The COVID-19 virus is overwhelming, unprecedented, and impossible to ignore. If you have looked at your phone, watched TV, listened to the radio, or clicked around the internet in the past week, you have likely spent some measure of time feeling burdened by the news. There is new information being presented every day, every hour, and it can feel impossible to shut it off, even for a few moments. Many of us feel stressed. We feel anxious. What’s even worse is that stress and anxiety weakens our immune systems by triggering our flight-or-fight response. Is it possible to chill out during these uncertain times?
This is precisely why daily exercise is more important than ever before.
Not only does exercise help us stay sane by making us feel less lethargic and more energetic, but it also gives us an excuse to unplug from the news and decompress. While it is important to stay informed, it is equally as important to take good care of yourself during this difficult time. What better way to ease your anxiety about the virus than by focusing solely an activity that will actually boost your immune system?
Take 30 minutes a day to shut off the news and focus on exercise instead.
In order to effectively cope with stress, the CDC recommends taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to information about the pandemic, which includes staying off social media. They also recommend taking care of your body by exercising regularly. Do both at the same time by devoting a part of your day to uninterrupted exercise.
The benefits of exercise are even more important as we practice social distancing:
You will sleep better
Staying at home all day is necessary in order to flatten the curve and limit the spread of the virus, but being cooped up can leave us feeling restless when it’s time for bed. Couple that lack of physical activity with an anxious mind, and a restorative night’s sleep becomes difficult to achieve. The solution? Exercise during the day in order to sleep better at night, improving your overall well being.
You will have more energy
It is easy to feel like a couch potato when you’re stuck at home. Without our normal routines, we may feel more tired or lethargic than usual. Regular exercise keeps us on track. Research from the University of Georgia shows that even low-intensity exercise can help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue, as long as it is practiced regularly.
Bottom line? Exercise is good for your mental health
This is so important. It is normal to feel anxious about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and so much feels out of our control right now. At a time like this, it is important to focus on what we can control: our own actions. By practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible, we keep other people safe. By finding ways to exercise regularly, even from home, we keep ourselves safe.