Healthy lifestyles during the current crisis require something beyond commitment. During the Global Pandemic, creating a life rhythm that provides necessary physical benefits requires a certain amount of creativity. Where it used to be easy to don workout gear and head for our favorite gym where our favorite machine waited reliably like a sentry, now many are faced with the reality of how to work out with limited social exposure. Has Social Distancing caused the inner couch potato in us to grow roots? Does COVID-19 have to refer to the number of pounds gained because the gym is closed? Fortunately, zero does not have to be our new reality.
Given social distancing guidelines across the nation, many gyms, dance studios, and fitness centers have offerings that allow for vigorous movement while still maintaining relative safety. Many people are resorting to exercise either in-home, virtually, or using alternate fitness methods. Stories have emerged of apartment residents measuring the distance of their hallways and creating a walking track within their complex. MommyPoppins.com recommends building an indoor obstacle course for children. Regardless of method, the important part of these many ideas is to get moving and keep moving.
Here are some theories that are currently being researched regarding physical fitness and personal immunity.
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
- Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells which are are the body's immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. However, no one knows whether these changes help prevent infections.
- Exercise slows the release of stress hormones thus decreasing the chance of illness.
In terms of physical fitness, the Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity to provide sufficient calorie burn. According to the Mayo Clinic, vigorous physical activity can include such activities as running and aerobic dancing. Moving to music has been shown to enhance physical, mental, and emotional health even more. In a 2011 Harvard study, 134 men and women who were at risk of falling were randomly assigned to a program that trained them to walk and move to music. “At the end of six months, the ‘dancers’ exhibited better balance than their peers — and they also experience 54% fewer falls.”
Fitness centers are beginning to reopen. Virtual workouts are the newest spike in the fitness industry. And the coming of spring brings new opportunities to spend time walking, running, jumping, and dancing. It’s true that the terms “social” and “distance” are almost mutually exclusive, but the terms “music” and movement go nearly hand-in-hand. Never has the phrase “March to the beat of your own drum” meant more to the human race. Whether your marching, walking, or dancing, this is the time to get up, get out of the house, look around, and step to the music. The life you save could be your own!