While our scales and waistbands may show some of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our lives, it’s never too late to make a return to physical activity.

Moderate Exercise Adds Up

-Walking two miles in 30 minutes.

-Biking four miles in 15 minutes.

-Going up and down stairs for 15 minutes.

-Dancing fast for 30 minutes.

-Doing water aerobics for 30 minutes.

-Swimming laps for 20 minutes.

-Gardening for 30 minutes.

-Shooting baskets for 30 minutes.

-Jumping rope for 15 minutes.

And it’s worth it. Exercise has so many benefits across the board. It can decrease anxiety and depression, benefit our cardiovascular system, make us stronger and fitter, reverse type 2 diabetes, help to lower blood pressure and improve balance.

It can seem daunting to achieve the physical activity guidelines for American adults, which call for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, but there are more opportunities to be active than you might think.

Daily activities like carrying groceries, picking up children and plucking dirty clothes off the floor require our bodies to do a lot of work.

And if you’re wondering about how to determine the recommended “moderate intensity level,” use this guideline: If you can talk but you can’t sing, then it’s moderate intensity.

Here are five tips for getting back on track to fitness.

  1. Set your own goals. It doesn’t matter that your neighbor can run a 7-minute mile. What matters is your goal based on your individual likes, needs and abilities. Seek out activities you like. Gardening and walking your dog can count toward your physical activity goals if you get your heart rate up,
  2. Start small and build. If you haven’t been active at all, it’s a good idea to talk with your primary care provider, especially if you have a medical condition. Don’t worry if you have to modify moves or take breaks. Make sure to properly warm up at the beginning and cool down at the end.
  3. Consider chunking your exercise. Every minute of exercise does not require sneakers and gym clothes. You can still get the benefits of physical activity by doing small chunks of work. You can do a minute of squats while brushing your teeth or do pushups against the counter while waiting for your coffee to brew. It is all cumulative and it all has a powerful effect.
  4. Find power in rest. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of a new exercise routine. But don’t forget to give your body a chance to acclimate to the change. Rest days help the body recharge and prevent injuries.
  5. Embrace strength training. Want to increase flexibility, mobility and reduce your risk of injuries? Give strength training a try. Incorporate weight and bodyweight resistance into your workouts, such as squats, lunges and planks. You can even create your own workout circuit using soup cans and plastic jugs for weights. To get the benefits in terms of mobility, we want to be sure we are strengthening all of our body. We don’t have to separate the muscle groups out.

As you make your way back to fitness, know that small increments count. Any activity that is more than the day before is a benefit to your body. You can do this!

ChristianaCare Sports and Lifestyle Medicine professionals are available to help you pursue your goals for athletics and physical activity. To schedule an appointment, call: 302-320-9440 or visit Sports & Lifestyle Medicine – ChristianaCare for more information.