The Dawson College Physical Education Team offers this advice on how to stay active while at home.
You are working from home, social distancing is upon us, and your commercial gym is no longer open. However, that does not mean your physical activity routine should be put on hold. Moreover, this temporary work change may serve as an excellent opportunity to commence an exercise routine or allow yourself to start incorporating some new healthy habits.
It’s safe to say that we all want to do as much as we can to remain healthy. Washing your hands consistently, getting a good night’s rest, and eating healthy foods are just a few simple steps we can take to ensure this outcome.
However, we should not the neglect the role physical activity can play in improving our health. Research suggests moderate exercise can be beneficial in maintaining a strong immune system (1,2). In addition, if you have been dealing with stress induced by watching the news and scrolling through your social media feeds, exercise will provide you with the mood boost you need at this time (3).
If you have been working hard to maintain your fitness throughout the year and are concerned that there will be a gradual loss in acquired exercise effects; don’t worry. Research suggests that it only takes 1/3 of your standard workload to maintain the benefits you acquired (4). Therefore, take this time to recover from nagging injuries and start challenging yourself with some bodyweight workouts.
If physical activity and exercise is something you normally do or you want to take advantage of your time and start, here are a few tips.
TIP 1 – “A clean house is a happy house”. Keeping your space clean not only protects you from bacteria (5) but it will increase your physical activity levels and therefore reduce stress (3). For example, here are some everyday household activities that you are probably already completing with our estimation of the caloric benefit.
- Taking about 30 minutes to wash the bathroom can help you expend about 100 calories
- A post dinner clean up of dishes, sink, counter, and floors can help expend roughly 75 calories
- Spring is in the air and with this comes some annual cleaning. Washing your windows can help you expend roughly 150 calories.
TIP 2 – “Smell the fresh air”. Go for a walk or even a bike ride but keep healthy distances. Not only are you being active but also getting sunlight will provide you with some critical immune and mood boosting Vitamin D (6). Our advice is to set some goals for your walk. Aim to walk a certain distance. Or perhaps walk in a new neighborhood. Those with kids, get creative and go on a hunt. Have them find 5 houses with a black roof or 3 apartments with a flag on their balcony. There are many ways to spice up your walk and to add a little fun to the activity.
TIP 3 – “Get a sweat on”. The positive benefits of exercising are endless (7). You are probably wondering how you can exercise if your fitness facility is closed. Right now, more than ever, there are a magnitude of sites, videos, and social media pages that are sharing workouts online, but the clutter can be tough to digest. So, we’ve done the work for you and narrowed down a simple workout to follow to get you moving while at home.
Feel free to follow the best dosage that works for you. You can complete all 4 exercises in a row and then repeat. You can aim for a length of time (we recommend 30 seconds each) or a certain number of reps (our suggestion is 15 is a good rule of thumb). You can mix it up by changing up the order or adding some difficulty (try jumping at the top of your squat). The best part is, in the entire workout takes about 25-30 minutes so you can get this done between any of your other daily tasks while at home.
BEFORE YOU START
We suggest making sure your space is clear of obstacles so make sure your kids’ toys, tables, chairs, and even the papers you’ve been grading are tucked away and out of sight (and mind:). We suggest getting into some comfortable clothing so that you can move freely in as well as lacing up those running or training shoes for comfort. We also suggest finding some super-duper music to pump you up. Stay away from your traditional Kenny G dinner music and aim for something with a little more energy. We recommend some Queen or if you’re into the newer stuff, then you can never go wrong with Pitbull.
WARM UP – 5 minutes
Start with 5 minutes of warm up exercises to get your blood flowing. Complete the following 5 exercises for about 60 seconds each.
1) Running on the spot – simply run on the spot.
2) Jumping jacks – think traditional jumping jacks or have fun and make up your own version.
3) Heel to bum knee flexions – going at your pace, flex your knees one at a time until your heel hits your bum or back of your leg.
4) High knees – Place your hands with palms down and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Then going at your pace try and bring your thighs to your hands.
5) Skip rope – Channeling your inner child, pretend you have a skipping rope and jump.
WORKOUT – 25 minutes
We suggest the following 4 exercises, pictured in the accompanying image. Not only are they easy to complete, they target large muscles like your glutes, thighs, shoulders, and core which means they get your heart pumping and burning the pent-up energy. The best part about them is that all you need is you. No additional weight. No fancy machine. Simply your body moving against gravity.
Stay tuned next week, as we will be sharing another great at home workout with some more resources on how to stay active and healthy while at home. Stay moving!
- Campbell, J. P., & Turner, J. E. (2018). Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in Immunology, 9 (1), 1-21.
- Simpson, R. J., Kunz, H., Agha, N., & Graff, R. (2015). Exercise and the Regulation of Immune Functions. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science Molecular and Cellular Regulation of Adaptation to Exercise, 355–380.
- Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., and Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas 106, 48–56.
- Bickel, C. S., Cross, J. M., & Bamman, M. M. (2011). Exercise Dosing to Retain Resistance Training Adaptations in Young and Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43(7), 1177–1187.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). How To Clean and Disinfect Schools To Help Slow the Spread of Flu. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Retrieved from https://tools.cdc.gov/medialibrary/index.aspx#/media/id/127412
- Pearson, David G., and Tony Craig. “The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments.” Frontiers in psychology 5 (2014): 1178.
- Warburton, D. E., & Bredin, S. S. (2017). Health benefits of physical activity. Current Opinion in Cardiology, 32(5), 541–556.