Although the Coronavirus Quarantine is something we never thought we would experience in our lifetime, everyone around the world is scrambling to find the silver lining of this extra time we're at home.
One of which most quarantiners are turning to is jumpstarting a new fitness routine to stay healthy.
Optimal health essential at a time like this, but practicing proper nutrition and exercise habits on an everyday basis can help you become a good role model for your kids at home, who are now watching your every move—more than you think.
Why is fitness vital for you and your family?
Setting into a nutrition and exercise routine when your kids are young can help them develop healthy habits that can follow them throughout their lives.
Getting your children and other family members used to family-friendly exercise activities can also help you take something away from this situation, and hopefully, carry on long after quarantine is over.
Exercise Benefits for Quarantine
It's no secret that exercise is beneficial for your health—but it is especially helpful during a very stressful, isolating time like this.
Regular exercise can reduce your stress level.
Working at home office, juggling homeschooling, and redefining new roles of family members while you're finding ways to entertain your kids at home, stress can quickly spike during a regular day in quarantine.
Exercise does its part to help your brain produce endorphins, which blocks pain and makes you feel good. This natural mood-enhancer lowers the body's stress hormones, increases your confidence, and helps reduce anxiety and stress.
Exercising can help boost your immune system.
While keeping to the necessary social distancing measures put in place to help flatten the curve, exercise can also help prevent you from getting the virus—or getting sick, in general.
Exercising improves your lungs' function and ability to distribute oxygen, but it also increases that healthy blood flow from your heart throughout your body. This increase in blood flow can pump up the antibodies and white blood cells in your system designed to fight off infection.
Exercising can also improve sleep quality.
How long you sleep and the quality of your sleep both play significant roles in promoting good health.
Although you might not be able to persuade your kids for a noon nap time every day, making sure that you're getting a quality night's sleep is essential for you to function correctly and make it through the day. Fortunately, exercise can help with that.
While you exercise, your body temperature increases—so when you've finished your workout, your body's temperature then cools down, which can help promote sleep.
Exercise also decreases arousal, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, which can help you get a better night's sleep, void from worry. Exercising during the daytime can also help regulate your body's circadian rhythm, telling your body when it's time for you to sleep.
And finally, exercise can help keep you and the family—especially the kids—busy.
As every parent knows, the oldest trick in the book when dealing with rowdy children in the house involves tiring your kid out.
A family-friendly workout or activity can help your children get moving, whether in the house or out.
Without the hustle and bustle of the office, rushing to get your lunch at a local eatery, and sprinting to catch the bus after work, your life may feel a bit less chaotic and lead to less movement throughout your normal workday.
These family-friendly activities can help keep your family busy and release pent-up energy that an all-day quarantine may cause.
A Family-Friendly Workout:
Just because you hear the word "exercise" doesn't mean that you have to implement a family-style boot camp in your backyard suddenly! Exercising doesn't have to be strict and uncomfortable.
You can quickly get your family moving with fun activities or fitness games to get your kids to train alongside you.
First and foremost, however, you have to keep it simple.
Trying to take on complicated movements can discourage family members—especially younger children—to continue working out.
You should also make the "workouts" all-inclusive—meaning, include everyone!
Partner workouts—even for younger children—can help make it fun and also competitive. If you have enough family members at home, you can even break the family into teams!
Here are a few exercises to do at home:
- Squat and pass: This compound, partner exercise helps work the legs and shoulders while creating a competitive or cohesive team environment. You can turn this into a competition between teams or you can make it a whole family affair on one team.
- Planks with sliding or high-five: For an interesting take on a very stable exercise (literally), this is a great ab, partner exercise. You can slide an object from one person to another while still maintaining perfect plank form or you can lean on just one hand (without shifting your weight too much) and complete a high-five with a partner.
- Relay races: From partner wheelbarrow races to bear crawls to crab-walking, there are so many unique types of relay races you can do with your family. To help keep it as exciting and entertaining as possible, switch up how you and your family have to move from point to point.
You can also get as creative as you want with obstacle courses using household furniture and other objects!
Making daily chores into a game or race can also be a great way to not only get the kids moving but also clean up the house. Consider turning these structured activities into something fun for the family!
Taking a post-dinner walk can also help keep the family together, get you out of the house while still maintaining social distancing, and start an after-dinner ritual that will be easy to continue even after quarantine has run course.
An All-About-You Workout
If you still want a challenge after your kids are worn out, I have a few exercises to do that can give you an effective workout from the comfort of your own home.
Even if you may not have standard, at-home gym equipment like a physioball, med balls, bands, or plates, you can always begin with bodyweight.
If you're feeling creative, you can substitute these weighty accessories with just simple objects you can find around your home, like a backpack full of books or a laundry basket full of clothes.
Here are a few exercises to do at home:
Glute bridge: Starting lying down on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. To start the exercise, lift your hips off the ground. You want to try and get your body as a straight line as much as possible.
Do this exercise for reps or for time.
If you choose to do the glute bridge for reps, pause for a few seconds to reach the top position, squeezing your glutes. Keep the reps in the range of 12-15 per set. You may need to adjust the number of sets as you grow stronger.
If you choose to do the glute bridge for time, start off with a 30-45 second hold. As you move forward with your workout, you may need to adjust the time by increasing it in 15-second increments or adjust the number of sets.
Squats: Starting with your feet shoulder-width apart, face forward. When you're ready, bend your knees and drop your hips down while keeping the heels of your feet flat on the floor.
Once you reach a 90-degree angle, pop back up into a standing position. Repeat this motion ten times.
If you feel like three sets of 10 bodyweight squats are too easy, fill a backpack (bunker-style) with a few books around the house and wear the bag while squatting—but make sure you keep perfect form!
Upper-body band exercises: If you're tired of push-ups and standard bodyweight upper body exercises, investing in a pack of bands can help open up a whole new world of upper body band exercises you can do at home.
Step-ups: If you live in a home or building with stairs, this is an excellent exercise for you! You can also use a bench or small (but sturdy) table.
Start by facing the steps or bench. Step with your left foot firmly on the raised surface. Keep your chest up, push off with your left leg, and step up onto the platform. You can drive the knee of your right leg up if you feel comfortable with it. While controlling the movement, lower your body back down until your right foot is on the floor again.
Do ten reps each leg. If you find this is too easy, you can add a backward lunge as your right foot hits the ground. You can also add difficulty by holding weight (like a backpack filled with books).
Set A Goal For You and Your Family
Working out with a goal in mind can help you stay focused and committed to your new quarantine fitness routine. Take this time to self-reflect and set some goals for the future. It can also help keep you focused on something and take your mind off of the quarantine situation!
I hope this article has helped introduce a few easy-to-implement ideas that can help get you and your family moving during quarantine!
- Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
- The Role of Inflammation and Immune Cells in Blood Flow Restriction Training Adaptation: A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189414/
- How does exercise help those with chronic insomnia? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-does-exercise-help-those-chronic-insomnia