With much of the United States currently self-isolating to flatten the curve and limit the spread of Covid-19, we’re all adjusting a a new normal. If making time for fitness was an issue, that’s probably no longer the case. Instead, it’s figuring out how to summon the motivation to make a plan for a home-based workout – and follow through with it. We understand the challenge of committing to fitness at home, which is why we’ve shared a stir-crazy workout for guidance, but it’s important to make it happen. Medical experts are clear about the importance of exercise during the pandemic.
The Benefits of Exercise
While we benefit from exercise regardless of what’s going on in the world, its impact on our mental health and stress levels are particularly useful during the current pandemic. Here are four psychological benefits of exercise that are ideal for the times.
- Reduced Depression and Anxiety: Science has proven the ability of exercise to both improve mood and decrease depression and anxiety by triggering endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” hormone. Even moderate exercise will boost mood.
- Reduced Stress: Living in a constant state of stress is unhealthy on the body and the mind. But physical movement and the elevated heart rate that follows can actually decrease stress by stimulating neurohormones that have been linked to better cognitive function and enhanced mood. An hour of fitness also helps you practice mindfulness as you focus on the movement and technique of your exercises.
- Improved Quality of Sleep: This is a key benefit. Moving the body elevates the body temperature, which can help calm the mind. Just try to avoid intense exercise before bedtime, which will likely energize you instead of helping you wind down.
- Improved Self-Esteem: The current news cycle is difficult to take in right now, and it’s easy to feel the weight of our collective reality. Maintaining positivity isn’t always easy, but taking steps to control what we can is a good first step. While we’re self-isolating, making a plan for fitness regularly will pay off, even if it’s different from our usual gym routine. Do what you can, with what you have, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from setting a plan and following through.
The physical benefits of fitness are just as appealing — more energy, weight control, better quality of sleep, reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, to name a few. But at this point in time, we’ll all benefit from the less visible benefits of fitness. Any movement is better than no movement, so plan some kind of daily activity – a yoga session with a free online tutorial, a brisk walk, our own stir-crazy workout, whatever you like – and then follow through. You can do it!