Social distancing due to COVID-19 can make someone’s life become limited. Not only they can’t go outside to socialize, but their movement is also small. Work becomes work from home. They are going to school to study from home. People are encouraged to stay inside. And only go outside if it’s really necessary.
All of this due to Coronavirus that changes our way of life. We can’t go outside like we used to. We can’t go to the gym to exercise, can’t go to the malls to shop or watch movies, or even dine outside.
This pandemic is becoming not only a risk for someone’s physical health but also mental health. These diseases bring a whole lot of fear and worry to many people. Every minute, every second, we are hit by many news and information about covid19, whether it’s from TV, social media, and the internet.
Fear of having covid19 can also raise someone’s stress level. This could lead to psychosomatic, where someone thinks they have the symptoms because they worry too much. Besides that, the feeling of helplessness, stuck and trapped because of this pandemic also can worsen someone’s feelings. This could lead to anxiety or, even worse, depression.
Can Exercise Fight off Stress and Depression?
The good news is yes. Based on a study that is done by the Black Dog Institute in a mental ward in New South Wales, Australia, depression can be fought using exercise. The result shows that people who don’t exercise have a 44% chance of having depression than people who do exercise daily.
Health is wealth is the old cliché that is now hunting us. You don’t have to be a gym buff, but it is an ideal time to start giving value to your health. Instead of contemplating on the lockdown, why not start your health regimen now? Take advantage of the time you kept reasoning out that you don’t have for a workout.
Here are daily exercise benefits for your mental health
Increase concentration and focus
Doing physical activity such as exercise can increase your focus and ability to think and learn. Studies have shown that aerobic combined with workout can increase concentration.
Lower stress level and fight off depression
People who work as medical workers are at a high risk of developing depression or stress and post-trauma because of the stigma that goes when they do and in contact with covid19 patients. Depression and anxiety can lead to other worse things if left untreated.
Exercise daily at least one hour can lower your stress hormones level, known as cortisol. And at the same time, exercise also raises your happy hormones or endorphins. This can help to fight off depression.
When you work out daily, your stamina, strength, and body skills are increasing. When that energy and new enthusiasm comes from physical activity turns to boost your self-confidence, you will realize you will also become more productive.
Exercise As Mood Booster
If you want to feel that relaxation feeling and a boost of happiness, then exercise is the answer. Due to the circuit breaker, you can find exercise at home. These exercises can produce endorphin hormones that give you a happy feeling.
Improves The Quality of Sleep
Stress and depression can disturb your sleep cycle. By doing exercise daily, you can improve the quality of your sleep. You can sleep better and fall asleep faster.
Maintain Ideal Body Weight
Daily exercise is also recommended by Centers Prevention of Disease Control to maintain ideal body weight. Having perfect body weight not only benefits your physical health but mental health as well.
What Happens To Your Mental Health When You Exercise
Basically, there are psychological feelings that arise from hormones in your body that are produced when you do exercise. First of all, exercise will trigger the production of serotonin hormones that benefit your mental health. It also produces endorphin or happy hormones and lowers cortisol or stress hormones in your body.
Doing daily exercise also triggers neurotransmitter norepinephrine in your brain that can help to boost your mood. We know you probably can’t go to the gym to exercise. Still, there are plenty of exercises that can be done at home and only need simple preparations.
Why Do You Need to Stay Active?
The COVID-19 Pandemic is limiting your activities outdoor. It means less social interaction and exercise or worse, none at all. It has a substantial negative impact on your health, physically and mentally.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an adult aged 18 – 64 need to have 150 minutes of moderate to intense workout a week. It is easy to achieve this when you can go out. You can briskly walk, run, hike, swim — but not right now.
Having a healthy body and a sound mind will give you tons of benefits. You do this by keeping yourself busy and physically active.
- When you are physically active at home, your screen time is less. Doctors are worried about the screen time we spent. According to psychologists, the USA has an adult population that spent 9 ½ hours a day for screen time. Take note, its pre-coronavirus. There is a possibility that the number doubled as of today. Too much screen time gives stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
- When you are active today, you are less susceptible to the COVID-19. Being physically active is being healthy. Your immune system is sound gives you the armor you need against it.
- The more physically active you are, the less stress you can get. Stress can be the culprit of all diseases. You name it: hypertension, diabetes, cancer — all these can are trigger by stress.
What do you need to stay fit? We divide it into two parts: Exercise and Meditate. According to Translational Psychology, a combination of exercise and meditation helps reduce anxiety and depression by 40%.
Author Brandon Alderman Ph.D. saw that its benefits for both ‘clinically depressed and non-depressed students.’ These students underwent two months of 30 minutes of exercise and 30 minutes of meditation.
