Gym closures and schedule upsets due to the pandemic have made achieving exercise goals even more challenging for many people. However, because of all the additional stressors we're facing, it's more important than ever to prioritize your physical and mental health. The following tips may help:
Plan ahead. Create a schedule and map out when you would like to incorporate exercise into your week. You can also plan the type of exercise you would like to do in advance. Planning in advance introduces accountability and can increase your motivation.
Keep it short. If your free time is limited, take a brisk 10-15 minute walk during breaks at work or school. Studies have found the same improvement on mental health conditions even when study participants break up their exercise sessions into several smaller exercise periods.
Make exercise a social activity. Take a family walk after dinner, or ask a friend if they would like to join you for an outdoor workout where you can continue to maintain physical distance. This helps decrease social isolation and helps build your support network, which is crucial for those dealing with depression and anxiety.
Choose exercises that you enjoy. Studies suggest that any form of moderate exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety. If you don’t have access to a gym/exercise equipment, dancing, gardening, and even activities like housework such as sweeping, or mopping can get elevate your heart rate and stimulate endorphin release.
Change up your exercise routine often. Repeating the same types of exercise can get boring. It may take a little creativity during the pandemic, but see if you can find a new hike to explore or a bike path that you've been meaning to try.
Be consistent. Introducing exercise into your routine can be difficult at first, but the more you exercise, the more likely it will become a part of your lifestyle!