March 27, 2020
Why Exercise is Beneficial During the Coronavirus Pandemic
With many people across the country spending far more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, many are wondering what they can do to pass the time while protecting themselves and their families from contracting the virus. Regular exercise is a great idea and beneficial for the immune systems of people of all ages. Below are some tips to get you started or keep you going. Of course, if regular exercise isn’t something you’re used to doing, it’s crucial to take it slow.
There are some essential things to know before you reach for those supplements in a bottle or other elixirs and potions that make outrageous immunity-boosting claims. Research has shown that regular, moderate exercise offers the benefit of keeping you healthy by naturally boosting your immune system. The healthier we are, the better we will be at combatting viral and bacterial infections that may enter the body. This is especially true as we age because the immune system’s responsiveness becomes reduced as we get older. As has been evidenced by the COVID-19 outbreak, older people are seemingly more susceptible to contracting it due to underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems.
Yet, no matter how old you are, regular exercise is one of the tenets of living a healthy lifestyle – and it is NEVER too late to start. One theory as to why exercise benefits the immune system has to do with improving blood circulation throughout the body. Improved circulation allows the cells and substances of the immune system to flow efficiently throughout the body, helping the immune system do its job most effectively. So, what type of exercise is best? And how can you make it count when gyms and fitness centers across America are closed? You might be surprised to know that it doesn’t take a gym membership or expensive equipment to achieve a solid heart-pumping exercise routine. Additionally, many fitness clubs and workout groups have brought their programs online to accommodate those self-isolating and/or working from home. So, if you’re able to afford a virtual fitness class, it’s a great option that can also keep you connected to other people.
If space isn’t a factor for you and you’re able to achieve the recommended social distance of six feet between yourself and another person, get outside. You don’t need to sprint to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. A brisk, 30-minute walk once (or twice) a day offers fantastic fitness benefits. If finding a safe balance between outdoor exercise and social distancing isn’t possible, there is plenty you can do indoors. If you’ve got a jump rope challenge yourself to how many jumps you can do in a row without stopping. You’ll likely be surprised at how much of a cardiovascular workout jumping rope truly is. But such a simple move can help you achieve some remarkable exercise benefits. Also, strength-training is an essential component of regular exercise as well. Again, you don’t even need weights. Your body weight can be plenty useful when performing squats, lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups. For an extra boost, grab household items to use as your “weights.” Milk jugs, packages of rice or beans, or canned foods can all serve as easy-to-find hand weights. Just be sure the weight is even on both sides of your body.
If supporting a healthy immune system isn’t enough to convince you of the advantages of regular exercise, there are other significant added benefits. Especially during this stressful time, regular exercise also helps improve your sleep habits and your mood. Your body releases chemicals during exercise, which can elevate your mood and improve symptoms of depression, which can, unfortunately, creep up in such trying times as we are currently experiencing.
It is important to note that overdoing it with excessive exercise can have detrimental effects on your health. Just because there is more free time in people’s schedules, it does not mean that we should be spending every minute doing exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. Continue to eat healthily, and be sure to allow your body to recover from exercise sessions.
Just remember to exercise smartly. Continue social distancing if you are exercising with family or friends. If you are sharing equipment, even if it is with people you live with, make sure that gear is wiped down and cleaned thoroughly. My sincere hope for our country is that it emerges from this current situation healthier than ever before and with a new-found love for fitness and exercise that will keep us all well and thriving for many years to come.