For most of us, working from home during the pandemic means having a little extra time.
Since the journey is generally limited to 10 km, there is no rush, no traffic jams to fight, and no glasses to toast at social events.
While watching shows on streaming platforms and shopping online, others are taking the opportunity to spend more time with family, learn to cook, learn an old or new hobby, catch up on sleep, or jump on the sports train.
And since the situation is unlikely to change in the near future, people are still finding ways to adapt and cope.
If you don’t know what to do with this free time, you might want to schedule a few minutes of exercise or physical activity.
As I mentioned in my previous column, physical activity includes any movement, such as household or job duties, gardening, exercising, etc., that is not aimed at creating stress.
Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repeated with the ultimate goal of improving or maintaining physical fitness.
Don’t wait until the beginning of next year to start something.
Just 10 minutes
According to the American Psychological Association, an average of 93% of people make New Year’s resolutions.
The most common resolutions are more sport and fitness, lose weight, save money and eat healthier.
However, by February, 45% will have broken their resolutions and only 19% will stay for two years.
Lack of willpower or self-control was the most common reason given for non-compliance.
Newcomers to the sport often struggle with attachment problems and drop out when life becomes challenging.
It is only natural to sign out or hesitate when there is something you don’t enjoy doing or your body is in pain.
Try to plan your activities so that at the end of the session you feel a sense of achievement (you don’t need a fitness tracker to count steps).
To accomplish something always gives a person a feeling of satisfaction.
The amount of time you spend exercising or exercising can vary depending on the type of activity you are doing, so there really is no such thing as a “perfect” length for it.
Hence, it is important that you schedule your workouts to make sure you get the most benefits without overdoing things.
Some people schedule an hour, others a few minutes, and the stubborn hours.
More is not necessarily better in this context, as long hours can actually set you back.
Allow at least 10 minutes a day to follow a consistent routine.
This can be as simple as swinging your arms, marching in place, or walking around your room.
Repeating the action allows your brain to get used to it until it finally stops feeling like a chore.
It becomes a habit and you stick with it.
Even the busiest people can find 10 minutes to spare.
Put on two or three of your favorite songs and do your activity.
You will be surprised how quickly the 10 minutes go by when you hear melodies that perk you up.
Consistency and calm
The best workouts are those that can be done anytime, anywhere without a lot of equipment and at minimal cost.
Any activity or exercise program is only effective if you stick to it, and one factor that affects this is comfort and accessibility.
A workout that you can do 24/7 from the comfort of your home is one that you are in control and can dictate the terms of instead of your local gym.
The only downside is that it takes discipline and dedication.
A gym has numerous fitness classes you can take, so you get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each time.
However, if you prefer to work on machines and dumbbells, you may not achieve everything you intend as you will often take breaks or meet a friend and start chatting between machines.
So you can spend hours in the gym, but in reality it only took 30 minutes to actually work on your body.
You feel guilty and come back the next day, and that cycle continues.
Remember that when you’re exercising hard – especially if you’re working on strength or strength training to build strength – your body needs time off to rest and build up again.
In fact, while exercising hard, while releasing the stress hormones, it creates other stresses and micro-tears in the muscle fibers.
It can cause the immune system to collapse for up to 72 hours.
If you don’t give your body a day or two of rest between sessions, it won’t be able to repair the microcracks to strengthen the muscles.
Also, tiredness could make you angry, irritable, or depressed.
If you have a heart rate monitor, watch your heart rate at rest.
If it suddenly increases, it is a sign that your body is under stress.
A normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
In general, a lower heart rate at rest means more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.
Seek help if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) or if you are not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 bpm (bradycardia), especially if you have other signs or symptoms such as fainting, dizziness, or Shortness of breath.
Intensity and immunity
Most of the data available shows a positive association between exercise and changes in the immune system.
But the “dose” of exercise is important.
When moderate exercise takes less than 45-60 minutes, there are both short-term and long-term benefits.
“There is general consensus that regular short (i.e., up to 45 minutes) moderate intensity exercise is beneficial for host immune defenses, particularly in older adults and people with chronic illness,” researchers write in a 2020 study which was published in Review of Exercise Immunology.
At the same time, many researchers in the field of exercise immunology believe that repetitive, strenuous, and high-intensity exercise sessions lasting more than two hours can affect the immune system.
Additionally, they have observed that there may be an increased antibody-specific response if vaccinations are preceded by a single moderate exercise, although more research is needed to fully understand these benefits.
With some parks now open, depending on your level of comfort, you can recruit an exercise partner for a leisurely stroll, brisk stroll, or jogging.
Just remember to stay at least 2 m apart.
There are many benefits to having a training partner, from the social element to increased responsibility in showing up and getting work done.
Having an outdoor environment where you can see others exercise too can give you continued motivation to do the same.
Your single “dose” doesn’t have to be long or intense – do what you can because you will still get some benefits.
There’s no point in spending 45 minutes doing a routine or chores that you don’t like.
So take your time, but take at least 10 minutes a day.
Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to fight gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and to nourish her soul. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The information in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author give any guarantee for the correctness, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances of this information. The star and the author disclaim any responsibility for loss, damage to property or personal injury arising directly or indirectly from reliance on this information.