Exercise And The Coronavirus – A Few Thoughts
The Coronavirus pandemic has been going on for some time in Asia and Europe, but here in the States, we’ve really just started feeling the effects.
Although the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is still relatively low, experts agree this is just the beginning.
Doctors and health care professionals can hypothesize how long this state of emergency is going to last, but one thing is for certain- it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
And now that there isn’t a smidge of room to doubt that this pandemic is dangerous and legit, it’s good to see that our government is finally taking some of the necessary steps to combat this outbreak.
Schools are switching to distance learning plans, concerts and public events are being postponed, and restaurants are closing their doors or switching to take-out only.
All of these social isolation tactics are critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and we know we have to to it- but that doesn’t make them any less of a drag.
And of all the things we’re gonna be missing out on while we hunker down and see this through, going to the gym might be the least of your worries.
But for the folks who are regulars at their local gyms, it’s going to be a huge blow to their lifestyle.
I mean, if we’re supposed to be avoiding situations where 10 or more people are in a room at the same time, that has to immediately take going to the gym out of the picture, right?
At least I assume it does.
My mom asked me a few days ago whether she should stop going to her local gym. My immediate answer was yes, she needs to stop going immediately (especially since she’s in the age bracket that seems to be most effected by the virus).
Her next question was what she was going to do for exercise in the mean time.
My mom has a couple of light dumbbells, but nothing else when it comes to home fitness equipment. We discussed that she would likely have to use walking outside as her primary mode of exercise.
She accepted this and walking’s a great way for anyone to exercise, but I know my mom is disappointed she’ll be missing her group exercise classes she enjoys so much.
The whole situation got me thinking that it’s not a bad idea for all of us to have a little exercise gear in our homes. Doesn’t have to be an elliptical or treadmill, but something we can use to get a workout in.
As a home-gymer who works out exclusively from home, I know the coronavirus isn’t going to alter my workout plans one bit.
Well, I take it back- since my kids are home from school now, I get to sleep in an extra hour, meaning I workout at 7 am now instead of 6.
A change I’m not complaining about.
But back to my point- since I workout from home, I don’t rely on a local gym for anything. In our time of social isolation, I still get to workout as I was before the coronavirus.
This isn’t one of the perks I foresaw taking advantage of when I switched to exercising from home. Quite the contrary. No, I started exercising from home out of necessity- I simply ran out of time to get to and from the gym on a regular basis.
Things like kids and jobs will do that.
But I’m glad I do now in a time like this.
For many of us, exercise is a part of life. And for the ones that don’t include exercise as a regular part of their lifestyle, I highly encourage you to start.
The benefits of exercise are too numerous to list here, but there are 2 I’d like to point out briefly. First, exercise has been shown to help with stress relief.
When we exercise, endorphins and other chemicals are released that help improve our mood and make us feel better. We also sleep better when we exercise, which can also help combat stress and anxiety.
And with the pandemic looming over everything we do now, stress and anxiety are at all time highs for a lot of people.
Second, exercise may be helpful in boosting your immune system.
The research doesn’t seem to claim that exercise directly increases your immune system’s ability to fight diseases and whatnot, but exercise positively effects your overall health, which spills over to improved immunity.
This doesn’t mean you’re not going to get the coronavirus because you’re exercising. But the healthier you are, the better equipped your body is going to be to handle anything that comes its way.
I feel like I’m starting to ramble here.
Back to my point- I think we should all be exercising. Just because you can’t make it to your local gym doesn’t mean you have to give up your healthy routine and veg out on the couch until this nightmare is over.
Walking or jogging always works, maybe just avoid going with a friend.
If you’ve got some old dumbbells or resistance bands sitting in the closet, get ’em out and come up with a routine.
If you’re lucky enough to have an exercise bike or treadmill that works, you’re good to go. Jump on and get a workout in, you’ll probably find you feel better afterwards.
No equipment? Don’t worry, some of the best exercises can be done without any equipment at all: pushups, squats, jumping jacks, burpees.
Pick 4 or 5 exercises and make a circuit.
For example- do each exercise for 30 seconds and go from one exercise to the next without resting. Rest for a minute between circuits and repeat as many times as you like.
Simple, yet effective.
Ok, it’s about time for me to wrap this up, but I hope you get my point. Just because we’re all on lockdown now with the coronavirus doesn’t mean we should stop exercising.
It means we should stop going to the gym.
Stay home, exercise, and be healthy.
I wish everyone good luck during this difficult time. Be smart, avoid groups, and keep washing those hands. This is a sucky situation, but rest assured, we’ll get through it.
Even pandemics can’t last forever.