Gyms here in northern Nevada — along with many city and state parks and other public places — remain closed in light of the global pandemic. And while it can be a struggle to commit to motivating yourself to exercise, the importance of movement during this challenging time cannot be overstated. It’s not about maintaining your muscle or keeping the scale from creeping upward. There are far more important benefits to fitness right now. Here are three reasons fitness matters during the pandemic.
It Keeps Your Immune System Strong
Research has shown us that regular exercise — even at a moderate intensity — boosts the body’s immune system, making it more capable of fighting off infection. And while a strong immune system is important all the time, that’s particularly true during a pandemic!
Physical activity itself can flush the lungs and airways of invading bacteria. It also increases blood and lymphatic circulation during muscle contraction, which means more circulation of immune cells.
It Improves Sleep Quality
Getting enough quality sleep is important for a healthy immune system. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy better quality sleep too. That’s because physical activity during the day means more time spent in deep sleep at night, which is the most restorative phase of the sleep cycle. This phase has a number of benefits, including supporting cardiac health, controlling stress and anxiety, and boosting immune function.
It Reduces Stress and Anxiety
There’s a lot to be concerned about these days. Shelter-in-place orders, while helping to preserve health in our communities, nonetheless take a toll on finances and careers. Growing stress and anxiety are very real for many people, and the physical and emotional side effects of these states can be significant. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone, while also reducing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It gives you something to focus on temporarily, while also putting you in a calmer state of mind to deal with reality.
Make a Plan
Adjusting overnight to an entirely new schedule isn’t easy, but the same tricks for fitness success apply whether you’re meeting your trainer here at Framework or going at it solo. Prioritize your workouts — put them on your calendar and make them happen. It’s truly a form of self-care, particularly during this unusual time, and it will pay off for you.