Melinda Caldwell, TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that being physically active can help foster normal growth and development, reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, and can make people feel better, function better, and sleep better. During stressful times, many people can benefit from the endorphins released during physical exercise that assist in reducing stress levels. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need a mix of activities to stay healthy, including at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and two days of muscle-strengthening activity each week.
During stressful times, it’s important to remember that some physical activity is better than none. Keeping social distance guidelines in mind, now is a great time to add physical activity into your daily routine if you are not already doing so. Start a plan to get moving by following the below guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Before making a decision about whether or not to be active outside, be sure to check the latest guidance from your local health department and community or state leaders. In most places across the United States, residents can go for a walk or run as long as they practice social distancing and good hygiene.
- The safest way to be active outdoors is to stick with members of your household or go solo. When you’re deciding where to go outside, avoid busy areas that might make it hard for you to keep your distance from others.
- If you’re meeting up with someone who isn’t in your household, make sure to avoid all physical contact and keep at least six feet of space between you at all times. And remember, you don’t have to meet in person to get active together! Consider other ways to stay connected like talking on the phone while walking.
- Going for a walk, run, or bike ride in your neighborhood can be a good way to get active, as long as you can safely maintain distance between yourself and other active neighbors. If you decide to go to a nearby park or community space, first check for closures or restrictions. Then consider the number of other people who might be there and if you’d be able to ensure enough space — at least six feet —between yourself and other people.
- If you can’t practice safe social distancing outdoors, stay home and find ways to get active indoors. There are all kinds of ways to get active at home. Workout videos, dancing, and even active video games are great ways to get moving. Many gyms and organizations across the country are offering free streaming or on-demand fitness options. This might be the perfect opportunity to try something new!
- Household chores and gardening are also good ways to get moving, and a great way to multitask. If you have a yard, gardening and yard work can help you to stay active and count toward meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines.
In addition, Shapeyourfutureok.com has various free resources and at-home workouts available to stay healthy during COVID-19. Whether you are finding innovative ways to continue being physically active or wanting to begin this new lifestyle change make sure you are aware of the most up to date guidance from your local health department, city government, and state leaders.