The recent easing of restrictions are a welcomed result of WA’s commitment to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. In more recent times, we’ve witnessed an increase in people working and studying from home and restricting their contact with the outside world. Isolation at home shouldn’t mean endless hours on the couch binge-watching Netflix.
Although these restrictions are critically important to combat the COVID19 pandemic, they have substantially disrupted the fabric of our social and physical habits and routines. The net effect being we are moving less than ever.
We really need to prioritise opportunities for physical health as well as promoting awareness of how to do this safely and effectively in new environments, such as at home. That way we can continue to see the benefits of an active lifestyle as we negotiate our way through this pandemic.
Eight reasons to keep up exercise in isolation
1. To reduce stress
There is a vast amount of research that links the benefits of regular physical exercise and activity on mental health and diminishing stress levels. Exercise allows the relief of our natural “feel good” hormones which improve move and help make us more resilient, particularly in times where people may be experience higher levels and anxiety, uncertainty and a sense of loss.
2. To improve sleep
Having good sleep hygiene is essential in maintaining good physical and psychological health. Daily exercise routines, even as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise (think huff and puff) can contribute to more sound and restful sleep. It increases the time spent in deep, or restorative sleep, which in turn helps boost our immune function, cardiac health, control stress and anxiety.
3. To keep up a daily routine
This pandemic has resulted in unprecedented uncertainty. This has resulted in many people feeling on edge and experiencing paralysis by analysis. Although this is a serious public health situation it is TEMPORARY.
Keeping up a daily routine can be instrumental in improving perspective and productivity. By scheduling daily exercise, you are able to succeed in a goal, however small. We know that by being able to “tick things off our list” we feel empowered to tackle other things in our day.
Now not having your usual go to venues, like a gym is no excuse for letting exercise slip to the side. Now is the best time to push your boundaries and find new ways of engaging in your health. Try online classes, like we offer. Go for walk. Ride your bike. Ask your physio or exercise physiologist draw up a program to beat all those little niggles that have crept up on you.
My suggestion is to draw up a calendar, schedule it and reap the rewards of being able to “tick it off the list.
4. To get you out of the house and into the fresh air
Appreciate the small things in life. Go outside and get sunshine in your eyes. By exposing yourself to a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine your body will reward you by releasing serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. Not only that but a bit of exposure to sunlight can improve bone health through Vitamin D. Research is also showing that moderate amounts of sunlight exposure can be protective against certain forms of cancer (such as colon, ovarian and prostate cancer). There is also evidence it can reduce the impact of some skin conditions and autoimmune disorders. Aim for 5-15 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week.
5. To loosen up your body
Too many hours indoors and without exercising can leave us feeling stiffer, less mobile and with less energy. Think of our bodies a bit like an elastic band. Leave a elastic band in drawer for too long and it no longer is a stretchy or able to rebound like it could before. Health guidelines advise as adults we should be aiming for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily – like brisk walking or gardening. For those who have kids – they should be doing a least double this.
6. To boost your immunity
The impacts of exercise and the immune system have been long documented. The pandemic is proving a new ground for research. Recent studies show that although most of the world is engaging is isolation measures, participating in daily exercise helps to maintain a healthy immune system which minimise the impacts of viral infections.
7. To give you a screen break
Screen time can be detrimental. There are studies in children and teenagers that show prolonged screen time exposure impairs the brain function and structure. Blue light emitting screens also have been shown to disrupt sleep patterns by suppressing serotonin and melatonin. Research has also revealed the negative impact of digital technology in the ability to people to engage in a meaningful away with those around them.
As simple way to keep fit at home is by tackling jobs at home that you may have been putting off. Cleaning and gardening jobs are prime examples. These tasks involve a multitude of positions and challenges our muscles and aerobic system. They will keep you flexible, strong as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment when the task is done. You can reap even more benefit by tackling these jobs with the significant others in your life.
8. To live yourself a little ‘me’ time
Exercise gives you permission to focus on yourself. Mindfulness and exercise can help ground out into the present and support the management of our worries and challenges in this crazy time. Giving your mind a break where you can just be present in your body is a great gift.
Need a little extra motivation?