With remote work and school, fitness may have fallen to the wayside for many people. Without a commute, many of us have more hours in the day – but overall, people are more sedentary without going into an office or school. Potential effects of these lifestyle changes could be weight gain, stiff joints and aches and pains – not to mention feeling down in the dumps from a lack of physical activity.
No matter your age, getting enough physical activity is an important part of feeling your best – physically and mentally. It aids in weight loss and weight control, builds strength and flexibility, and helps increase energy. It can also strengthen your immune system and lower your risk for health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. As far as mental health benefits, physical activity can lead to an increase in happiness and mental clarity while decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.
The amount of exercise needed to reap these benefits is different for adults and kids. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week. Kids should get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise daily.
Tips for Adults
Even on the busiest days, it’s possible to squeeze in enough physical activity. Here are some tips for adults to move more:
- Schedule your exercise – Adding workouts to your schedule makes it more likely you’ll get them done. Try exercising in the mornings – that way your workout will be done and out of the way before the rest of the day’s work begins.
- Get up every hour to move – At the start of every hour, get up and take a quick 5-10 minute walk. You’ll feel refreshed and energized when you get back to work.
- Add small movements throughout the day – Small, consistent efforts add up to big changes over time. Try marching in place while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes. You can also park further away when you go to the store or take the stairs instead of an elevator.
- Do bodyweight exercises – You don’t need fancy equipment to get in a good workout. All you need is your own body weight. Try doing body weight squats, lunges, planks, pushups, triceps dips and mountain climbers.
- Stand or walk during virtual meetings or conference calls – These days, most meetings are virtual. Instead of sitting for the duration of the meeting, get up and walk around or march in place.
Tips for Kids
For kids, the most important thing is to make exercise fun so it doesn’t seem like a chore. Here are a few ideas:
- Make exercise part of the daily routine – Kids thrive on routine so making exercise part of their day is one of the easiest ways to make sure it gets done. Try having your kids go outside for some backyard playtime every day after eating lunch. Another option is taking a family walk together every evening before or after dinner.
- Play games that encourage movement – Remember old school games like Simon Says? If you’re leading the game, include physical movements such as jumping jacks, jogging in place and balancing on one foot. Other ideas are playing Duck Duck Goose or Monkey in the Middle.
- Have a family dance party – This one works especially well with older children and teens. Let your kids or teens pick the music and get your groove on as a family.
- Try new exercises together –Have younger kids try exercises such as mountain climbers or burpees. Older kids might enjoy trying a new type of workout, such as Zumba or even TRX.
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers offer land and aquatic group exercise classes that can help people of all abilities improve their fitness. Our fitness centers are open and provide a variety of cardiovasular and strength equipment to help people stay active and improve or maintain their overall health.