How staying active can help you through the pandemic
While being active benefits your physical health, it’s just as powerful for your mental health. For example, exercise can improve your mind and mood by:
Helping reduce depression. Exercise promotes neural growth, reduces inflammation and encourages new activity patterns in the brain that increase feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, which make you feel good. Tip: When you don’t feel like exercising, start with five minutes. It’s much easier to commit to a short time period than an hour-long sweat session. Plus, once you get started, you might find that you want to continue for longer.
Lessening anxiety. Exercise relieves tension and stress, boosts energy levels and can help take your mind off things that may be making you feel anxious.
Decreasing stress. Common symptoms of stress are muscle tension, headaches, chest tightness, stomachaches and more. Exercise can help relieve these issues by releasing endorphins and helping your muscles relax (i.e., relieving tension in your body). Tip: If you are feeling stressed and can’t imagine adding in one more thing to your day, remember that being active helps lessen stress and increases productivity.
Improving concentration. Regular exercise promotes increased concentration, motivation, mood and memory.
Boosting sleep and energy levels. Exercise can help regulate sleep patterns and give you more energy throughout the day.
With so much COVID-19 in the community, it’s important to get creative with your options for being active. Rather than going to a gym, where COVID-19 can easily spread, consider the following outdoor or at-home activities:
- Taking a walk (Have a pup? Fido will love it, too!)
- Going for a hike
- Seeing if your gym or fitness studio offers online classes you can stream at home
- Playing tag or other active games with your kids
- Finding workouts online that you can do at home—everything from cardio to weight training to yoga is available
- Turning on some music and having a family dance party