What You Will Need for home exercise
- Yoga Mat
- Yoga Ring Band / Yoga Pull Rope
- OPTIONAL: Exercise Ball (Or Stability Ball) (You can click for more Exercise Ball Workout)
Yoga Ring Band Workout
Performing this workout will improve your flexibility and relaxation. You can stretch to your level of comfort. Don’t forget to do warm-ups first.
To do this, put your yoga mat and lie on it. Loop the band on your right foot. Grab onto the band closer. Pull your leg towards you gently while keeping both hips on the mat. Gently pull the right leg towards you and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
Inner Thigh Stretch
Still on the laying position on your mat. Loop the band on your right foot and grab it with your hand. Lower the leg out to your side and towards the floor until you feel your thigh stretch. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds before the switching side.
Lying Hip Stretch
Lie on the yoga mat. Loop the band on your right foot and grab onto the bands with the opposite hand. Straighten your left leg and lower the right leg across the body. Hold it for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Upper back stretch
Sit on your yoga mat with your legs extended and loop the band around both feet. Cross it and grab onto each side. Gently curl the back and stretch towards your end. Keep your abs contracted and focus on trying not to collapse over the legs. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.
Sit on your yoga mat with a cross-legged position and grip the band with both hands and stretch it apart by gently pulling your arms out. Do it as low as you can to stretch the chest.
Sit on your yoga mat with a cross-legged position. Hold the band on one side with your left hand. And reach the arm towards the right. Keep your torso straight. Pull and stretch to create tension on the left side of the waist. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on another side.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
The last move is more advanced, you have to practice the other moves first until you reach certain flexibility.
First, step on your yoga mat and move your right leg bent in front of you. And your left leg bent in behind you. And then loop the yoga band around the top of a left foot. Lean-to the right and use the band to pull the heel to stretch the front of your thigh. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat on the other sides.
Yoga Mat Workout
You can do a total body workout using a yoga mat other than the yoga itself.
Pilates is a workout that combines strength, flexibility, and cardio. It can fix your posture and make it better, make your joints more robust, and also good for mental health as well. If you are a fan of pilates, you can use your yoga mat for it. Add a stability ball or yoga exercise ball, or you can choose to use your body weight.
Push up is the easiest total body workout you can do on your yoga mat. You basically don’t need anything other than your strong will and strength. Once you master it, you can even do one arm push up, clapping push up, or the place push-up! If you are up for the challenge, try as many as you can. Or do 3 sets of 30 repetitions for each workout.
Sit-ups can be considered a multi-muscle exercise; it is right for your abs muscles. To perform this, lie on your yoga mat. Bend both of your legs and place your feet on the ground. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place your hands behind your ears. Curl your upper body up toward your knees.
Lower yourself down and repeat. Do as many as you can or just do 20 reps x 3 per work out.
Crunches are useful to help you build abdominal muscles. This is popular for people trying to get a six-pack. Even though it’s a bit similar to sit-up, it’s different. When you do crunches, you should lift your head and shoulder blades from the ground. Don’t curl your body up toward the knees like a sit-up.
Stand with your feet shoulder length apart on the yoga mat. Put your hands in front of you or behind your head. Lower yourself in a squat position. Keep your back straight and do it 20 reps x 3 each workout.
To do this, start in a raised push up position on your mat. Bring your leg toward your chest and return it back as you pull the other. Do these between 20 reps x 3 for each workout.
This exercise may look easy, but it’s not that easy to do. Put yourself in a raised push up position on your yoga mat. And try to hold that position for 1-2 minutes.
Dumbbells Full Body Workout
The last workout needs a pair of dumbbells to get your ideal body. As long as you commit to doing these at least three times a week, you might see the results in just a few weeks.Dumbbell exercises can provide you a great full-body workout.
Stand with feet hip-width apart on the yoga mat. Make sure both of your toes are facing forward. Place the dumbbells at your sides and shift your hips back. Slightly bend your knees and lower the dumbbells. Keep your spine straight while you lower the weight and come back up to standing. Do these at least 20 reps.
Clean and press
Get on the position on your yoga mat with the dumbbell on each side of your hand. Move upward to standing position and pull the dumbbells up. Do these at least 20 reps. There is plenty of press you can try with dumbbell: floor press, bench press.
Also, dumbbell raises with several positions like bent over, sitting, or while standing up. Other than that, you can also do squats, sit up, and push-ups using dumbbells. You can even do lunges and twist using dumbbells.
If you just started exercising, always remember to do warm-ups and pick the dumbbells with the weight you can tolerate. Don’t forget to breathe and rest.
Exercise and keep fit at home!
So that’s why it’s important for you to exercise even when you are quarantined. Being quarantined doesn’t mean you should do nothing at all. One of the things you can do to maintain your health is by doing exercise. Not only it’s good for your physical health. It also benefits your mental health as well. CDC recommends us to exercise at least 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes per week.
Mental health is as important as physical health. Your quality of life and physical health also depends on your mental health.