How to Stay Physically and Mentally Active at Home

A woman stretches in her home, as a dog watches

Let’s just get it out in the open: it’s not easy staying home right now. It’s spring and we’ve had some beautiful days. We want to enjoy lunchtime walks, the start of baseball season, hockey and basketball playoffs, weddings, graduations, spring musicals, and socializing with family and friends.

Instead, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the best course of action we can take right now is to stay home. That’s easier said than done. What makes it worse is that we don’t know how long we will need to live this way.

But just because we are confined to our homes right now, doesn’t mean we should be stationary. There are many ways you can stay physically and mentally active, both in and around your house.

Get Up and Move

We should still be active because it’s not only important for our physical health but our mental health as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all healthy adults do 30 minutes of physical activity per day. They also say that children should be physically active for one hour per day.

For me, I have a stationary bike that I ride every day. And on good weather days, I am out gardening and taking walks while practicing good social distancing.

The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following activities while practicing social distancing.

Indoor activities

  • Online exercise classes — many local gyms in your area offer live and video classes through their social media channels
  • Pre-recorded workouts either online or through your cable provider
  • Put on some music and dance it out
  • Dust off your old gaming system and play some active video games, like bowling, tennis, or dancing games
  • Jump rope
  • Practice your muscle strength and balance with bodyweight workouts
  • Cleaning or organizing your home

Outside activities (Be sure to keep a six-foot distance!)

  • Walking your dog
  • Going on a family hike
  • Biking around your neighborhood
  • Running or jogging
  • Hiking on a trail
  • Playing with your kids in your yard
  • Mowing your lawn or gardening

How Activity Helps Your Mental Health

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has tested our mental health. Many feel stressed and anxious for fear of the unknown. And for those who are used to being busy, the slower change of pace can be disorienting.

According to helpguide.org, exercising and staying active during this time can have a “profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.” I think we can all agree that anything to help boost our moods when we’re cooped up at home is a win.

Boost your mental state

 

Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Calega

About Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Calega

Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Calega is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Independence Blue Cross, where she is responsible for the ongoing analysis of utilization, medical cost, and health outcomes data, along with the development of interventions and programs to optimize these outcomes. Ginny is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics, is past Chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Medical Policy panel, and received the Pittsburgh Business Times 2016 Healthcare Hero Award for work on the innovative Highmark Cancer Collaborative. She completed her medical degree at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, her medical residency at Rhode Island Hospital, and her Master of Business Administration at Villanova University.