Originally published March 12, 2020 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
By Courtney Kueppers
Businesses and universities across the globe are opting to have employees work from home and students partake in “remote learning” in an attempt to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
However, being inside for long periods of time or feeling isolated can be stressful — and boring. Experts at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend staving off the anxiety associated with “social distancing” by keeping up a healthy routine, including healthy eating and regular exercise.
Yoga can be not only good for your physical health, but can improve general wellness by relieving stress and improving emotional health, sleep, and balance, the National Institute of Health notes. It can also relieve low-back and neck pain and help manage anxiety and depressive symptoms.
You don’t have to pay big bucks or leave your home to do yoga. Just put on something comfortable and pull up YouTube. Some popular channels include Yoga With Adrienne, Yoga By Candace and Body Positive Yoga.
When you’re working from home or just lounging on the couch, it’s easy for time to slip away from you quickly. To avoid spending hours in front of a screen without moving, try setting some reminders on your phone, computer or smart speaker to get up and move, grab a drink of water or do some stretching. Best Health magazine also recommends getting up and walking every time your phone rings, or pings?
Go for a walk:
Try taking a break in the day to go for a walk. Experts at the Mayo Clinic note that walking every day can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your mood.
“As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can’t set aside that much time, try several short sessions of activity throughout the day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all,” the Mayo Clinic notes on its website.
Try tidying up:
Cleaning your house can be a win-win. Lifting laundry, going up and down stairs, being on your feet can all add up to a good amount of physical activity. Then, having a clean space can help with your mental health as well.
“Cleaning your house can incorporate a variety of muscle groups without you even realizing it,” personal trainer Rich Gaspari told Everyday Health.
You don’t need expensive exercise equipment or access to a gym to do simple exercises like planks, wall sits or squats. There are a variety of routines you can find online and on YouTube.
Dance it out:
Put on some tunes and have a living room dance party. It’s also a good way to keep kids active, if they are home from school and stuck inside. “Dance is an effective form of exercise and can burn just as many calories as swimming, walking, or bike riding. The amount of calories you will burn depends on the intensity of the dance, the length of dance, how much effort you put in, and how much you weigh,” active.com notes.
Create a circuit workout:
The American Heart Association has recommendations on its website for a simple circuit workout that can be done at home, including jumping jacks, high knees, push ups and lunges. It can be modified for individual use.
Additionally, the CDC recommends the following measure to look out for your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Stay informed, but avoid over-saturating yourself with coverage of the virus
- Take deep breaths and try to meditate
- When you can, eat healthy foods and get regular exercise
- Take time to unwind “and remind yourself that strong feelings fade”
- Take breaks from consuming coverage
- Connect with others about what you are feeling
- Maintain healthy relationships with friends or family members
- Try to maintain a sense of positive thinking