Importance of exercise during lockdown
Mansi was taken by surprise when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced all across the globe. Suddenly, it seemed to her as if her entire life had taken a turn for the worst and she could no longer do what she enjoyed.
Mansi was now stuck at home. She wasn’t able to connect with her friends, learn about how they were doing, and talk about her day. This was an unprecedented time that nobody had ever prepared her for.
Thankfully, Mansi’s best friend, Krithika, did her best to engage with Mansi. She tried to call her every single day and chat about their lives. Recently they were talking about how important exercise is during the lockdown.
Mansi doesn’t believe in the importance of exercise during the lockdown. Krithika strongly disagrees and believes that exercise is more important, if not less, during the lockdown. What do you think?
What is Exercise? Is It Important?
If you agree that physical activity and exercise are important during the lockdown, then you are on the right page. Exercise is extremely important and specifically in a lockdown! We’ll try to convince Mansi and strengthen your belief in this section by talking about exercise and its benefits.
Physical exercise basically refers to any bodily movement that is produced by skeletal muscles. This movement must require energy expenditure. There are also two categories of physical activities, including:
- Aerobic Fitness: This includes moderate to vigorous activity which would make an individual feel a bit warm. It will also result in increased breathing rate, heart rate, and taking deeper breaths
- Balance and Strength: Many individuals often forget about this component of physical exercise. It is quite important in maintaining overall health
Keeping this in mind, it is easier to conclude that physical exercise can include:
- Sports participation
- Active recreation
- House cleaning
- Carrying heavy shopping
Importance of Exercise During Lockdown
Strength and balance: This is often the forgotten component of physical activity but it is an essential part and has many benefits. These benefits are:
- Ease muscle strain
- Relief mental tension
- Enhanced blood circulation
- Improve muscle activity
- Creating some routine in these difficult times
- Strengthening the immune system and maintaining the strength so that one would be less susceptible to infections
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Decrease the risk of diabetes
- Decrease the risk of heart disease
- Help in weight management
- Decrease the risk of stroke
- Enhance bone and muscle strength
- Enhance balance
- Better flexibility
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers
- Better bone strength
- A better overall bodily fitness
- Enhanced mental health
- Reduced risk of depression
- Reduced risk of cognitive decline
- Delay in the onset of dementia
- Better overall feeling of well-being
In children, some benefits of regular exercise during lockdown are given below.
- Support health growth
- Better development
- Reduce the risk of disease later in life
- Helps in developing fundamental movement skills
It was mentioned earlier that there are many benefits of balance and strength training. Do you want to know what those benefits are now?
- Better blood lipid profile
- Better vascular function
- Enhanced immune function
- Builds and maintain muscle mass
- Better oxidative capacity
- Better and smoother aging trajectory
- Enhanced blood glucose sensitivity
- Better blood pressure and can also help individuals manage their blood pressures in a more healthy manner
- Better body composition over time
The Cost of Physical Inactivity
Despite all of these benefits of exercise, people still fail to indulge in regular physical activity. This leads to the loss of almost 5.3 million lives every year globally! We should all keep in mind that this number should not increase in the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone should follow the physical activity guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
What are these Physical Activity Guidelines by WHO?
According to the recent WHO guidelines, any amount of physical activity is better than none. This is why even if you are not able to meet the recommended amount of physical exercise, you should at least try to do whatever you can to improve your health.
The key recommendations by WHO for different age groups are mentioned below.
- Young Children and Adolescents (Between 5 years – 17 years)
Children and adolescents should at least try to exercise for an average of 60 minutes per day. This exercise should be of moderate or vigorous intensity. It should mostly include aerobic exercise, and other physical activities spread across the week.
Aerobic exercises like running with activities focused on strengthening the muscle and bone, like jumping and lifting weight, should be incorporated for at least 3 days a week. The amount spent being sedentary should be minimized. Recreation screen time spent on social media and video gaming should be reduced.
- Adults and Older Adults
Adults should engage in 150-300 minutes of aerobic physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity throughout the week. A mixture of both of these types of activities can also be performed to get more benefits.
Some examples of aerobic exercise include stair climbing, brisk walking, running, swimming, and cycling. This recommendation is also valid for people who are suffering from chronic conditions and disabilities as long as there are no medical constraints for performing those activities.
- Older Adults over 65 years of Age
Older adults over the age of 65 years are encouraged to engage in multicomponent exercising for three or more days a week. These multicomponent exercises include dancing and standing on one foot while doing bicep curls.
All adults should do their best to make sure that they do not have a sedentary lifestyle. They should try to incorporate as much movement as possible in their daily routine. This means that even if an individual has trouble running, then he or she should at least try to get exercise through brisk walking.
There are many harmful effects of being sedentary that can simply be avoided by taking a more active approach towards life even during a lockdown.
- During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth
The old-age belief that pregnant women should only rest does not stand anymore. It is now recommended that pregnant women should also engage in exercise and be physically active if there are no medical contraindications or specific instructions to rest. This will improve the health outcomes for the mother and the baby.
During pregnancy and after giving birth, the woman should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This exercise should be of moderate intensity and should include a variety of aerobic, stretching, and muscle strengthening exercises.
Regularly Exercising has a Lot of Health Benefits!
Mansi now understands how important it is to regularly exercise. This is why she has signed up for a new exercise regime. If you have taken a break from exercising, then you should get back to it too!