While we’re home and barely venturing out—if at all—it can be tempting to become more sedentary than before. No coffee meet-ups, dinner dates, working out with a friend, or getting those laps in at the pool. And while dealing with the initial shock, emotional processing, and grief for our “old” way of life is healthy and necessary, it’s important for it not to weigh us down from activity that energizes us, boosts our mood, and helps us stay fit in a time when our body’s well-being is more important than ever.
Thankfully, “the latest science suggests that being fit boosts our immune systems, and that even a single workout can amplify and improve our ability to fight off germs,” according to journalist Gretchen Reynolds. Writing on exercise’s impact on our immunity, Reynolds highlights that while pursuing fitness in historically germy spaces (like public pools and gyms) is a no-go right now, gentle, steady exercise proves beneficial for our wellness and preparedness to fight illness.
Furthermore, Reynolds interviews researchers who’ve discredited the concern that increased activity or taking up exercise makes us vulnerable to germs and viruses. While researchers concede that if you have not historically exercised regularly, taking up frequent, high-intensity workouts will cause a brief stress response in your body, this only applies to truly high-strain activity. Researchers have even gone so far as to find that in an extensive study, mice who’d conditioned for thirty-minutes of activity three days a week faced the influenza virus better than non-trained animals. The benefit of getting shape was a clear increased strength to fend off sickness.
So what are some safe, non-high-stress, home-friendly forms of exercise that you can do? Here are some options, though it is always wise to check in with a phone call to your doctor if you aren’t sure a certain type of exercise is safe for you.
- Yoga. Search Amazon, Netflix, or YouTube being sure to include any particularities for your body or needs.
- Walk at home workouts. There are many out there, but Leslie Sansone is a popular and well-known fitness instructor who pioneered walking workouts that kick up your heart rate, help you sweat, and get you moving. She works out in groups of all ages and body types, always has a smile, and is a genuinely positive presence.
- Resistance and light-weight training workouts. As with yoga, you’ll easily find workouts that only require household items like chairs, canned goods, and even simply your own body weight to help you warm up, get moving, and keep your heart active and healthy.
Staying fit while self-isolating and social distancing might feel daunting at first, but like any new activity, with some trial and error and finding what works for you, you can discover health and immune-boosting ways to stay active, energized, and positive, all while staying safe at home.