We all know that I try to limit my talk about (in a scary voice) the pAnDEmiC. But, in a lot of places, gyms, and community sports are shutting down to slow the spread of the virus. Staying active is important to our health. Exercise protects our heart, lungs, and even our brain! We want to stay healthy, now more than ever.
So how do we stay active? How do we include enough variety to keep us excited and interested while also ensuring we are out of the house?
Important Notes on Staying Active
I am an introvert. Also, I am not a very active person. During the initial quarantine, I was more than happy to stay inside and watch movies (or drink wine in my backyard). However, while I don’t miss the gyms or the exercise groups, I recognize that many people NEED that regular activity!
Moreover, though I am no athlete, I know that moving my body impacts my mental health, stress levels, and overall mood.
When I do actively choose to include movement in my day, I am happier, and I sleep better!
Humans have active roots. What do I mean by this? I mean that for generations, we were working on farms, gathering, and migrating. Movement is essential for our health because it is a part of our evolution.
Therefore, I want to start this article by recognizing that we all have different ability levels. Movement, and therefore staying active, has a different meaning for everyone. The purpose of this article is not to shame or judge, but to encourage us all to move our bodies.
Traditional Exercise Activities
So how can we stay active?
Easy! We can exercise!
There are many exercises we can do at home without equipment.
- Push ups
You name it! On YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites, influencers are sharing their workouts and providing guides for beginners and expert fitness enthusiasts alike.
If traditional exercise is your preferred activity, there is no reason that a closed gym should stop your workouts.
If you are interested in some free workout routines, check out Girls Gone Strong here!
Staying Active With Hobbies?
How can my knitting help me stay active? I do realize that I sit down when I write my blog posts (or any other writing)?
Well, my dear readers, all activities, including artistic hobbies, are what you make of them.
Some days, I will pack my knitting project in a bag, walk to a nearby park, and knit there for an hour or so before returning to my apartment. Not only do I get a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air, I stretch my legs and get my blood pumping!
When I write, I am conscious about how long I’ve been sitting. If I hit writers block, I know that it is time to do a lap around my apartment until the creative juices are flowing again.
Other hobbies necessitate physical activity. Hiking. Bird watching. Dog (or cat) walking. Even watching a movie is a good time to stand up, reach to the sky, touch your toes, and continue consuming the media.
Cooking, at least in my kitchen, is a very active process. I am on my feet, moving constantly, and usually don’t sit down until dinner is done. Gardening is another hobby that necessitates movement, and using muscles that don’t get used much when we’re sitting at a desk.
Chores: Two Birds For The Price Of One
Okay, so most people don’t get excited about chores. But I do!
Because most of my non-exercise physical activity comes from doing my chores.
This started when I was growing up on my parent’s farm. There was heavy lifting, ample amounts of walking, and a great deal of time spent outside. While I didn’t always love chores (a fact I’m sure my parents will remind me about), I really appreciate their value as an adult.
And not just because I believe in a job well-done!
I no longer live on a farm. My building manager would not be very happy with me if I raised chickens in my apartment. However, when I have a lot of energy, chores are still one of the first things I turn to!
The time we spend vacuuming, standing doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and taking out the trash is the time we are spending moving. That movement is contributing to our active lifestyle, whether we recognize it at the time or not.
If you want to make your chores a little more fun, you can blast your music, dance as you vacuum, or make a game of how quickly you can finish.
At the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing that your home is clean AND you are staying active!
Exercise & Positivity
If you watch the news or consume any media, you know that there are a lot of negatives right now. Stress, depression, anxiety, and mental illness are through the roof! How can we possibly stay positive with how much negative there is everywhere we look?
Luckily, we can take that negative energy and turn it into a positive.
Research has shown that moderately and highly active individuals are more optimistic, less anxious, and have higher self-efficacy. Not only is movement and staying active important for your body itself, but it protects your mind against the toxic stress that we are all experiencing.
It may be easier to sit for 14 hours straight. But, the right choice isn’t always the easy choice.
Most importantly, movement and exercise is different for every person. Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t running every day. Sometimes cleaning the bathroom is enough for one day.
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