How to exercise during the pandemic

Life changed overnight for millions of people across the globe in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, which shuttered businesses and forced many people to follow stay-at-home measures issued by their local governments. These measures not only affected the overall health of those infected with the virus, but also those who experienced no symptoms and even tested negative for COVID-19.

In recognition of the mental toll that social distancing and stay-at-home measures can take, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to exercise regularly. But opportunities to exercise seemingly dried up when stay-at-home guidelines were issued and gyms were shuttered. People without exercise equipment at home suddenly found themselves wondering how they could stay fit and keep their bodies in the best possible condition to fight a virus that has claimed thousands of lives.

Thankfully, there are ways to stay fit and keep immune systems strong without violating stay-at-home measures.

• Access online exercise programs. Many gyms that were forced to close to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus began offering exercise tutorials and classes via social media or websites such as YouTube. These videos can be invaluable resources, teaching people how to stay fit at home even if they don’t have weights or other equipment on hand. In addition to gym-sponsored exercise tutorials, the internet is loaded with free exercise videos and advice that can help people without access to a gym get fit or maintain their fitness routines.

• Go back to the basics. Many people no doubt recall gym class from their school days. Such classes teach youngsters the basics of physical fitness without employing dumbbells or advanced exercise machines. Those same basic exercises that work for youngsters, including push-ups, sit-ups and lunges, can be effective for adults as well. If it’s been awhile since you’ve done your most recent push-up, access an online tutorial so you can be certain your form is correct.

• Do some yard work. It might not feel as high-intensity as a spinning class or a Pilates session, but yard work can be a great workout. Dust off the push mower the next time the grass needs to be cut, and get to work on pulling weeds in garden beds. The added benefit to yard work is it provides a great opportunity to get some fresh air without violating social distancing guidelines.

• Go for a jog. Perhaps the simplest way to exercise during the pandemic is to go for a daily jog. According to the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercise repeatedly moves large muscles in the arms, legs and hips while engaging the immune system and helping it to ward off minor viral illnesses. That makes an early morning jog an especially valuable – not to mention easily accessible – way to exercise during the pandemic.

Exercise can help people maintain their immune systems in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and there are many simple ways to fit in a little physical activity even while social distancing.

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