MOVING OUR BODIES DURING THE PANDEMICPosted: June 29, 2020, 11:42AM
Many of us are still working from home, socially distancing when we're out, and trying to stay at home as much as possible. I'm going out for groceries and necessary items, and to walk our dog but am trying to stay in and away from people as much as possible.
Exercise is really important now for several reasons. The obvious reason is physical health. We need to keep moving, and not become a permanent attachment to our couch. Repetitious cookie lifts do NOT count nor do repeated openings and closings of the refrigerator door.
Exercise increases our strength and flexibility, helps with our balance, has cardiorespiratory benefits, and it helps us maintain our weight. Exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Exercise also counters boredom and us fill our time productively. Exercise helps our mood, helps to relieve stress, and can help improve our sleep.
The benefits of exercise are wholistic: mind, body, spirit.
Set a routine: Establish a time and a place for exercise, if you can.
Stretch first: Being sedentary shortens muscles.
Use equipment: Drag out the stationary bike or the treadmill. Do you have exercise bands? If not, you can use a towel or a belt to help stretch arms and legs.
Count chores: Vacuuming, dusting, sweeping can be "used" as exercise. Yard work is a definite exercise!
Less strenuous exercises: Try Tai Chi or yoga. Google either or check out what's available on You Tube.
Dance: Turn on the music and dance!
Lift weights: Strength training helps develop or maintain fitness and bone health. If you don't have weights, you can use cans of food and bottles of water.
Exercise in a chair: Most activities can be modified to be done in a chair. (Watch balance for yourself and the chair!)
Exercise in bed: If your mobility is limited, think about what you can do in bed. Can you do leg lifts or knee bends? Can you tighten and loosen your muscles? Can you "write" the alphabet with your feet / ankles?
Remember to BREATHE! It helps to take deep breaths, hold for a count of five, then exhale.
Again - clear any activity with your physician!
Source: Brain & Life: Neurology for Everyday Living, June / July 2020, "Get Motivated to Exercise at Home", Beth Howard, www.brainandlife.org.
Photo: Ann Koegler