It’s understandable if your exercise routines and self-care habits have been placed on the back burner in this new era of COVID-19. Several months into this new reality, most of us are now ready, or even borderline desperate, to reestablish a healthy routine!
You may be feeling a bit off. Why, you ask? Our brain includes a system that contributes to daily wellbeing. It is the body’s internal biologic clock. It keeps our body and behavior synchronized with the 24-hour cycle of light and dark. Predictable routines keep the body’s internal clock running smoothly and help us feel better. However, in times of major upheaval, we may have trouble resetting these biologic rhythms. Try the following tips for 21 days (that’s how long it takes to make a routine a habit) and see how much better you feel!
- Forget the old and accept the new. Adapt to change and let go of your desire to go back to how things once were. Change helps us grow and become stronger. Also take comfort that everything happens for a reason.
- Reflect on what is true for you now and create structure around your current reality. Look at your current schedule and to-do list. What has changed? It helps to write down your priorities.
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. This stabilizes your body clock and maintains natural rhythms.
- Make sure you spend some time outdoors every day, especially in the early morning if possible. Again, your body clock is regulated by the light-dark cycle.
- Get your daily dose of vitamin D. If you can’t go outside, try to spend at least 2 hours by a window.
- Plan the day ahead. Set times for a few regular activities each day. Write it down.
- Be consistent with mealtimes. Eat meals at the same time every day, even it’s just a small snack.
- EXERCISE EVERY DAY! Walk, take a strength class or yoga, work out in the fitness center, or try something new and different.
As someone with 30 years of experience in health and fitness, I can assure you exercise is vital to re-establishing a healthy routine. You must fight for the life that you want! It’s not enough to say you’ll exercise three times a week. Mark your workouts on your calendar as you would any other appointment, even set a reminder on your phone.
Obsess less about the frequency and volume of exercise and focus instead on variety. Mix it up! Variety prevents overuse injuries caused by doing the same movement over and over again. Consider adding strength training to your cardio routine. Studies have shown individuals who do both aerobic and resistance training have a lower risk of obesity. Don’t stress about the length of your workout. Frequent, short sessions of movement work very well.
Release the all-or-nothing attitude and embrace good enough. The imperfect workout you complete is better than the perfect one you never started! Strategize what to do when your plans fall through. If you’re too tired for the 20-minute walk, do a shorter walk instead.
Finally, make each day a little different but always keep activity in it.
REMINDER: We are dealing with a virus that attacks the lungs. Exercise leads to more durable, resistant lungs to help fight the pandemic.
The Spy is pleased to welcome Susan Covey as a regular contributor to the Spy. She is the Fitness Director at Bayleigh Chase in Easton and has 30 years of experience in health and fitness. She was previously Director of Health and Fitness for about 20 of those years. Susan has a B.A. Sociology and is a certified senior fitness specialist, exercise therapy specialist and FallProof! instructor. She began at Bayleigh Chase as a personal trainer and continues to update her education to develop, modify and enhance her fitness program to keep older residents active and healthy.