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Woman doing yoga with her young child
by Clarissa Rodriguez on Tuesday April 14, 2020
Staying Active at Home During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge, many of us are feeling stressed from the evolving pandemic and how it has disrupted various facets of our daily lives.

Under the State of Florida Stay-at-Home order, individuals are being requested to stay at home, self-quarantine, and only leave the house for essential services or necessary activities. So what exactly does that mean for your health?

Wendy Vera, manager of Team Member Wellness at Tampa General Hospital, says staying active and maintaining good nutrition are simple yet vital things we can do to stay both mentally and physically healthy during this time of quarantine.

Routine physical fitness during quarantine is important for three reasons:

1. Maintaining weight

It’s important to balance calories. An individual can gain weight if consuming more calories through eating and drinking than the number of calories being burned. Be mindful of what you’re eating and stay active to keep maintain a healthy weight.

2. Reducing health risks including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers

Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, control blood glucose levels and reduce risks of developing certain cancers.

3. Mental health

Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, negative mood, and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

As a part of the Stay-at-Home order, gyms and other non-essential businesses have been closed until further notice. Because of this, you might find yourself settling into a sedentary environment at home, but there are still different types of indoor and outdoor physical activity you can engage in.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderately intense or 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic activity per week and at least two sessions of muscle strength training per week.

Vera shares some ideas and exercises you can do at home to meet these recommendations:

1. Sit Less

Take breaks from continuously sitting in front of your computer, tablet or smart phone every 20-30 minutes. Take a few minutes to walk around the house or simply alternate between sitting or standing by creating a standing desk out of materials you have at home.

2. Utilize the stairs

Stair climbing is a time-efficient way to maintain fitness.  If you’re new to climbing, start with 1-3 flights a day and add on as you feel comfortable.  Short bouts of exercise help your cardiovascular health and boosts your morale.

3. Maintain strength using your own bodyweight

Bodyweight strength exercises include pushups, sit-ups, planks and air squats. Aim for at least three body sessions per week, including 2-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions of each exercise with 1-2 minutes rest in-between sets.

4. Playing with children and pets

Take advantage of the extra time you have with your two and four-legged family members by replacing some of your online media and sitting time with play time around the house.

“The biggest thing right now is to give yourself a little grace. We are all doing the best we can with what we have until life returns to normal,” said Vera. “The end goal during quarantine and self-isolation is to prevent long-term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving more and maintaining fitness as best as we can.”