Fitness Tips For The Family During Quarantine

It’s already a struggle for people to stay fit during regular times. Community quarantines and social distancing make it even harder for families to partake in their favorite activities. However, even COVID-19 isn’t an excuse to let your physical fitness slide.

A healthier body means that you’re less likely to catch the infection and suffer complications if you do get it. As the pandemic goes on, learn how to keep your family in top shape!

Only Go Outside If It’s Safe

Experts recommend around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Most people prefer to spend this time through outdoor activities, such as running trails or cycling to work.

However, COVID-19 has pushed many communities to enact social distancing measures to keep people indoors and slow down transmission rates of the virus.

Of course, local conditions may vary. If you’re fortunate to be in a sparsely populated area, it might be fine to go out once in a while. Before venturing out, check with local regulations to see if community members are allowed to go out for non-urgent matters like exercise.

Being outside increases the variety of activities that your family can do together. However, don’t let your guard down.

Avoid crowded areas and always keep a distance of several feet from other people to prevent inhalation of any infectious droplets. Wear face masks to reduce infection risks further.

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Be Creative

What if you can’t go out? Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean that you’re unable to stay fit. The key lies in being creative enough to give your body ample physical exertion.

For example, many bodyweight exercises require nothing more than floor space and your body. You can also use everyday objects to modify exercise difficulty. If your child is having trouble with floor push-ups, have them do inclined push-ups on a sturdy chair or table.

Nearly any physical movement can qualify as exercise if done vigorously enough. As examples, sweeping the floor or wiping the windows can help you and your family burn as many calories.

Consider hosting a competition to see who gets to do the most chores. Your family will get a lot of physical activity, and your house will be cleaner, it’s a win-win situation.

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Introduce Variety

It’s understandable for parents to insist that everyone gets regular exercise, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic. However, repeating the same activities will eventually lead to boredom, no matter how exciting at first.

A crucial part of compliance is to keep people interested since losing motivation can easily lead to adopting a sedentary lifestyle.

Make sure that family members get to try out different activities. Again, this aspect of fitness is where you’ll need to be creative, given the limited opportunities during the pandemic.

Allow Kids To Make Plans

COVID-19 can make everyone feel powerless. The perceived lack of control over what’s happening can hit children the hardest. Without intervention, this mindset can make it difficult for healthy habits, like exercise, to take hold.

A great way to empower children is to give them control over how they live each day. One approach is to involve them whenever the family makes exercise plans. Better yet, allow your kids to make their plans, including what activities to do and when to do them.

With this approach, children will be able to choose activities that they want, leading to increased interest. Allowing them to work on their exercise schedules also increases their confidence and helps them develop their planning skills.

Track Your Activities

It’s easy to be fooled by what you feel—for example, getting sore muscles after a workout does not necessarily mean that the exercise was intense enough.

Meanwhile, people may feel fine after a workout even though they might be using improper techniques that can eventually lead to injury.

Tracking your family activities is crucial in your fitness journey. Even something as simple as jotting down exercise days on a notepad can already be helpful.

There are fitness apps that can give you useful information, such as calories burned. More specialized mobile apps also exist for specific activities, such as yoga and circuit training. You can even buy wearables that can track your movements and measure your heart rate.

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Do It Together

Finally, make sure to do activities together as a family. Many of the benefits of exercise are due to the bonding that it promotes among family members. 

In these stressful times, we need to form reliable support systems to help each other face problems. The COVID-19 pandemic provides an uncommon scenario for you to become closer to your loved ones, so make sure to grab this opportunity. 

According to Samoon Ahmad, M.D., “Regular exercise may strengthen individuals’ immune systems. While a healthy immune system is always important, it has become invaluable during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Make sure to protect your family by building a fun and healthy relationship with exercise and remember that exercise can be a powerful tool to develop resistance against COVID-19.

 

Basic Exercise Tools You Need While Quarantined

Since I did not hear the quarantine news immediately, I had no choice but to stay alone in my apartment. I could have booked a flight to my home state—Minnesota—but I was unsure if I was coronavirus-free, so I was merely self-isolated for everyone’s sake.

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During my isolation, I missed plenty of things, such as my work, colleagues, parents, and restaurants. What I missed the most, though, was the gym that I went to five out of seven times a week. I became friends with the instructors and other gym rats there, so it felt odd not to see them for a while. Of course, I worried about gaining too much weight since I could not even go for a run at the park.

Nonetheless, it was a short-lived worrying phase because I found out that I only needed three exercise tools at home. Allow me to share them below.

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Yoga Mat

The first must-have tool is a yoga mat.

Hear me out on this, okay? A lot of people think that yoga is a fad and ineffective or an absolute waste of time. I do not support that opinion, but I am not writing this to try to change your mind. We live in the land of the free, so you can believe whatever you want to believe. Despite that, you need to realize that a yoga mat can have multiple purposes.

When I stretch, for instance, I place a yoga mat between my body and the cold floor. It is also useful for bodyweight exercises or Pilates, as it will not easily slip under your feet. Best of all, it takes up less than three feet of floor space, so the mat can be used even in tiny apartments.

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Dumbbells

Dumbbells do not need to be found in gyms alone. It is unnecessary to become a fitness instructor or anything to buy them. Otherwise, they won’t be available in marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.

Investing in dumbbells is a smart choice if you wish to stay fit while quarantining because you can use them as alternatives for exercises that used to require other equipment. Say, do you miss the lat pull-down or cable machine? Get two dumbbells of equal weights—close to the weights you pull at the gym—and mimic the way you utilize either. Trust me; you will get the muscle burn that you are looking for by doing so.

