Even though a lot of our busy schedules have been put on hold due to COVID-19, April is actually Move More Month- and no global pandemic has been stopping the American Heart Association from talking about keeping you healthy by moving!
Personally, I’ve found a way to incorporate some type of workout into every single day that I’ve been self-quarantining, and I know that it has helped me keep a positive mood and increases my motivation to get other tasks done. Did you know that regular exercise also helps to build and boost your immune system? As a type-one diabetic (and therefore a high-risk individual during this isolation period), I always feel better after a workout knowing that I did something to help protect myself- even if I am at a bit of a disadvantage compared to those without autoimmune disorders. Who knows, maybe I’ll come out of this with some abs too! (Or not- let’s be honest: the quarantine treats are definitely there too!)
Okay, let’s get into it- here are some of my tips to move more and keep your mind & heart healthy during social distancing, however long it may last:
Keep drinking water! When I’m cooped up at home, I know I tend to drink less than when I’m bustling around campus living my best college student life. During this time, I’ve focused myself on intentionally drinking water and cutting back on any type of sugary beverage that I might have grabbed on-the-go before when I was more “active.” (A piece of my soul will always love a diet soda, but this quarantine has been exactly what I needed to stop drinking it regularly! I don’t even crave it anymore- and I think I’ve had one over the past 30 days because I’ve limited my access to it. Trust me, just try it!) How much water should you be drinking, anyway? My best advice in that area is to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for every pound you weigh, every day. It definitely takes focus, but I have been feeling so much better when I reach my goal!
Get outside at least once a day - a little sunshine is good for the soul & will boost your mood!
On the weekends, I’ve been planning hiking adventures with my dog, Bentley! The exercise is great for him too, and I’ve found that it gives me something to look forward to as I work though my long list of work-from-home tasks during the week. (We even saw baby otters a few weekends ago- just another reason why I love Wyoming!)
Check out YouTube – you might be surprised how many awesome workout opportunities you find! There’s all kinds of stuff on there, regardless of your skill level, and they don’t have to take up a lot of your time. As part of its Move More initiative, the AHA is hosting virtual workouts Monday-Friday, and they’re so fun! (Yoga, pilates, stretches, cardio, dance workouts, and more!) Even if you can’t make it to the live classes, you can catch the recordings of each one on Facebook, YouTube, and www.heart.org/movemoretogether. I recommend texting a friend or family member who you haven’t been able to see recently and becoming accountability buddies. You can still workout together even when you’re miles apart, and this is a great opportunity to connect in a meaningful way that will benefit your health in the long-term!
Try a Netflix-binge workout! Because if we’re being real here, we’re all spending some time on the couch in front of the tv lately. It’s fine that life looks different in different seasons, but also important that we take initiative to be active even when it’s tempting to be a couch potato all day. Sometimes progress looks like mini-workouts during commercial breaks! Stretch out your tight muscles, hold a core plank, bust out as many push-ups as you can in 90 seconds, do some alternating lunges, have a dance party, jog in place, hop around with some jumping jacks, throw in a few squats- the possibilities are truly endless.
I’m sure by now you get my point- it’s important that during quarantine, we continue to make strides to move more. But if I can’t motivate you to get up and start somewhere, maybe these encouraging fun facts from the AHA will:
- 10 minutes of stretching is like walking the length of a football field
- 2.5 hours of walking every week for a year is like walking across Wyoming
- 30 minutes of singles tennis is like walking a 5K
- 1 hour of dancing every week for a year is like walking from Chicago to Indianapolis
- 20 minutes of vacuuming is like walking one mile
- 30 minutes of grocery shopping every other week for a year is like walking a marathon
Like what?! Keep those bodies moving, people! Every little bit counts in building healthy habits that will sustain you in the future. Remember to give yourself grace in this time period, and to recognize each day is a chance to turn over a new leaf. If we focus on the opportunity, we’ll all come out of this stronger.
If you’re new to my blog, I want to invite you to join me as an advocate with the American Heart Association. We all have the power to make a difference by speaking out for policies that help build healthier communities and healthier lives. For more than 30 years, You’re the Cure – the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's grassroots network – has been doing just that. We’re a community of fathers and mothers, neighbors and friends, researchers and caregivers, passionate about an America that’s free of heart disease and stroke. Learn more, join us HERE.
One more thing...You can take action today to advocate for policy which will help everyone MOVE MORE! Many people are walking, biking and rolling to safely exercise during #COVID19 so it's important that our infrastructure & funding supports safe opportunities for active transportation. Take a moment to ask Congress to include TAP in recovery efforts! Take action HERE.
I hope you’re all staying home, staying safe, and staying healthy. It’s important to check in with each other during these unprecedented times. Sending all my love!
Forever your AHA Advocate and Miss Wyoming 2017,