Why You Need to Exercise Right Now

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 Let’s just get right to it: life is crazy uncertain now. If you are like me, you’ve found your life thrown upside down:  maybe you’re working from home (if at all) and if you’ve got kids they are now your 24 hour companions. You’re worried about going out into the world to get supplies and you might be on your last pack of TP (that was me earlier this week). And I bet the last thing on your mind is getting in a workout, but here’s 3 reasons you shouldn’t skip exercise, especially in times of crisis.

Exercise Reduces Stress

Anybody stressed right now? Just me? Stress can affect your entire body, and over time can negatively impact your health (see my post on stress for more info). The stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for the “flight or fight” response, is valuable for short periods of time, but can negatively affect our physical and mental health. Reducing cortisol is key for optimal health and less stress, which is possible with a regular exercise regimen. 

Exercise also leads to better sleep, which helps to reduce stress as well. 

Bonus: If you exercise first thing in the morning, those cortisol reducing benefits can keep you feeling good throughout your day, so get going! 

Exercise Boosts Your Immune System

When cortisol levels are high it lowers IgA (immunoglobulin A) antibodies. IgA provides an immune barrier that neutralizes and prevents viruses from entering the body, and is the body’s first line of defense against the flu and pneumonia. Exercise also boosts the amount of IgA antibodies your body makes, thereby giving the body’s immune system a boost, which we could all use right now. (For additional ways to boost your immune system, check out my last post). 

Exercise Combats Depression

You might not know this (I didn’t until last year), but exercise seems to be as effective in combating depression than any other pharmaceutical drug on the market. 

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killing and mood boosting hormone. When you’re regularly active, your body produces more endorphins, and you end up feeling your best. In addition to releasing endorphins, the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are also released during exercise, and they improve your mood and well being as well. 

How Often Should You Exercise

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week  (that’s 30 minutes a day 5 days a week), and strength activities at least 2 days a week. Sadly, less than 30% of adults are getting enough exercise. The good news is, there are so many options when it comes to exercising – the key is to find one that works for you and stick with it. 

If you haven’t exercised in a while (or ever) you can start small and work your way up to the goal of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (check out my post on goal setting to help you set and reach your exercise goal).  One of the easiest ways to start exercising is walking – there are free walking workouts online if you can’t get outdoors. 

My absolute favorite exercise is Zumba – it’s a great workout and because it combines dance and fitness moves to great music, it doesn’t feel like exercise! While getting to a live class isn’t possible right now, you can dance with Zumba videos, games, or livestream – I’ll share links below as well as some of my other favorite workouts. 

If you’re feeling sick, please use caution when deciding to exercise. Be gentle on yourself – you only have one body, take good care of it! 

We will get through this – hopefully healthier than when we started. In the meantime, let’s get moving! Try some of the workouts I’ve shared below, and let me know what you’re doing to get your 30 minutes in everyday.

Workout Suggestions

Walk at Home Workout

I love Leslie Sansome’s workouts because they’re both easy to start and challenging. My mom introduced me to these workouts and I really love her attitude and style.

Zumba

I cannot say enough how much I love Zumba! Because of the Stay at Home orders in many places, Zumba instructors worldwide are teaching live classes online – I was not able to find a list of available classes but I will update this post as I see classes being offered. 

Amazon Prime members can watch free Zumba videos starring Zumba’s creator Beto Perez here

There are lots of free Zumba workouts on Youtube, but the quality varies. Here’s one I like There’s no cooldown, so you’ll have to spend a few minutes to cooldown, here’s a great one to try.

Blogilates

Cassey Ho has created an amazing fitness program called Pop Pilates, combining cardio, pilates movements, and pop music. While I don’t completely agree with her focus on getting a great body and weight loss, I think her workouts are fabulous. They’re challenging yet doable and it’s a total body workout.  

Yoga

I recently found Kino MacGregor of KinoYoga on Youtube  and I love her approach. She’s also the founder of Omstars, an online yoga channel with over 3,000 classes available. There’s a free 14 day trial – perfect to get you through the next two weeks at home sign up here.

Bonus for the Gen Xers (My Generation!

I have been working out with Denise Austin since the 90’s, and I was ecstatic to see she has a great Youtube channel! She has seen me through weight highs and lows and always motivated me to keep moving – if she can still teach in her mid sixties, I can at least keep up! 

For the Family

My daughter and I enjoy Cosmic Kids Yoga – the stories set to a gentle kid friendly yoga workout is both relaxing and fun. Jamie also has several videos of mindfulness and breathing, which worried kiddos might benefit from right now. 

We also had a great time with the interval workout for kids.

And who doesn’t love a Kidz Bop dance along?

Games Anyone? 

If your family doesn’t care for online workouts, you can try these fun family games to get you moving and having fun.

Limbo: Have two people hold a rope (or broom) while children pass under the rope. Lower slowly each round until one person remains – that person’s the winner! 

Balloon Toss or Paddle:  For balloon toss, all you need is an inflated balloon (or two). my daughter like to toss the balloon back and forth to see how many times we can pass it before it drops to the ground – because the balloon and two paddles, rackets, or even slotted spatulas from the kitchen. This can also be a solo game or if each person has a balloon they can compete to see whose balloon stays in the air longer without hitting the floor.

Animal Movements: I was looking for some fun ways to keep my daughter active during our school day, and I found this printable of fun high intensity interval training (hiit) moves for kids – she love it so much she will sometimes do them on her own, but it’s definitely more fun when we are racing down the hallway like crabs!

Jump Rope: Such a fun and easy way to get in a workout – your kids will love playing their games with you!

Hot Potato: If you have a bean bag, or a small stuffed animal, you can play hot potato. The goal is to toss the object back and forth as quickly as possible, pretending it’s actually hot.  The person who drops it loses – if playing with more than one person, players are eliminated as they drop the object until one player is left standing.

Freeze Dance: Someone plays DJ and gets the music going and everyone dances until the music stops and everyone freezes. Anyone still dancing or moving when the music stops is out, and play continues until one person is left.

Disclaimer

The information provided on this site is for information purposes only and no guarantees are made concerning the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of that information. The author behind this website accepts no responsibilities for errors or omissions on the site.

Any information, tips, or recommendations you receive from this website are not meant to be substituted for professional advice. Please consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise plan and/or seek the help of a qualified mental health professional if needed.

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