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Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are those colorful straps that typically come in a set of four or five. Once you receive them, they look more like stretchy latex belts than anything. However, looks can always be deceiving, considering they vary in resistance levels, and each can make you think that spending a day in the gym may be easier than using them.

The first time I tried resistance bands, it was for a bodyweight routine that I had been doing for a week. I didn’t feel challenged by it, and so a friend recommended the bands she was using, which was killing her quads, glutes, abs, and everything else. As overconfident as I was, I placed the extra-heavy one around my thighs before doing squats, and I ended up being unable to open my legs.

It felt like trying to push massive dumbbells with my thighs! I quickly learned my lesson, started with the least resistant band and worked my way up there. Now, I get to use the resistance bands for any home exercise I can think of.

 

The best thing about having these basic exercise tools at home is that you will not need to go out to workout. Order them at once and stay in shape while being safe. Good luck!

 

Physical Benefits Of Running The Marathon

 

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The Dallas Marathon, the host of the 2019 Marathon Event, succeeded in advertising health and physical fitness by organizing a series of running activities. The non-profit organization has been hosting 5-person marathon relays, 50K ultra-marathons, kids’ races, half marathons, and mile races for the past few years. Participants of the yearly marathon are lucky to see the city’s most colorful neighborhoods, great restaurants, and famous Dallas tourist spots. Spectators fill the Dallas streets a few hours before the BMW Dallas Marathon Day begins. The event has become one of the most important highlights of the year.

Below are some of the physical benefits of running the marathon.

It improves physical and mental health. Running regularly keeps the heart strong and increases one’s aerobic capacity. It also improves blood pressure and reduces cholesterol levels. The immune system is boosted as overall body strength is also increased. Additionally, long runs force the body to build strength on the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for combatting body fatigue.

It tones the thighs and legs. The typical goal of marathon runners is to lose weight, but in reality that isn’t always the result. And although weight loss is not visible, the toned thighs and legs are quite apparent – a sign of fat loss and more lean muscle mass.

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Sleep gets better. If you ask any marathoner, no one will say that it’s not exhausting. It is very energy depleting and the body will soon crave sleep earlier than your usual bedtime. Sleep is longer and better.

You’ll be in great shape. Marathon is a challenging feat and it breaks even the most physically fit athlete. So if the athlete is determined to be the best runner, he will train for it rough and hard so he won’t break. It takes a lot of sweat and muscle to reach the finish line in one piece.

You can eat a little more without feeling guilty. Long runs eat up a lot of calories, so it’s fine to indulge in a cup of ice cream after training. Perhaps you want some yummy burgers after a competition. Maybe you can get a bite of a double-decker, but only because you worked hard for it. It’s true what they say – burgers CAN be guilt-free!

 

 

5 Ways Running Provides Mental Therapy

Most people have always viewed running as a way to lose weight. Some would have this as their daily exercise routine with hopes of achieving both their ideal body shape and healthy lifestyle. While this is very true, there is less emphasis on the impact of running on a person’s mental state. Running, though it may be a physical exercise, does not make it less of mental activity.

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Everyone runs for a particular reason – may it be your morning warm-up, leisure time with friends, or an actual competitive sport. For day 1, you may do brisk walking first if the actual run is too tiring. For day 2, you can go halfway. 50% of the time you brisk walk then 50% you run. Then on day 3, maybe you can start running the entire lap already. But what is it that keeps you going?

It Encourages You To Focus On A Goal

A significant part of this running progression is your state of mind. Incremental, day-by-day progress allows you to focus on a goal one at a time. Running helps you develop the concentration and determination to move forward, so you are more likely to avoid distractions along the way. It gives you a whole new perspective towards your daily routine and rejuvenates you when you feel like life’s errands have become too overwhelming.

It Boosts Your Self-Esteem

In studies involving adolescents and overweight kids, those who were able to run more laps at a faster pace experienced growth in their morale. It is anchored on the usual human tendency to feel more self-assured when meeting goals.

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Observing an improvement in your body shape, having that feeling of being healthier after burning the calories, and realizing that you feel a lot lighter (physically and emotionally) gives you a confidence boost and a sense of accomplishment.

It Eases Feelings Of Depression

When you run, the brain is said to release beta-endorphins which are neurotransmitters from the pituitary gland which reduce pain, boost the immune system, and bring an overall sense of well being. 

 

As compared to morphine, these have 80 times more pain-relieving effect. That’s why many call them as “miracle” compounds. Also, running increases the concentrations of norepinephrine which temper the brain’s response to stress. Running allows you to break free from the things that weigh you down and let you feel that you’re alive.

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It Squeezes Your Creative Juices

In particular studies as well, there have been pieces of evidence pointing to the correlation of running with higher levels of creative thinking ability. The mental boost that happens when you run also allows you to think of new ideas and to widen your imagination. 

 

Since you are in a more peaceful state, you are more able to think of things apart from the usual and routinary. It occurs because running encourages the growth of new cells and improves the survival rate of these new cells via the hippocampus. This part of the brain is responsible for storing memory, imagining the future, and thinking creatively.

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It Provides A Sense Of Freedom

While you may think that running can allow you to run from danger physically, there is also something that happens with the brain when you run that relates to your problems. That feeling of the wind hitting your face and blowing your hair. That feeling of being able to control your direction. And that feeling that you can run as fast as you wish. 

 

All these ideas create a liberating sense in your mind that somehow you have the key to escape the problem you’re in right now. Although it is not the only solution you need for your troubles, the sense of freedom brings you new strength to face each day’s trials.

 

So the next time you think of preceding your morning run, think twice. You may never know the wonderful effects of running on your mental state. It might be the right motivation you need to keep going on with life.