With the recent stay at home orders, due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting to the gym for a proper workout is almost impossible. As a result, we find that we are suffering from the COVID 15—those fifteen extras pounds we have gained and are not having much luck getting rid of. Months of curling up on the couch, favorite snack, and beverage in hand, have generated a much-needed look at ourselves. We need a reset, but the question is—how does one exercise during a pandemic?
First off, you do not have to go to the gym to shed those extra pounds, and you definitely do not have to put your life savings into a Peloton bike. There are multiple ways of working out at home that is just as efficient and effective, making use of those items you can find around your home.
Exercise And The Immune System
With more and more individuals moving towards a more healthy mindset, a healthy immune system is at the top of their list. There are plenty of websites and experts out there that atone the benefits of herbs, teas, and food for immune health. However, there is not much offered in the way of the benefits of exercise to strengthen our body’s defenses against infection.
Studies have shown just how clear it is to exercise and its effects on our immune system. Data shows that when we engage in regular exercise that is moderately intense in endurance, our immune systems are greatly improved. These exercises include those of briskly walking, jogging slowly, climbing stairs, and even dancing. It is important to remember that the speed at which you may perform the exercise will be differ from that of another individual because of the varying fitness levels.
The basic premise of moderate-intensity exercise is that you are moving in such a way that it serves to burn off three to six times as much energy, every minute, as compared to that of sitting, watching tv, reading, or watching the grass grow.
Getting In The Zone
So, the question is, how will I know I am in “the zone?” This can be determined by way of four easy options that will let you know you have arrived.
Talk Not Sing
When you are hitting the zone, you will find that you will be able to talk fine. However, you will not be able to engage in singing.
Do The Math
Many experts suggest that you attempt to hit a heart rate between 64 and 76 percent of your current maximum heart rate. Using a simple formula, you can determine your maximum heart rate and moderate-intensity based on your age.
220 – your age=your maximum heart rate (or beats per minute).
As an example, I am currently 54 years old, so by using this formula, I know that my maximum heart rate/beats per minute to put me in the zone would be between 106 and 126
The Borg Scale starts at six—being the easiest—and goes up to 20. Think of it as being from “fairly light” movement, and somewhat hard—as if you were running for your life. On this scale, you will want to try and hit somewhere in the middle to achieve a moderate intensity endurance. You want to make sure you push yourself a little bit, but not so much that you find yourself so out of breath that you are not able to hold a conversation.
Technology Is Your Friend
There are a whole host of devices on the market geared towards fitness. It is vital to remember that these devices are only as accurate as their calibration.
Rules For Exercising During A Pandemic
Build Up Slowly
Do not start your exercise routine with intense training. Work out—yes—but at the same time, be moderate. The most common mistake that many people make when they begin an exercise routine is to go at it at full force. You will need to give your system time to adapt, which will, in turn, minimize the chance of burnout or injury. Treat your routine as more of a marathon rather than a sprint.
Avoid Group Sports
Now is not the time to be exercising in groups. With the current pandemic, those friends who may seem well can in actuality, be asymptomatic and are capable of spreading COVID-19. The National Academy of Sports Medicine reminds us that those forms of exercise that will put you in close contact with others should be avoided. Minimized physical contact will help to reduce the spread of coronavirus and further overwhelming our healthcare system.
Remain Vigilant When Exercising Outdoors
While being outdoors when exercising will provide much needed fresh air, it is advised that it be done solo and alone. If that is unavoidable, then limit sharing your activities with members of your current household. Although the idea of going on group runs with your friends sounds like fun, it is still highly advised to avoid getting together in groups from different households.
For those individuals who may have a compromised immune system due to underlying conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, living with cancer, and so on, it is recommended that they start slowly. Walking coupled with light stretching and lifting would be the best choices, as these are light to moderate endurance activities. These groups are also reminded that it is vital to practice good health hygiene and social distancing at all times.
Too Much Too Soon
There are those signs that indicate that you are trying to do too much, too soon. These include:
- Mood Swings
- Longer Recovery Times
- Changes In Heart Rate
- Changes In Sleep Cycle
With so many individuals staying home during this pandemic, and not being able to continue their usual proper workout and exercise routines at the gym, having an alternative means of exercise is crucial. Don’t let all that snacking cause you to backpedal on your fitness goals. All it takes is a little get-up and go coupled with determination, and you will be back to training in no time.