Even as businesses begin to slowly reopen in Ontario, we know most of you are probably still staying home more than pre-pandemic. However, spending more time at home does not mean you can stop prioritizing your physical and mental health – in fact doing so might be even more important right now. The best way to stay healthy and happy during these extended periods at home is to incorporate some type of physical activity or movement into your schedule. While some of us might find it difficult to stay motivated while at home, we are here to encourage you to stay on top of your physical activity levels to promote better physical and mental health. In today’s blog, we want to provide you with a list of ways you can stay active at home to improve your overall quality of life.
Use What You Already Have
For those of us who are used to going to a fully stocked gym for our exercise, it might seem challenging to get the same level of activity done at home. We have been encouraging our patients to strip back their workout plans or physiotherapy rehabilitation plans to make use of what they already have around them. Now is your chance to get creative and think outside the box with your physical activity by making the most of the equipment, or lack thereof, you have at home. Whether you have kids, live by yourself, or even with friends, there are ways to motivate and encourage yourself and others to get active. Follow an online class, watch a YouTube video, try a new sport, have a dance party, do some housework or yard work, build a fun obstacle course, and anything else you can get active doing. Use your laundry detergent as a kettlebell, your couch makes a great bench for dips and bridges, you can fill your backpack to make a weighted vest, and your stairs make an excellent cardio machine. As always, make sure you are taking the necessary safety precautions and test out all your home equipment before using them. Remember physical activity comes in many different shapes and sizes outside of the classic gym workout. Incorporating exercise into your home life is easier than you might think once you get creative!
Take Active Breaks
On the flip side, we know how busy our patients’ lives are at home in-between work, juggling the kid’s schoolwork, and taking care of the house. If you’re working from home or have a busy day, try to take short active breaks throughout that can be added towards your weekly physical activity recommendations. The World Health Organization recommends we all do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. The best way to achieve this is to block off 30 minutes each day that is solely dedicated to exercising. These short bouts of physical activity are great for breaking up our sedentary time while working from home. Our bodies are not made to sit for prolonged periods of time so make sure you get up and stretch to prevent any stiffness or strain to your body. Ideally, we recommend that you interrupt your sitting time every 30 minutes to stand up and stretch.
Get Your Steps In
This may sound silly, but walking is one of the easiest and most doable types of activity you can do while at home. Even if you do not want to leave your home, walking is great for small spaces because you can walk around or on the spot which will help reenergize your body throughout the day. A trick we often use is to associate walking with being on the phone. Whenever you have a work or personal call, stand up and walk around your home while you speak. This again breaks up your sitting time and will reenergize your body as you continue to go about your daily life. Walking is also a great excuse to get outside (remember to keep at least 2 metres distance from others) and soak up your daily dose of vitamin D and fresh air. We wrote a whole blog about the benefits of sun exposure because we truly believe it is so important to your physical and mental health. Especially now when we are spending a lot more time indoors, prioritizing a daily walk will work wonders for your mood and wellbeing. You can even go beyond going for a walk by taking your indoor exercises to your backyard, front yard, deck, porch, or shared green space (provided that it is safe to do so, and you can keep that 2 metres of distance). Any way that you can safely soak up that sunshine and get active is a bonus in our books. Check out what Kitchener trails and Baden trails are open during COVID-19 before heading out.
Relax and Refuel
While it is awesome to get your heart rate up and get active, it is equally important to relax with mindful exercises. This is something people often forget to include in their workout plans, so we recommend starting with activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. These types of exercises do wonders for your physical and mental health because they can help you remain calm and relax your mind. Especially right now, we want to remind you how important it is to destress with mindful exercises. Physical activity is a form of self-care and these exercises are great for letting go of your concerns for even just a couple of minutes throughout the day. For optimal health while at home, remember to also prioritize proper refuelling with healthy eating habits. Try to limit your intake of sugary beverages, alcohol, salt, and refined foods and opt instead for lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and water. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated to avoid the negative health impacts of dehydration.
As with any physical activity, there is always a chance of injury while exercising at home. If you or someone in your household has an accident, please reach out to our team in Kitchener or Baden to be properly examined and diagnosed. While most at-home injuries are minor and will eventually disappear with time, some require more rehabilitation and healing time. Our team of professionals specializes in pinpointing the exact cause of your pain or discomfort so that we can get you back to your home workout plan as soon as possible. Reach out to us by phone, email, or social media and one of our team members would be more than happy to help answer any of your questions!
Want more lifestyle advice on how to improve your overall health and wellness? Contact our Livewell Health and Physiotherapy Kitchener and Baden teams for more tips and don't forget to view our other services that can help put you on the right track.