With the chaos that’s going on in today’s world, do you have stay-at-home blues? Do you have the urge to over snack? Exercise and physical activity is more important than ever to help us get through this pandemic. It’s critical that we consistently stay physically active for these reasons:
- Boosting your immune system – exercising promotes good circulation which allows cells of the immune system to move throughout the body and do their job efficiently. For more information see my previous blog Exercise to boost your immune system.
- Stress and anxiety relief – I think everyone can agree we are going through an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety that can lead to bluesy moods and poor sleep. Exercise releases feel good chemicals called endorphins throughout the body. Some doctors say exercise is the best anti-anxiety medication we have. Check out our post on how exercise balances neurotransmitters to do just this!
- Improve sleep quality – exercise directly improves sleep quality and duration. Being physically active during the day tires you out and increases your sleep drive. Tip: try and exercise outside as the natural light helps the body establish a good sleep-wake cycle.
- Weight management – when we are at home for extended periods of time we tend to over snack. Why? Because we are getting bored or falling into the trap of watching too much Netflix. We tend to snack to break up the monotony of boredom and temporarily raise our dopamine. Exercise actually suppresses your appetite and helps burn more calories that will lead to weight management.
The pandemic has interrupted our regular workouts and schedules and it can be a challenge to adapt and exercise regularly. We have to be creative and here are some tips/ideas to stay motivated:
- Prioritize your workouts – have a plan, be specific about your goals, cater to your own likes/dislikes.
- Set a plan and put it on your calendar as an appointment.
- Use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
- Exercise should be enjoyable! Be sure to get creative and experiment to find the physical activity that matches your lifestyle, personality, and taste.
- Get outside! With the WFH culture we have to motivate ourselves to get outside and exercise. In the PNW there are so many options with benefits such as:
- Daylight/fresh air will help improve your mood and mental health.
- It will be perceived as less of a chore and exercise duration will be longer.
- Varied terrain is more challenging on the mind and body.
- Vitamin D – helps boost the immune system.
- Inexpensive home exercise equipment essentials – you an easily create a home workout space with essential equipment that will not break your wallet.
- Workout mat – the foundation of your home fitness haven!
- Resistance bands – versatile, portable, great for any fitness level, great for total-body workouts
- Stability balls – great for creating more proprioceptively challenging bodyweight exercises, strengthening the core, improving balance and flexibility, and back/spine health.
- Foam roller – self-myofascial release helps correct muscle imbalances, reduce trigger points and inhibit overactive musculature.
- Kettlebells – great for strength training and exercises such as squats and lunges.
- Dumbbells – since they last a lifetime it’s well worth the investment and you can easily find them used if on a budget.
- Jump rope – old fashioned yet effective cardiovascular workout!
- Home bodyweight exercises – no exercise equipment? No excuses! Bodyweight exercises are simple yet super-efficient. At any fitness level it’s challenging, as you can easily modify (add reps, reduce rest time, add ballistic movements etc.). You can combine cardio and strength training, create circuits or integrate HIIT to keep it interesting. Some of my favorite BW exercises include mountain climbers, push-ups, glute bridge, prisoner squat, lunges, planks, chair dips, and burpees.
- Personal trainer – there’s no better motivation than a 1-on-1 personal trainer who holds you accountable to your fitness goals. Hyatt Training is open and offers safe personal training through custom virtual and outdoor sessions!
In summary, it’s critical that we exercise regularly to help us cope in times of uncertainty and anxiety. Get creative, make a plan, set SMART goals, reward yourself and have fun!
Author Nathan Eng is in the internship program at Hyatt Training. Nathan was born and raised in Portland and was hooked on sports/fitness at an early age, inspired after running his first 5k and becoming a standout soccer player. Through many years working with professional athletes in sports marketing at adidas, and as a NASM certified Personal Trainer, he has dedicated his lifestyle to being active in sports/fitness. His passion is to inspire people to be physically active while helping them achieve their goals. Learn more about Nathan, or get in touch with him by emailing us at Go@HyattTraining.com.
Hyatt Training is a team of certified, enthusiastic and innovative personal trainers in Portland, Oregon. To read more fitness related posts like this one, follow this link.