The Mental and Physical Benefits of Staying Fit During (and After) Shelter-in-Place

In addition to closing down gyms, COVID-19 has thrown our daily routines into disarray. 

Among other things, where, when, and how you exercise must change. But you can’t let that be an excuse to let your physical fitness fall by the wayside. 

Physical fitness is tied to so many important things—immunity, mental wellness, physical health, and even resistance to complications from COVID-19.  

In this post, we’ll review all these critical elements of your health and how they relate to the importance of staying fit during shelter-in-place.

Obesity and its Link to Higher Hospitalization for COVID-19

Based on new studies, the New York Times reported that “Obesity may be one of the most important predictors of severe coronavirus illness.”

Even without underlying conditions often associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure and heart problems, the risk is high. In other words, obesity in and of itself may be the “most significant risk factor, after only older age, for being hospitalized with COVID-19.”

While obesity results from a combination of factors including diet, genetic, and medication use, physical activity is key to preventing the weight gain that leads to obesity. The CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least:

  1. 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, or a combination of both, per week.
  2. Two days of strength training per week.

Immunity Benefits of Regular Exercise

According to Harvard Medical School, “there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.” 

But they continue on to say that following “general good-health guidelines” such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, eating fruits and vegetables, and getting adequate sleep, is the “single best step you can take” toward a healthy immune system.

While we’ve already covered how exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, you might not know that exercise is linked to both better eating habits and a higher quality of sleep

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

While it may be necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, social distancing can decimate our mental health. The American Psychological Association cites research that has found, during a period of social distancing, you are more likely to experience:

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Depression and boredom
  • Anger, frustration, or irritability
  • Stigmatization 

Older adults, healthcare workers, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions are especially vulnerable. But exercise can help.

Just by incorporating an exercise routine into your daily life you help yourself “preserve a sense of order and purpose” in your life “despite the unfamiliarity of isolation.” On top of that, exercise can act as a stress reliever. 

How to Jump Start Your Exercise Program

The best way to start exercising is to get up and do it. Gyms might be shut down but you can still hike, run, bike, do yoga or calisthenics. Plus, with the Bright Fitness Marketplace, we can help you get active by connecting you virtually with the best virtual trainers out there. 

You can start your shelter-in-place exercise routine right now—just download the Bright App and you’ll have immediate access to the Bright Fitness Marketplace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Bright App Logo

Try it now and see the difference!

Download for free.
No monthly fee. Ever!

Sign up for our newsletter and get great articles in your inbox