The world is in a chaotic place right now. We are actually in a full-blown pandemic as Corona Virus ( COVID-19) has taken over our lives. The most important thing is to focus on what all of us can do as individuals to help curb this process of disease. To do so, follow guidelines by the CDC and your local health department and remember to practice Social Distancing!
For those of you have been listening and have stayed put, kudos to you! But being locked up at home, listening to the news, social media and the frenzy associated with this outbreak can lead us to experience a myriad of emotions. From anxiety, sadness, loneliness, to anger. One of the best ways to combat all those feelings is through exercise. It is honestly, a two for one deal when you a move you get a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Step away from the news, from social media and the friend that only talks about Corona. This is an IDEAL time to focus some energy on you. Take a clean breath of fresh air in what I assume is a superbly sanitized house and just enjoy that moment.
Exercise stimulates all those feel-good hormones in our bodies, like endorphins and enkephalins. Exercise does not have to be an hour-long session in an aerobics class; any movement that gets your heart pumping will do the trick. The mere thought of committing to self-improvement through movement will give you a breather from this chaotic environment.
Studies in animals point to increased neurogenesis in animals that exercise.
"Generation of newborn neurons that form functional synaptic connections in the dentate gyrus of adult mammals, known as adult hippocampal neurogenesis, has been suggested to play critical roles in regulating mood, as well as certain forms of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. Environmental stress suppresses structural plasticity including adult neurogenesis and dendritic remodeling in the hippocampus, whereas physical exercise exerts opposite effects." - Enhancement of Hippocampal Plasticity by Physical Exercise as a Polypill for Stress and Depression: A Review, Volume 18, Number 4, 2019, pp. 294-306.
Basically, exercise helps the brain.
Doing something positive for yourself, such as exercise, also makes your dopamine receptors more sensitive. This is part of your reward center. It is important to associate exercise with self-care.
Here are a few tips to help make some changes.
1. So turn off the TV.
2. Inhale deeply filling up your lungs and exhale slowly through pursed lips. Do this 4 times, giving your brain some space to think about the benefits that you will reap with exercise.
3. Need to watch Netflix to "chill"? Link that with some arm or leg workouts! Entertaining yourself while you work-out is a great motivator. You can listen to music, podcasts and/or watch TV-shows, movies, etc. Identify what works best for you.
4. If you are asymptomatic ( no fever, runny nose, cough, muscle aches ) go for a brisk walk in the park.
5. Find a workout buddy online. Ask a friend to do a workout with you. I love the app Fit-On, it allows you to request a friend to join a workout with you virtually. With or without the app, you can use Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook, insta...you get the point. This will also hold both you accountable.
6. Staying at home with gyms closed may have broken your routine. Schedule it in your calendar anyways! Get some structure back into your lives. Plan ahead and make it a priority.
7. Set small and achievable goals. Something like, "I am going to run in place for 10 min when I wake up every morning". We are all living through some trying and challenging times right now and a little bit of self-care can go a long way.