How to stay fit and active at home during self-isolation
The extensive social distancing policies put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 mean we will have to spend most our time at home.
Self-isolation means far fewer opportunities to be physically active if you are used to walking or cycling for transportation and doing leisure time sports.
But equally worryingly, the home environment also offers abundant opportunity to be sedentary (sitting or reclining).
Exercise can help keep our immune system become strong, less susceptible to infections and their most severe consequences, and better able to recover from them.
Even before the restrictive conditions were announced, physical inactivity cost 5.3 million lives a year globally.
So we should consider ways to limit the effects of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as its wider impact of contributing to the long-term chronic disease crisis.
How much physical activity?
Global recommendations are for all adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
Any activity is better than none, and more activity provides more physical and mental health benefits.
As several countries are already under lockdown, it is uncertain for how long you can go outside for a walk, run or cycle. The key question is how can people meet these guidelines when restricted to the home environment?
Sitting, standing and movement
Take regular breaks from continuous sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone every 20 to 30 minutes.
For example, you could take a few minutes break to walk around the house, take some fresh air on the balcony, in the garden or yard, or play with your dog for a few moments.
Alternate periods of standing while working/studying with sitting by creating your own stand-up desk area.
Just do something!
Left unattended, the self-isolation imposed by COVID-19 will likely skyrocket sedentary time and will drastically reduce the physical activity levels for many. Our suggestions are only a few examples of ideas that need no special equipment and can be done within limited space.
Keeping active at this time is really important for our physical and mental health.
The end goal during self-isolation is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness by huffing and puffing a few times a day.