It is no surprise that our exercise routines have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Between working from home and limited access to gyms, it can be challenging to workout regularly or even maintain the motivation to do so.
With so much going on, staying active may not be a priority, but staying active may be the very thing we need. Studies show that regular physical activity can have a positive impact, not only on our physical health, but on our mental and emotional health as well. While finding time to exercise each week may not be easy, the outcome will most certainly be worth the effort.
Here are some ideas on how you can start making exercise part of your regular (and irregular) routine.
Plan your schedule each week
Write down a rough plan of your week, including work time, breaks, family time and other commitments. Figure out when you have a spare thirty to sixty minutes to exercise. Maybe you have a small block of time before work on Tuesdays or during your lunch break on Fridays. Maybe you have some time right at the end of each work day or while the kids are watching television. It doesn’t have to be everyday or the same time everyday, but it is important to intentionally schedule the time.
Align your workout schedule with how it makes you feel
It can be a good idea to try exercising at the different times you have identified and note how it makes you feel. If exercise makes you feel energized and ready for the day, you’ll probably enjoy making it part of your routine first thing in the morning. If working out makes you feel chilled and prepared to relax, the end of the day may work better for you. You are much more likely to stick to some type of an exercise routine, if it aligns with how it makes you feel.
Consider your regular activities
Think of how you can make small adjustments to everyday activities that will enable you to move a bit more and raise your heart rate throughout the day. Would it be possible to cycle or walk to work instead of driving or taking public transportation? What about other errands like shopping, banking, or going to the post office? If cycling or walking is not possible, then perhaps make it a habit to park further from the entrance or take the stairs whenever possible. Consistent changes like these can easily increase your weekly physical exercise.
Aim for variety
Even without the ability to go to a gym or join a sports team, you can still keep your workout fun and interesting. Think about what you already have available. Do you have dumbbells? A bike? Running shoes? Nothing? Whether you have a whole home gym or nothing at all, with the right mindset, there are a variety of ways to get moving. You can use online guided workouts, household items as weights, follow a television dance routine, practice yoga, take walks or runs. There are so many options from which to find something you will enjoy.
Make it a family affair
If you have children or pets at home, there are lots of ways to incorporate exercise into your family life. Play catch or tag, go for a group bike ride, work together in the garden or take the dog for a walk as a family. The added benefit of playing and working out together can be a stronger family bond.
While this pandemic has made it difficult for us to do some of the things we enjoy, it’s important that we find a way to keep ourselves motivated. Start with small steps, don’t give up, and don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. Before you know it, exercise will be an enjoyable part of your routine.