The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed life as most Americans know it. With gyms closed and parks and playgrounds roped off, families are left searching for new ways to stay active. A little creativity may be required, but that’s no reason to become a couch potato.
“In fact, this actually gives families the opportunity to bond with one another,” said Amanda Meschi, MS, FMFA, ACSM/Cpt, and Director of Inspira Health’s Fitness Connection. “With everybody relegated to the same area, it provides a great opportunity for team-based workouts.”
Here are some activities that both families and individuals can try during this time, according to Meschi.
Modify Recess Time: Having your children at home with you instead of at school can present a special set of challenges, especially with younger children. As many teachers will tell you, a critical part of a young child’s school day is recess. An opportunity to get fresh air, release some energy and interact with friends in a non-academic setting is greatly important. Oftentimes, recess acts as a sort of “reset” button for the day, separating the child’s morning from their afternoon.
“The importance of recess is often undervalued, since there is no direct teaching during this time of day,” said Meschi. “However, it presents a great opportunity for children to develop their social and motor skills.”
By planning a period every day for social and physical activities—half an hour should do—you can ensure that your children’s progress in their social and motor skills doesn’t come to a stop.
Invite A Friend—But Keep Your Distance: Many exercise activities that get you up and moving around can be done with a friend, while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. Bike rides or hikes in public parks offer a great opportunity to meet and catch up with a friend, while getting your heart pumping as well.
“While confined spaces can encourage the spread of COVID-19, open-air activities are still safe to participate in as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to,” said Meschi.
Playdates for dogs can also be arranged, as it is currently believed that they’re unable to carry the virus.
Use Your Bodyweight: Studies have shown that some of the most effective exercises, both in terms of cardio and weightlifting, are ones that use the body’s own weight instead of external weights or forces. These exercises can be combined with running or walking on a treadmill for a full body workout.
Some of these exercises include:
• Pushups and sit-ups
• Jumping jacks
“As with any exercise program, the frequency of workouts and number of repetitions completed should increase gradually,” said Meschi. “As in a normal gym, any surfaces or equipment that you touch should be sanitized after using it.”
Any machines you have at home should only be used by one person at a time in order to minimize the spread of germs from one person to another. Any sanitizers used to wipe down the equipment should contain at least 70 percent alcohol, which ensures the elimination of any germs living on surfaces.
Learn more on inspirahealthnetwork.org or call 1-800-772-2848, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.