Most people throughout the world are currently nervous about the potential impact of COVID-19, however, it’s now more important than ever to remind everyone to remain physically active.
“We all understand that exercise supports our physical health, however, during times of crisis such as this, it is the first activity we tend to ignore. Being active can not only keep us healthy, it can also help us fight off infection,” explains Accredited Exercise Physiologist and CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Anita Hobson-Powell.
It's not just a means of building and retaining your physical wellbeing, but also a crucial way of supporting your mental health and battling back against some of the worst moments of isolation and fear that the coronavirus has instilled in all of us.
Mental Health/Stress Reduction
Exercise is unique in that it can boost our mental health, and during this anxious time it’s more important than ever to keep our minds clear and focused.
Regular exercise is vital in hormone balance, especially in maintaining cortisol levels. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins. Stress triggers our bodies to produce cortisol, which is important in certain situations, but regularly elevated cortisol levels cause a myriad of health issues.
Some contemporary evidence shows that leading a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of communicable (e.g., bacterial and viral infections) and non-communicable diseases (e.g., cancer), implying that immune competency is enhanced by regular exercise bouts.
Acute exercise is an immune system adjuvant that improves defense activity and metabolic health.
Data support a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk.
Exercise training has an anti-inflammatory influence.
Habitual exercise improves immune regulation, delaying the onset of age-related dysfunction.
One of the hardest things to do right now is to stick to your normal routine and schedule. Not having to go into work makes it easy to stay up later than normal and throws off your normal sleep routine. Lack of activity also makes you restless and less tired when it’s time to sleep. Even though we have more time than usual to get more sleep, most people are struggling to get quality sleep.
Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.
In addition to improving the quality of sleep, exercise also can help you increase the duration of your nightly rest. Being physically active requires you to expend energy, and helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day.
Tips for Staying Active
Set a Reminder
While it can be tough, it’s more important than ever to stick to a normal routine. One simple way to do this is to continue to use a calendar to schedule out your day. Schedule in regular activity throughout the week so you don’t get to the end of the day and realize you’ve done nothing but sit on the couch all day!
Keep it Simple
Staying active doesn’t mean you need a complicated exercise routine. It can be as simple as walking around the block or a few sets of pushups and squats. You probably don’t have access to the same equipment that you normally do at the gym, so more than ever simplicity will help build consistency.
Get Free In-home Workouts
If you’re struggling to get in regular activity or want some workout ideas, we are offering a free in-home workout program while gyms remain closed. It’s our way of giving back during these tough times and believe that if it helps even a few people reduce some stress and stay healthy than it’s worth it. You can reach out to us here or through our contact page to request access to our free program.
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