that those exercising suffer less from stress, depression, and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
However, with the pandemic closing of gyms and other fitness facilities and turning your schedules upside down, you might find it difficult to insert physical activity into your daily routine. But that does not mean you should forgo exercising! Here are some tips you can follow as you stay active in the next normal.
1. Observe sanitation and safety in gyms.
By now, the health protocols attributed to the pandemic have already been etched in our minds. These need to be followed even while exercising. With gyms now reopening, ensure your safety above all. Bring disinfectant wipes with you so you can sanitize the equipment and seats you will use. You can also bring your own yoga mat and jump rope to limit the shared objects you are touching.
To make sure you only contact as few people as possible, try hitting the gym during its off-hours, maybe in the middle of the afternoon when everyone is still busy with work or on a Sunday when they are spending time with their family. You can also switch to small gyms and studios that require appointments beforehand to limit the number of people you interact with.
2. Go outdoors.
Exercising outdoors is indeed safer than indoors. In fact, Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, notes several studies pointing out that the virus is dispersed and diluted outdoors, reducing the risk of infection. However, as with any place nowadays, it is not absolutely safe. So, if you opt to go outside, bear in mind that you have to keep your distance from other people. You can do that by choosing activities that require distance, like biking or playing tennis and trying your best to avoid direct physical contact. Should you plan on exercising with friends, make sure that you do not form a big group.
Also, remember to wear a mask when you exercise outside your home to ensure you do not catch the disease. Pretty Me recommends getting a reusable face mask to minimize the impact on the environment. If you are worried about its effect on your breathing, brands like Under Armour and Adidas have come up with sports masks that are lightweight enough to support strenuous aerobic activity but snug and sturdy enough to protect you.
3. Include easy-to-do routines.
With more people preferring home gyms and online exercise programs, you can also work out in comfort — and more especially, the safety — of your home. To do that, make sure that you incorporate routines you can easily do, even in between your daily tasks. That does not mean you will not challenge yourself. You can use your own bodyweight to move without equipment, with exercises like burpees, lunges, squats, and push-ups. In that way, you can strengthen your core and muscles without the added hassle.
The pandemic has really forced us to be creative with our routines. As we navigate the next normal, we still have to make our health and safety our priority. But if you find it difficult to juggle this crisis with fitness, do not worry! That is perfectly normal and understandable. Just know that you are not alone, and Health Habits is here to accompany you in making sustainable changes in your future. You can surely achieve your goals!