While many of us are still spending much of our time at home until the world completely re-opens, it’s important not to neglect our health, which means staying physically fit to the best of our ability. In this post, we’ll detail the benefits of exercise at home, provide guidance on the types of back and cardio exercises that can be safely done at home and note where to get additional help from a medical professional if you want assistance crafting a personalized exercise plan.
Benefits of Working Out at Home
Our quality of life can be negatively impacted by long periods of sedentary behavior. Because so many of us are still confined to our homes and moving a lot less than we were before the pandemic began, it’s vital to incorporate physical activities into our day.
The World Health Organization recommends either 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or a combination of both. There doesn’t need to be any special equipment involved to achieve this, just the space and time to complete it. The best part is that it can all be done in the comfort and convenience of our own homes without spending any money, and it can provide a necessary boost to our immune systems in these uncertain times. Furthermore, there’s the added luxury of privacy and the prevention of the spread of germs.
In addition, being physically active is especially good for our mental health. Strength-training has been proven to lessen anxiety; moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is linked to increases in self-esteem, improvements in sleep and concentration and the reduction of depression.
Types of Back Exercises
Our backs are especially vulnerable to pain when we’re sitting for long periods of time in one position, as we often do at our desks throughout the workday. Try these exercises to prevent back pain and strengthen muscles.
With your tailbone and back on the mat at all times, lie with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach, put your hands behind your back and raise your shoulders off the floor as you breath out. Hold this position for a second, then slowly return your shoulders to the floor. Be sure not to do a full “sit-up” as this can actually put pressure on the discs in your spine. Repeat this at least eight times.
Bend one knee as you lie on your back. Loop a scarf or towel under the ball of your foot, then straighten your leg and slowly tug on the towel. Hold for at least 15 seconds, but no longer than 30. This should stimulate a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Repeat twice on each leg and add repetitions as your legs become more flexible, but be sure not to add them too soon.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, while the other foot remains flat on the floor. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor, and hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds. Slowly lower your knee and repeat with the other leg. Repeat this 2 to 4 times for each leg.
Types of Cardio Exercises
Cardio exercises are essential for good health, as they make your blood pump faster by increasing your heart rate. This delivery of oxygen throughout your body helps protect your heart and lungs and can lessen your risk for chronic disease. Try these exercises to get a regular dose of necessary cardio.
From a sitting position on the floor, bend your knees as your feet remain flat. Place your hands under your shoulders with fingers pointing forward. Next, lift your hips off the floor and walk backwards using your arms and legs as your weight is evenly distributed. Walk a comfortable distance, then turn around and return to your original spot.
Stand tall with your legs together and arms resting at your sides. Bend your knees, then jump and spread your legs wider than your shoulders, lifting your arms above your head, then jump back in to bring your legs together. Repeat 10 times until you build up to more repetitions.
Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and slowly lower to a squat. Next, swing your arms back and then as you swing them upward, jump at the same time. Land slowly back into your squat. Repeat 5 times until you build up to more repetitions.
Visit Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice
At Western Washington Medical Group, our Family Practice team can help you develop a safe exercise plan at your fitness level to keep you physically active during the pandemic. Visit this page to schedule an appointment today. For more general health inquiries, fill out the form on this page.