Keeping your family active through COVID-19

Summary

Exercising and keeping active is important for all the family as we live through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But as part of Australia’s strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19, some of our normal routines for physical activity aren’t an option. Gyms and community swimming pools are closed, team sport is cancelled, and some councils have even closed and fenced off beaches. But the good news is that with a bit of creativity plus a pinch of discipline, you can keep your family physically active and continue to burn energy and build strength during this pandemic.

How much exercise is enough?

Exercise and Sports Science Australia has issued a reminder on the importance of exercise to keep Australians healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasising that research supports the immune boosting powers of physical activity.

The World Health Organisation recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) per week, plus muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days of the week. That can be as simple as a couple of trips around the block most days, combined with just 15 to 20 minutes of some bodyweight exercises like sit ups and push ups at home – you can even do them in front of the TV!

Walk it out

A good way to boost your physical activity is by walking more. A walk outside once a day is a great way to get both exercise and fresh air during isolation. It’s also a great idea to take some short walks around the house throughout the day between stints at your desk if you’re working from home (too much sitting is never a good idea). And of course, always take the stairs when it’s an option.

Remember, when going for your walk to avoid high-traffic areas and go in a quieter part of the day if you can. Take some hand sanitiser with you and keep at least 1.5 metres away from others. Once you get home, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Dance off the blues

Everyone knows that a good boogie is a great way to lift your mood. Pump out your favourite tunes and have a loungeroom dance party for a fun way to get some cardio into your day. Why not get everyone to pick a favourite tune and see who can bust out the best moves? Or have a round of musical statues to add a bit of friendly competition to your dance party!

For replicating that live venue vibe at home, you can even find many concerts streamed. And in the safety of your loungeroom, you really can dance like nobody’s watching!

Work that bodyweight

After toilet paper and pasta, the next item to be panic bought by many Australians were home exercise equipment like dumbbells. But the good news is that you don’t need weights at home to get a good strength workout!

Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges and more can provide an effective workout, with no equipment necessary. The Australian College of Sport and Fitness has put together some easy bodyweight exercises you can do with everyday household items.

Or you can combine your physical exercise with raising funds and awareness for mental health with The Push Up Challenge run by Headspace – 3046 push ups over 21 days from 11th to 31st May will give your fitness a nudge in the right direction.

Active screen time

Normally, screen time is considered the enemy of an active lifestyle. Well, not in 2020!

There’s so many ways you can use your computer and other devices to get moving and stay strong and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes:

  • Online yoga classes – check if your local studio is running classes online, or check out YouTube for options like YogaDownload
  • The gym goes virtual – some gyms are using video conferencing to deliver programs, there’s YouTube channels like The Body Coach TV, subscription services like Les Mills On Demand and Centr, and even live Facebook workouts like 28 by Sam Wood
  • Get your game on – yes, you heard it right. Your gaming console can be your new fitness friend! Bust out your old Nintendo Wii for some family gaming, play Just Dance on the Playstation, or if you’ve got a VR headset like the Occulus Quest, games like Beat Saber will get you working up a sweat without even realising that you’re exercising
  • Pop a personal trainer in your pocket with phone apps like the 7 Minute Workout

How are you keeping active?

We know it can be hard to motivate yourself to stay active and keep exercising without your normal routine and structures in place. Creating a new COVID-19 routine and weekly structure can help to build new habits.

We’d love to know some of the ways you’re continuing to exercise at home.

*Please be alert to your medical and personal needs. If you have a medical condition or injury please confer with your treating health practitioner and adhere to any recommendation in relation to your participation in activities.

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