We’re seeing signs that social distancing in the U.S. is doing its job of slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it’s also slowed down many people’s commitment to being physically active. Even if you were never a big exerciser, you probably moved around a lot more before the shutdown.
But there is good news for anyone sitting for hours on end in front of their home computer: it’s not that hard to put physical activity back into your days at home. And the more general moving around you do, the better it is for mind, body, and spirit. Here are four ideas for staying active while staying safe at home:
Stretching is easy, low-impact, helps keep muscles supple and strong, and gets your blood flowing. Two great ways to stretch are with yoga or Tai chi. You can find countless videos online. Try searching a phrase such as “easy yoga,” “tai-chi for beginners” or “best stretching exercises for beginners.”
Walking requires only one piece of equipment: the best, supportive walking or running shoes that you have. Wear these to protect your feet from injury as you get outside, move your whole body, and get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.
We’ve got some really terrific hiking trails here in Fairfax County. Protect your feet with sturdy hiking boots, practice social distancing measures like staying at least 6 feet away from other hikers, and consider wearing a mask.
Do some easy lifting with some light dumbbells or a couple of unopened vegetable cans. Hold the weights or cans at your sides and lift your arms straight out, then bring them back down. Bend your elbows and then straighten your arms while pressing the weights above your head. Do 5-10 repetitions of each exercise, rest, and repeat the set 3-5 times. If holding weights is too difficult, do the exercises without them and gradually add weight as you get stronger.
To keep blood flowing to your feet and to keep all of your foot muscles limber, you can also do some foot and toe stretching exercises. If pain in your feet or ankles makes moving around difficult for you, get expert advice from board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. Call our office in Centreville, VA, at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.