Social distancing seems like it will never end. The days of traveling with friends and hitting the gym seem like distant memories as we slog through week after week of self-isolating. While you’re busy bingeing your next favorite Netflix special, however, your body might be crying out for help.
Sheltering in place has affected our lives in many ways, both for better and definitely worse. It’s not only boosted levels of anxiety but it’s created a collective traumatic experience for just about everyone spending the majority of their time at home. This is a nerve-wracking period for everyone and spending a day or two zoning out on television might be a good form of self-care if you can’t work up the energy to do anything else. Unfortunately, these bad habits can lead to exacerbating symptoms if you forget to stay active.
Weight gain is one of the most obvious signs that you should start getting more active, but there are more nuanced symptoms that your body needs to move around more. These include:
- Trouble sleeping: If you have had trouble sleeping, lack of physical activity might be to blame. Those who exercise more often are able to sleep better at night since they’re more tired at the end of the day. Of course, there are many other factors that could impact your sleep, like dental emergencies and other pains, but if you’re in relatively good health and still can’t sleep, it might be because you’re not getting the activity you need. This can also lead to feelings of tiredness, another top symptom that your body needs to move around more. Staying active regularly can help boost your energy levels more consistently.
- Back pain: If you’re laying on the couch all day, you’re probably not stretching and strengthening your back like you should. Back problems are among the most common office worker ailments because these individuals are stuck sitting in one position all day. While it’s not typically classified in the category of workplace injuries, lack of motion can reveal a variety of aches and pains. Even those suffering from chronic back pain might discover that their symptoms have worsened if they’re not active enough. These painful symptoms can develop and persist if you’re not moving enough during quarantine.
- You’re really hungry — like, a lot: Exercise has been found to be one of the only proven appetite suppressants in the world, especially when it comes to natural alternatives. It seems counterintuitive, but if you don’t get enough exercise, you might feel hungrier more frequently throughout the day. If you’re finding that all of your quarantine snacks are gone, you might want to go for a walk.
- You’re feeling constipated: Unless you’ve made serious changes to your diet, constipation is common if you don’t get enough exercise. Moving your body can help your digestive system become more regular (along with plenty of fiber). If you have struggled to go to the bathroom during quarantine, try doing some yoga or watching some YouTube exercise tutorials.
Have you encountered any of the above symptoms? If you have, it might be high time to start investing in your physical health. Many doctors are able to give you advice regarding simple ways to get active at your annual checkup but you may have run into some roadblocks now that we’re stuck inside all day.
Are you looking for simple ways to get active at home? Here are some of the best things you can do to start moving.
One of the easiest things we can do during the time of the coronavirus is walk. Walking more is a great way to get outside and take in a little nature, which has been proven to help your mental health. As long as you’re staying the recommended six feet apart from other people, there’s no reason why you can’t traverse your neighborhood on foot.
This is one of the most simple ways to get active. But if you don’t like the thought of walking in your own neighborhood, you can always drive to a safe park or another scenic location to get in your steps. You should be aiming for 10,000 steps a day to really see the benefits of walking. Try investing in a cheap pedometer to keep track of how many steps you achieve in a day. Many new smartphones will also track how many steps you have as long as you have it on your person during the time of the activity. You can also track your walking in terms of distance and try to walk further each day than you did before. When the gyms reopen, you can start tracking your daily walks with the help of a treadmill. Some medicare programs even offer discounted gym rates to people hoping to improve their health. In the meantime, walking around outside is the best alternative to treadmills.
If you have a pet, walking around town is all the easier. Most pets need to be walked a few times a day with one really long walk thrown in to help keep their weight down and improve their cardiovascular health. Try leashing up your pup and going on a long walk. It’ll be a great change of scenery from your home, too. This is especially important if you’re suffering from a little cabin fever because of social distancing.
Give yourself an incentive
Even though the act of walking is simple, finding the motivation to get up and get moving isn’t so easy. If you’re looking for truly simple ways to get active, giving yourself a little incentive might be the perfect way to get up from the couch.
One of the simplest ways is to reward yourself with a treat after you’re done with your walk or workout. Telling yourself something along the lines of “I will treat myself to an hour of video games” or “I will watch my favorite show only if I work out” can be a great motivating factor. Try to switch up these rewards each day to keep your motivation going strong.
But you can also give yourself motivation throughout the workout. If you’re going on a walk, try to tell yourself that you’re going to go see the new annuals & perennials in bloom at the park because spring is finally here. Choosing a path with beautiful views will make a great walk seem like less of a workout and more of an activity.
When quarantine is all said and done, you might also treat yourself halfway through your walk with a trip to your favorite store. Try to angle your walk such that you encounter some of your favorite shops on the way. This is great if you live near a main street in your town or if you’re walking around the mall for exercise. Stopping for a quick coffee, picking up new hair extensions, or grabbing a new book is a great way to make a workout feel more like a productive errand.
These are some of the more simple ways to get active. But if you truly want to stay active for the long-term, it’s important to define your “why.” Why do you want to get active? Is it so you can shed a few pounds before you trade wedding rings with your partner? Or do you want to start living a more healthy lifestyle? There’s no inherently wrong answer, but giving yourself this intrinsic motivation over external factors can help you stay active far after quarantine is done.
Find a new “active” activity that you like
Few people like the act of running and going to the gym. If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with a steady workout routine, why not get invested in an activity you actually enjoy?
There are plenty of physical activities out there that can make a workout seem like you’re just having fun. Playing a rousing game of basketball is off the table for now, but you might find that dribbling the ball and perfecting your three-pointers is a great way to get active without feeling like it’s “work.”
If you live in an area with a lot of land, it might be worth your while to contact your local ATV dealer. Operating these exciting four-wheelers is surprisingly active despite the ATV doing most of the work. This is because ATV driving demands a lot of core strength to keep your balance. You’re also using your arms to steer and making quick turns with help from your legs. It’s not uncommon for ATV riders to work up a sweat while they ride, even if they’re not performing the crazy stunts that one would typically see in a video game. The best part is that you can even bundle your ATV in with your current auto insurance as long as your provider allows it. If you’re looking for simple ways to get active, finding an activity that you truly enjoy can be the first step toward a lifelong passion.
Try to clean your home more often
Few people live in a truly immaculate home. If you want to find simple ways to get active, there’s no easier way to do that than by improving your living space.
After all, many of us clean our homes at a regular cadence. Unfortunately, this cadence might be a little less frequent than we care to admit. Cleaning your home more often can help you feel more active while improving the space in which you live. Sweep and mop the floors, fold some laundry, and do the dishes before you start tweaking with the water heater. You can also perform a deep-clean of your bathroom and even give your pets a bath to help keep your home even cleaner. While this activity isn’t as good as going for a mile-long run, cleaning your home is still a great way to get your blood pumping. When you want to get the whole family involved, all you need to do is turn on some tunes to make the time pass by even faster.
Try these simple ways to get active
It isn’t easy to get off the couch during quarantine. Our mental health is suffering, work is hard, and finding the energy to engage in hobbies seems nearly impossible. But getting up and getting active is essential to maintaining our mental and physical health, especially during such a trying time as this. If you’re looking for simple ways to get active, try these tips for a good start. Then, move on to more difficult workouts as your body gains strength.