It’s hard enough to commit to regular exercise during normal times, but at a moment in history when everyone’s schedule has been turned upside down, it can be an even bigger hurdle.
And even though time may be a little more abundant, the collective level of uncertainty and worry may be increasing your stress level and affect your overall well-being.
While you don’t have to commit to taking on something extreme right now, like marathon training, finding 20-30 minutes per day to move your body can give you big benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity pumps up the production of endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Tapping into your natural mood elevators can have lingering effects beyond the workout time and can help you tackle the challenges surrounding you.
Exercising also reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which are your body’s stress hormones. In addition to boosting your neurochemical functions, exercise can provide an opportunity to briefly step away from any stressors in your new schedule and focus on your mind-muscle connections.
Exercise has also been shown to create positive changes in your immune system by quickly circulating immune cells in the body and increasing the ability to kill bacteria and viruses. Keeping up with immune health is especially important right now, and is top of mind for many people.
Effective exercises don’t necessarily need to be complicated to be beneficial, and you don’t need a lot of space to be efficient. Keep this in mind as you integrate movement into your daily life to be successful.
Here are a few ideas to get you started with just a few pieces of equipment:
- Bicep Curls (Hold handles in each hand in an underhand grip and put the middle of the band under one foot. Lift hands from thigh to 90 degrees)
- Front Raises (Hold handles in each hand with an overhand grip and put the middle of the band under one foot. Lift hands from thigh until they are straight out from the chest.)
- Side Raises (Hold handles in each hand with an overhand grip and put the middle of the band under one foot. Lift hands from thigh out to the side until they are parallel with the floor)
SMART Medicine Ball
- Jack Front Presses (Feet move in and out jumping jack style while ball presses in and out from chest)
- Figure 8 Skaters (Move the ball in figure 8 in front of the body while hopping side to side on feet.
- Halo Slam Balls (Move the ball around the head in a semi-circle, when in front, slam the ball down. Repeat)
SMART Stability Ball
- 30-second wall sits (Sit in a squat position with ball on lower back between body and wall. Hold.)
- Stir it up (Elbows on the ball, move in circles)
- Stability Ball Donkey Kicks (elbows on the ball, one knee moves toward the ball, extends fully, repeat on the other side)