How to Stay Active (Mentally and Physically) When Home

Much like what is happening around the rest of the world, social-distancing and staying home is an essential part of protecting ourselves and loved ones during this uncertain time. While we do our part during this COVID-19 pandemic, we might also find ourselves staying on top of the latest Netflix show or constantly refreshing a social media feed. 

Reducing screen time, however, can be a great way to keep you active, both mentally and physically during this quarantine. Check out these fun (and beneficial) ways to do it: 

Read a book

Let’s face it…these times are stressful! Escaping into a book and allowing yourself to become trapped in a different realm is a good way to distract yourself from everyday stressors. Whether you choose a fictional, non-fictional, or autobiographical book, studies show that reading can actually help slow the progression of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Alongside with these mental benefits, reading can also expand creativity, knowledge, and improve memory. 

Go on a walk

Take a break from staying indoors and go on a walk around your neighborhood. During this time, The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for those without any symptoms of diagnosis of acute respiratory illness. This recommendation can be distributed in 30 minute increments, five days a week. This weekly walking schedule can help improve circulation, cardiovascular and respiratory function, digestion, and studies show that sunlight exposure can increase the production of serotonin – a chemical responsible for regulating moods. Just remember to keep a safe distance (6 feet or more) from others. 

Have fun with puzzles 

Step away from puzzles that can be downloaded from an app and have fun with a physical jigsaw puzzle, which  is a good way to stimulate the mind and keep you entertained. In addition to the benefits of improving memory and decreasing stress levels, playing puzzles can actually help increase dopamine levels. Dopamine is a hormone that is responsible for regulating mood, increasing feelings of optimism, and can help improve concentration and motivation.

Do home workouts 

As most have experienced, sedentary activities are becoming more popular. With gyms and health clubs closed, getting in physical activity is becoming even more difficult. This is a great time to schedule new home workouts! Whether it’s an online yoga class, stretching, lifting weights, using home cardio equipment, or body weight exercises, doing home workouts can provide a variety of benefits. Working out can help control blood sugar levels, boost your metabolism, increase weight loss, and can help improve mood. Not to mention, working out at home is private and helps avoid “gym intimidation.” 

Play cards or board games

When we think of playing cards or board games, we often pick games that are fun to play. This is what makes this activity so beneficial…it’s fun! Preoccupying your mind with these fun activities is great to reduce stress levels, increase brain function, and reduce blood pressure. Not to mention, playing fun games can also increase your reasons to laugh. In addition to many other benefits, laughing can help boost your immunity. 

Stay virtually connected with friends! 

Let’s be real here, social-distancing can make us miss our friends and family and maybe scheduling in some screen time can actually be beneficial! Along with doing these activities that can help keep you active mentally and physically, scheduling time to sit and chat with your close friends can take a load off. Organize a virtual group hangout with your closest friends and enjoy a cup of coffee together!

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