For many, self-isolation, quarantine and working from home can easily lead to more time on the couch. It’s challenging to stay active when the gyms are closed, the kids are home from school, and athletic leagues are on hold — and with plenty of social distancing, we can easily slip into a more sedentary lifestyle.
But the incentives to keep moving are high. Exercise, and healthy living in general, has been shown to strengthen our immune systems. Not to mention, in a time of heightened anxiety, exercise can also help regulate and improve our moods. So when you’re stuck inside, how do you stay limber and keep moving?
Here are some helpful tips for moving inside:
1. Set a reminder.
Studies have shown that sitting for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity can pose the same risks as those posed by obesity and smoking. The easiest way to not sit all day is to remind yourself to move. Set an alarm for 30-minute intervals. Take a walk around the house, stretch, do what feels comfortable to keep your blood moving.
2. Join an online fitness class.
As communities and businesses grapple with the realities of COVID-19, one industry that has already tapped into online participation is the fitness industry. You can participate in free yoga, go-your-own-pace dance classes, and any number of at-home workouts from Nike, Peloton, and more. You may even be able to take advantage of extended free trial periods offered by some paid apps, so you can get moving right away at no cost.
3. Attach movement to existing habits and chores.
Try walking lunges on your way to the bathroom. Do squats while you wash your hands. Get in some glute lifts while doing dishes. The BBC has a great guide for incorporating exercise into our day-to-day routines. These exercises may feel a little silly, but a little silliness may help. After all, laughter has been shown to relieve stress and improve moods.
4. Stretch it out.
If you’re feeling stiff, pay attention. When we hunch over laptops all day, we’re contorting into positions that can lead to pain. Take some time in the morning or evening (or both!) to try a few stretches. Remember, avoid pushing your body past its limits. If it hurts, stop. But if it feels good, a good stretching routine can be great for the body.
5. Get the whole family involved.
With kids home from school, it can seem impossible to find time and space to get in a good workout. But including your kids in your workout can be a great way to funnel their pent-up energy into developing healthy habits. Are you at home with a toddler learning to count? Have them help you count your reps. Planning on a circuit or HIIT-style workout? Hold a race—who can do the most pushups in your 30 second interval? Some online fitness classes even have workouts that specifically include the kids.
Movement is key to good health and good humor. It helps us heal, connect, and feel our best, especially in times of stress.