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This has been a challenging year to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic has had us isolated, sedentary and indoors, with many adults working from home and children e-learning. The social isolation and inactivity have been detrimental to our physical and mental well-being.
It’s time to get out of the house, off the sofa, away from the computer and outside. It is amazing how simply stepping outside into the fresh air can have a positive effect on one’s mind, body and spirit.
The American Council on Exercise recommends that children get cardiovascular exercise for 60 minutes each day and adults get 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.
If you do not know where to start, start by taking a walk. If all you can do is one lap around the block before getting exhausted, it’s better than nothing. As you begin to feel stronger, challenge yourself the next time by walking an extra block, and so on.
For those who enjoy running more than walking, go for that run. Again, if all you can do is run around the block once before getting tired, do not let that get you disappointed. The next time you go for a run, try going one extra block.
If you enjoy both running and walking, why not do both? Run for a few minutes and then walk for a few minutes.
How about going for a bike ride with your kids? Biking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and easy on the joints. When is the last time you used those roller blades? Brush off the dust and put them to use.
If you have a pool, swim some laps. What about that jump rope that has been sitting in the garage? Have some fun with your kids and jump rope with them.
Do not forget to add strength training exercises into your outdoor workouts. The American Council on Exercise recommends adults strength train at least twice a week.
All you need is yourself: think bodyweight exercises. For lower body, do squats, lunges, bridges and leg raises. For upper body, try pushups, planks, crunches and dips.
Take the kids to the park and use the playground as your outdoor gym. Is there a bench there? Do some step ups for your lower body. Are there monkey bars? Do some pullups for upper body. Try to do as many repetitions as you can with proper form until you feel like you can’t do anymore.
When you are all done with your outdoor workout, do not forget to stretch. Grab an exercise mat or a blanket, soak in some vitamin D and stretch those tired muscles. Add some stretches for your upper and lower body.
This past year, our physical and mental well-beings were tested. While still making sure to follow COVID-19 precautions, head outside and get moving. Your mind and body will thank you.
And remember, there is no such thing as a bad workout. The only bad workout is the one that was never done. Whether your workout is five minutes or five miles, it is always worth it.
Need help to meet your movement goal? A fitness specialist can help you develop a fitness program that works for you.
Drive your health forward at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.
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