How to Stay Fit (and Have Fun)
By Martha Michael
If the COVID-19 quarantine has locked you out of your favorite form of fitness, you can still get your body moving. In fact, traditional workouts -- from weightlifting to basketball -- are far from the only way to get exercise. Many activities that aren’t designed to focus on fitness can still meet your cardio exercise goals and be fun doing it.
Americans were not getting adequate exercise even before the pandemic restrictions affected people’s routines. Messaging is consistent that physical activity contributes to mental and physical health, but only about 25 percent of U.S. adults get enough exercise, says an article in Time magazine. Those who do exercise regularly report a 32 percent drop in physical activity in the last year.
While data from fitness tracking companies such as Apple and Fitbit varies widely -- ranging from a 7 to 50 percent reduction in the number of steps taken daily -- they all report a downturn.
Even the least bit of exercise is better than none, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Physical fitness guidelines recommend two types of movement every week -- aerobic activity and muscle strengthening.
Adults should exercise for 150 minutes per week, the CDC says, and breaking it up over several days is reasonable. Design a plan around your favorite activities because you’re more likely to follow through with it.
Depending on your current level of fitness, you can choose how much effort -- or the type of effort -- to inject into your exercise regimen.
Vigorous - Energetic individuals can maximize the benefits of exercise with intense aerobic activities such as jogging or running for 1 1/2 hours per week. If you’re having trouble, imagine you’re racing in the Olympics.
Moderate - A healthy level of activity with moderate benefits may include brisk walking for 30 minutes five days a week. Be internally competitive; time yourself and improve your time daily, or try to match your previous time within a second or two and take delight when you accomplish it. Did you know racewalking is an event in the Olympics?
Mixed - You can include both levels of fitness by devoting a day or two a week to an intense cardio workout and the equivalent amount of time to something more moderate.
In addition to the cardio workouts, devote two or more days a week to strengthen your major muscle groups, including abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, back, legs and hips.
Fitness for Kids
While some children are extremely active, you can’t assume that all young people remain active enough to meet their health requirements. For kids who prefer video games over physical ones, you’re more likely to get them off the couch with playful, fun activities than structured workouts.
Exercise for kids age 6 to 12 is necessary for them to build strength, coordination and confidence, says an article by KidsHealth. School-age children need one hour of exercise daily and most of it should be aerobic activity. For proper development they need to include large motor movements and strengthen muscle groups at least three days a week. When organized sports are not available, caregivers can beef up the activity levels of youngsters at home:
- Take family walks
- Add household chores
- Limit time on electronic devices
- Keep a supply of balls, hoops, etc.
- Leave time for free play
Tips to Make Fitness Fun
Thinking more creatively about ways to exercise during the pandemic is a good strategy to increase your health and pump up your motivation to move. You may be surprised at the level of fitness you can get from activities that are typically a form of entertainment.
A blog post on Yes.Fit offers tips to increase your fitness levels while engaging in everyday activities.
Dance - Create a playlist and invite members of your “bubble,” such as family, to a dance. You can even cast a wider net and host a virtual party so that friends in distant places can join you.
Jump - If you’re searching for a regular workout you can do at home, is easy, and strengthens your muscles and bones, try jumping for 10 minutes per day. Put on a little Van Halen while you’re at it.
Create a court - Set up your own sports arena at home with an indoor nerf basketball hoop, mitts and a baseball, or a frisbee. Of course, it depends on your space. Remember, any movement is good movement.
New old adventures - You can return to old favorites such as roller skating or rollerblading, which are two blasts from the past that made a recent comeback. Or pick up a new form of amusement that requires a change from your slippers into some tennis shoes.
If you haven’t tried a tracking device, strapping on an Apple Watch or a Fitbit will give you an idea of how many calories are going in and how many are expended. But even without tracking, if you lost your organized workout with the advent of the coronavirus, brainstorming some creative ideas will turn the wheels in your head and get your body moving too.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.