Staying active while social distancing may look and feel different from your familiar go-to workout routine. The usual trip to the gym or group exercise class isn’t accessible in the way that it used to be, and these abrupt daily changes may cause different reactions and feelings to arise — including a lack of motivation. But skipping out on daily movement all together can hinder your health and well-being.
CieCie Leonard, assistant director for fitness and wellness at The University of Texas at Austin Recreational Sports, says that continuing or starting an exercise routine during this time is not only beneficial for your physical health, it can improve your mood and performance in class or at work. “Getting up and moving can help reduce any additional stress, pain or stiffness that may be occurring from being at home, and it can increase energy and focus levels, which helps you show up as your best self.” We asked her to share some tips on how to stay active and motivated during these challenging times.
1. Find the right fit.
Spend some time reflecting on what physical activities you enjoy doing. Do you prefer walks around your neighborhood or high-intensity workouts? Do you have the most time and energy in the mornings or the evenings? Figuring out what works best for you and what makes you happy will help you stay consistent. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
2. Develop a routine and structure.
Depending on your schedule and goals, set aside 5, 10, 45 or 60 minutes a day to get moving. Make an appointment on your calendar, set an alarm on your phone or keep a journal that will help you make this time a priority.
3. Set small and realistic goals.
Meet your fitness abilities where they are. If you’re just beginning, this isn’t the time to overexert yourself. Listen to your body and start at a pace that feels good. If you’re a seasoned fitness fanatic, don’t underestimate yourself. Write down your goals and review them often to stay motivated.
4. Satisfy your mental and physical needs simultaneously.
By being at home, you’re probably walking much less than you’re used to. Try to combat this by satisfying your mental and physical needs at the same time. Call a friend or family member while walking around your neighborhood.
5. Find an accountability partner.
Having someone who can keep you accountable is so important right now. Work out with a loved one over video chat, join an online fitness challenge or send encouraging texts to your workout buddies. Simple words of encouragement can make all the difference.
However you choose to break a sweat, remember to grab some water and, most importantly, have some fun. It’s difficult times such as these when a little motivation and a lot of heart help us to keep moving.