As a frontline physician and working mom with young children, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is an unavoidable reality. I learned 6 years ago when I started my weight and wellness journey that exercise is essential not just for my weight maintenance but also my mental health. As little as 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression levels. Exercise reduces stress hormone levels like cortisol and increases endorphins our “feel good” hormone. Honestly some days I don’t feel like exercising especially during the pandemic. However I motivate myself to go by reminding myself how good I will feel AFTER my workout. All I need to do is just start and push past the “Don’t feel like it” stage. It also helps to get creative in your workout.
During this strange and stressful time that is the COVID-19 pandemic I've had to find some creative solutions to fit in fitness. Here's some examples that I hope will help you also:
YouTube videos: There are so many great videos online from all skill ranges and as short or as long as you like. As little as 10 minutes of exercise can significantly reduce your stress levels which is crucial during these stressful times.
FaceTime/ Zoom workout sessions: I have a friend who "feels silly" working out in her living room alone. We plan a FaceTime call and workout at the same time which is a fun and fit way to connect.
Live Interactive Video Workout Sessions: Several gyms and fitness instructors are offering interactive workout sessions via Zoom or Facebook Live. This is an innovative way to workout with others.
Family workout sessions: It can be hard to carve out time to exercise with the kids around. Choose to involve them by working out together or in the same area where they are. That way even if they lose interest in the workout you can still keep an eye on them.
Social distance neighborhood workout: During the quarantine I missed my gym classes so I held a workout session with my neighbors in our cul-de-sac while observing social distance. You don't have to make up a routine, just use one of your favorite workout videos and do it with the group.
Outdoor running/ walking: Initially I maintained my usual running without a mask. As the number of cases increased I started using a wide cloth headband as a facial mask. I had to run slower but this help me enjoy the beauty of my surroundings even more.
I hope this list motivates you on your workout journey during this stressful time.