By: ALFRED MORGAN
Gyms are closed and out of order, parks have tape around the perimeter, and basketball courts are closed off, leaving people wondering how to exercise and causing a good amount of people to give up on regular physical activity. Getting great exercise is still possible and is extremely beneficial, especially during times such as the pandemic when depression and anxiety are on the rise.
Exercise not only keeps the body healthy, but the mind as well. The isolation and decrease in social contact has made people feel lonely and being physically inactive only adds to that feeling. According to Sarah Gingell from Psychology Today, “exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable.” In simple terms, exercise can make you feel happier in general. She also states that “regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions—in part through better blood supply that improves neuronal health by improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients; and through an increase in neurotrophic factors and neurohormones that support neuron signaling, growth, and connections.” It truly seems that exercise is just as good for your mind as it is for the body, making it an essential in times of stress.
Physical activity can even help remedy already existing emotional issues such as depression. “On the treatment side, exercise appears to be as good as existing pharmacological interventions across a range of conditions, such as mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety, and even reduces cognitive issues in schizophrenia,” states Sarah. The benefits of exercise are truly shocking. Even if you might not be able to hit your bench press, barbell squats, or your favorite ab machine, there are plenty of ways to workout that don’t require anything but you.
Bodyweight exercises such as push ups, squats, sit ups, and lunges are great ways to workout your cardio and muscle at the same time. A simple routine with these exercises can help you maintain a healthy body and mind. You can find exercises for any main muscle group at the link here.
At the end of the day no matter how many places in public are closed off, it is still very possible to get a great workout in. Instead of using the pandemic as a way to avoid physical activity; use it as another reason to maintain your body and more importantly, your mind.