We’ve all found ourselves cooped up a whole lot more during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stay at home orders and travel restrictions have likely taken a toll on your physical activity routine. Many of the things that motivated us before, such as group exercise, traveling to beautiful locations to run/bike/hike, gym memberships, races, and events have all been impacted. Uncertainty in these times also makes it difficult to motivate to be active, so let’s look at some ways to overcome these obstacles.
Active SWV Board Member, Eloise Elliott with the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Science, explains, “Research has shown that people who regularly exercise have a lower incidence of infection than those who are inactive… and physical activity also reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones that may also protect against illness.” Read more about Eloise’s suggestions with West Virginia Explorer to add more physical activity here.
Active SWV is here to help motivate you to be more active at home. Here are some of our favorite tips and strategies to make it happen.
Have a reason. First and foremost is getting your mind on board with the plan. If you don’t have a reason to move it will be difficult to make it happen. Ask yourself why you need to be active. Active SWV Kids Run Club Director, India, says, “Exercising every day helps me feel more relaxed, calm, and clear headed. On days I need extra motivation, I think about how I’ll feel if I don’t get out and do something, and that does the trick. My motivation to be active stems from trying to stay healthy mentally, because physical health follows mental health.” The mental benefits from exercise is something we can all appreciate right now.
Think about your future and rewards. Active SWV Volunteer Director, Erin, likes to get herself motivated by thinking about the future. She says, “I am motivated by the thought of life after Covid-19 when I can get back to the baseball fields with my kids and help out with practices.” This is a great time to focus on building strength, improving flexibility, and working on fundamentals for when we return to our favorite sports and activities.
Commit to a time and activity. After our brains are on-board it’s time to lay out a plan. Intention without implantation can set us up for failure. Active SWV Executive Director, Melanie, says, “Deliberately planning to be active for at least 30 minutes a day for me works best when I have some type of social support and/or competition. I like the fitness sharing apps and setting events to help me stay on a schedule. And a little bit of sunshine goes a long way for me!” This is a great example of planning a time and a tool to make it happen. You may even choose to start with very small goals. Committing to 5 minutes is much easier to make happen than an hour. You will be more likely to jump in and maybe even push longer once you feel those happy endorphins flowing.
Find something enjoyable. We all like different things and may crave variety in our routines. There is a wealth of online fitness classes and now is a great time to learn something new. Check out our STAFF PICKS, favorite online videos.
Make yourself accountable. Active SWV Workplace Wellness Director, Veronica says, “In non-covid times, peer accountability and loving the feeling of a team atmosphere motivates me. I like to find activities I can do with others or find others who like to be active too. But even seeing videos of friends hiking, biking, etc. has been helpful lately.” We can still find accountability by sharing our goals with others and joining online groups such as the Active SWV bulletin board.
Find a Partner. You can join an online group and share like Veronica or you can also find encouragement in your ‘quaranteam’. If you are at home with others, get them involved! Active SWV Community Engagement Assistant, Molly, says, “I have two little kids at home and it is really difficult to make exercise happen. Now I seek out short videos that the kids will join in. Also, after the kids have gone to bed, my husband and I have committed to doing a 15-30 minute exercise video together. We take turns making each other accountable.”
Mindset and planning lead us into proper preparation. Preparation is the final key to success.
Dress for Success. We’ve all heard the term and it still applies here. You are less likely to get moving if you are in your jammies all day, so lay out your workout clothes the night before. Put them on right away if you plan on a morning workout.
Fuel your fitness. Give your body the best advantage by eating a nutritious meal before and/or after your workout and properly hydrate yourself. Have a water bottle ready. Read our suggestions for boosting your workout here.
Create a space to be active. It is important to have an area that is safe to move in and relatively distraction free. You many find yourself more willing to return to an exercise routine if you enjoy your space. Consider designating a small area to your well-being and hang up quotes or images that inspire you. Download Active SWV’s free Physical Activity Posters here.
Have your tools ready. Make sure your treadmill is free of laundry, your playlist device is charged, your fitness app is open, workout clothes are clean, and/or you are on-time to your online group workout.
Making a few small changes in planning and preparation can make all the difference in your success. Remember that any physical activity is good activity. Small efforts can lead to major impacts. Check out the Move Your Way Activity Planner to find more inspiration and keep track of your daily activity. Also, visit the Active SWV Online Resource Page for more helpful information on physical distancing safety.