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During this time of quarantines and imposed exile from the bustle of work and shopping, as well as the excitement and the entertainment of social gatherings, restaurants, and other establishments, people now find themselves living in rather frustrating and dull confinement. Since they cannot work off their tensions at a health club or gym, or relax at a restaurant or a nightclub, what can people do to relieve the stress of imposed confinement and changes in their daily lives while also trying not to gain weight from being sedentary?

Fitness in the Time of Quarantine

“Trying to preserve some sense of normalcy is really important for people’s well-being,” advises one pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. Health. So, despite the limitations on activities outside the home, there are in-home actions in which people can engage that will help them maintain their physical fitness, along with relieving stress. Of course, many people own exercise equipment such as treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical trainers. But, for those who have not invested in exercise equipment, there are still exercises they can do at home without incurring expenses.

Benefits to exercising during the quarantines are several:

  • Exercising releases endorphins, improving people’s moods.
  • Exercising burns up calories, preventing weight gain from imposed sedentary conditions.
  • Exercising leaves people with the feeling that they have accomplished something positive
  • Exercising relieves boredom
  • Exercising can engage family members with each other
  • Exercising helps sustain immune function

One physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, Dani Johnson, encourages people who are confined to their homes to engage in aerobic activity for 75 minutes per week. Doing so will help both their physical and mental health. While they watch television, family members can do squats, especially at commercial times. While washing dishes or wiping counters, people can do heel raises. Then, while waiting for the dryer to stop, they can do side bends and squats. Push-ups or lifting objects of equal weight in each hand (Try using laundry detergent bottles or lighter water bottles) can be done while someone is waiting on the microwave to heat or cook. Everyone can dance to music. Games can be created that include jumping, jogging in place, and skipping. Activities can be done outside in the yard for sun exposure that will increase vitamin D. For weight-resistance exercises, people can improvise with books or something weighted with which to do squats. Parents or older children can lift the family’s smaller children up and down, or carry the children piggy-back.