Maintaining Physical Activity and Physical Fitness
while Slowing the Spread of COVID-19
While maintaining physical fitness is important for general health and stress management, it is even more critical during times of social distancing. Creativity is key during teleworking under social isolation when access to gyms is unavailable. Some recommendations for staying active include:
- Schedule hourly fitness/stretch breaks into your work schedule.
- Incorporate a balance of cardiorespiratory (cardio) exercise and resistance training.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity (i.e., brisk walking, bike riding 10 to 12 mph) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (jogging at 6 mph or biking at 14 to 16 mph) or a combination of both for adults. Click here for more ideas from the CDC.
- When exercising outdoors, pick exercise routes that allow you to minimize exposure to other individuals to maintain at least a 6 foot distance from others.
- Participate in a virtual exercise class from your phone, computer, or television. Use your favorite search engine to search for work-ins that might be of interest; many national fitness studios are offering online live-streamed classes and "work-ins" for free.
The following are tips for safely exercising during times of social distancing:
1. Get your cardio exercise indoors using a treadmill, stationary bike, or the stairs. If you prefer exercising outdoors, take a walk, go for a run, or ride a bike around the neighborhood. Large empty parking lots at a neighborhood school, church, or shopping center may allow you to walk/run without any close contact with others. Make sure to maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) at all times. If walking or running on trails, try to go during times when they are less crowded.
2. Perform resistance training at home using resistance bands, suspension training, machines, or free weights. Various household items and can also be used for light resistance, such as cans of food, plastic containers filled with water, and so forth. If using workout equipment, use hand sanitizer before and after working out. Also make sure you clean/disinfect the equipment after each use. Learn more about resistance training.
3. Download an exercise app that will help with your exercise goals. There are many applications that can help you and your family stay fit. Try something new to keep things fresh! Keep in mind that any exercise routine should be performed within your current level of fitness and physical capacity to avoid injuries. Your Army Wellness Center Teams suggests you check out some of these apps to see if any meet your workout needs.
4. Contact your local Army Wellness Center (AWC) and follow them on Facebook. AWCs have American College of Sports Medicine-credentialed educators standing by to virtually provide health coaching, exercise prescriptions, and fitness guidance. You can also follow your local AWC on Facebook to get creative fitness tips, training, and information on a variety of health and wellness topics.
5. Working out with Family and friends can help you stay focused, motivated, and accountable. Schedule a workout with a friend virtually or creative activities inside (dancing, partner exercises). Encourage competition by challenging others to meet particular activity targets. Use video chats to work out together in challenging ways such as holding a plank. Challenge your Family and friends to join in 10 push-ups at 1000; 16 sit ups at 1600.
6. Incorporate meditation, deep breathing, or some calming activities into your routine. Sleep is critical to your exercise routine and for your overall health and wellness goals. The Walter Reed Army Institute for Research recommends the following apps for Sleep, Meditation, and Relaxation.
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