Your Health: Staying active is important while social distancing

We all know the CDC’s recommendation of remaining at least six feet from others while out in public, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep you and your family healthy. It’s still important, though, that we take care of ourselves physically while social distancing.

Just as we should normally, most of us should be getting between 2.5 and 5 hours of exercise a week, or 30 to 60 minutes a day. While many gyms and public gatherings are closed right now, you can still get the exercise you need right at home.

Physical and mental benefits

Staying active helps keep your immune system healthy, which is especially important right now. It's also a great way to cope with the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.

Exercise is so important that even cities and states that have asked residents to stay home still allow people to go outside for exercise and to walk their pets, as long as they continue to practice social distancing. Walking, going for a run or taking a bike ride can all be done while maintaining a healthy distance from others.

Tired of taking walks?

Get creative with your exercise — the gym being closed doesn’t mean that walking and hiking are your only options. Take advantage of exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own home, or backyard activities that you can enjoy with others in your home.

Here are a few ideas to get your creativity flowing:

• Pump up your motivational playlist and create your own jump rope or shadowboxing routine;

• Have a virtual dance party with family or friends over video chat;

• Get out into your garden, or tackle some yard work. Now may also be a good time to start (or finish) some simple home improvement projects;

• Mix up one of your hikes by turning it into a nature scavenger hunt for you and your family. Bring a list along and ask everyone to find specific items during the hike, such as a red leaf, a pine cone, an acorn, etc. The person finding all of their listed items first, or the most items by the end of the hike, wins;

• Grab a book and do some wall sits or lunges while reading;

• On a nice day, bring out some lawn games and arrange a tournament with everyone in your home. Depending on the game you choose, you can even expand the tournament virtually to include family or friends that aren’t living with you;

• If you're working from home, take some laps around the house on your breaks. Or if you’re able to without distractions, have a walking phone conference;

• Stream a free yoga or exercise video. If you’re already an expert, stream your own routine with some family or friends;

• Play some active games with your family, like soccer, Frisbee, or go have a catch with a football, baseball or softball. For younger kids, break out the bouncy balls, jump ropes, or chalk — which can also be used to create a four square (or two square) court. For older kids, shoot some hoops, or get a game of street hockey going;

• If you have stairs, work them into a strength routine with moves like inclined pushups or tricep dips. Of course, keep it safe;

• Create your own obstacle course — indoor or outdoor — full of different activities. If others in your home would like to participate, grab a stopwatch and see who can complete the course the fastest. Winner picks the next movie, or the next board game to play.

Visit www.bassett.org/covid-19 for more COVID-19 resources, including a free online screening tool, community support services, and weekly video updates from Dr. William F. Streck, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network.

Brandon Dixon is the network digital communications coordinator at Bassett Healthcare. Information was provided by Bassett Healthcare Network. 

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