As we continue to practice physical distancing, and heed the importance of staying indoors, staying physically active may seem like a tall order. Sunnybrook expert Suzanne Denis, an advanced practice physical therapist, weighs in on how to stay motivated and moving.
Adjust & be creative
Some people are energized by activities that include others, like group sports or going to the gym. Knowing these outlets aren’t safe or available right now, adjusting your expectations and reward system will help. If you thrive on the social aspect, Denis says to try to build in a virtual home workout or virtual challenge with friends that changes daily or weekly. You can also share a personal fitness goal with a loved one to keep you accountable.
Keep it up
Consistency is the key to success and building healthy habits. Schedule in your time for physical fitness and make that time a priority in your day. Denis says exercise helps boost your immune system and provides many physical and mental health benefits. It can help reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of sadness that can worsen with self-isolation. She says participating in mind-body activities, such as yoga, tai chi and meditation, can also help tend to our mental health.
Explore what’s available
There are countless fitness apps and online training programs, some available at little or no cost. Denis says many fitness and mindfulness leaders have also contributed free resources to help people manage through these difficult times. If you don’t have a lot, or any fitness equipment at home, rest assured many workout options only require your body, a little space and a towel.
Easy does it
If you are starting a new fitness program, go slow and build up over time. Even if you are normally physically active, it can take your body some time to adjust to new or different movements. Ramping up moderately will help reduce the risk of injury and keep you on your game plan.
Physical activity can help break the monotony of being inside, and even small bursts of elevating your heart rate can be beneficial. If you need some extra motivation, music has been shown to help boost endurance and the overall quality and enjoyment of working out. Denis says whether its dance, tai chi or another activity, this is your opportunity to try something new.