Using Coronavirus Quarantine Time to Improve Your Health
By James T. Reese, Jr., Ed.D., Program Director, Sports Management, and Lisa M. Miller, Ph.D., Faculty Member, Sports Management, American Military University
The coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives in a profound way. To be good social citizens, many routine activities we’ve taken for granted our entire lives have been significantly modified or suspended. Whether we’re off work or working from home, we are all spending more time indoors than ever before.
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In fact, in order to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, many people are not leaving their houses at all. For those accustomed to being active, the transition may be quite difficult.
For active individuals or sports fans, our current environment means none of the following events have been available for us to either attend, participate in, or watch on television:
- National Basketball Association games
- NCAA basketball games
- National Hockey League games
- Preseason Major League Baseball games
- Track and field events
- NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar and MotoGP car and motorcycle races
- Tennis matches
- Wrestling events
- Cycling, boxing, rugby, golf or soccer events
- The Olympic Games
Although this list is not exhaustive, it communicates how different our lives are at the moment, especially for sport fans and sport participants. In addition, gyms, fitness centers and other facilities offering physical education classes have been closed to the public.
Implementing Healthy Activities into Your Life during the Coronavirus Pandemic
During this time of the global coronavirus pandemic, children and adults are forced to find new ways to stay fit. Their time and energy could be refocused into getting healthy and exercising in other ways.
While adults and children are home with city lockdowns, doctors have counseled people to get exercise to stay healthy despite government-enforced restrictions. Concerns during this time include gaining weight and getting out of physical fitness routines. There are also mental health issues that could be improved through physical movement, such as anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders.
Physicians recommend that people explore new options for exercise, while still adhering to six-feet social distancing precautions. Possible options include:
- Walking the dog more frequently. Parents might get up early to walk the dog before children wake up or ask the children to come along for a walk later in the evenings as a family activity.
- Joining a virtual fitness class
- Participating in an online dance class, such as Zumba
- Running or hiking
- Reconnecting with physically active hobbies. Now is an opportune time to get extra outdoor training or participate in body-weight weightlifting.
- Talking a solo walk while talking to someone else on the phone or walking with a companion while maintaining a six-foot distance
- Finding fun and active routines to do with your family. Some exercise experts are offering free apps and free virtual yoga or exercise routines. For example, Gold's Gym now offers a free trial of their fitness app. Also, an app named Strong is currently offered free of charge. It is similar to a video game with tallying your workout numbers, such as 15 reps of biceps curls at particular weights. This calculates many of your body outputs for helpful measurement of progress.
Maintaining Healthy Gains with a Lifestyle Change
Overall, this time of fewer sporting events and fewer fitness center opportunities lends a renewed focus on other options to improve both our physical and mental health through exercise. Since doctors recommend an hour of physical fitness five days a week, our current quarantine environment is a unique opportunity to establish and add long-term changes to our existing lifestyle once our lives return to normal.
Some ways to transfer these changes into our habits include:
- Establishing a daily routing with specific times and spaces for exercise
- Reaching out to friends who also actively exercise on a regular basis for motivation
- Keeping a log and journal to track the progress on our goals
- Setting specific and measurable goals for accountability
- Celebrating accomplishments and cheering on our family and friends with their healthy new endeavors
During this time, we can all think healthier thoughts, behave in healthier ways, create healthier home cultures and help others maintain new and healthy habits. If these strategies can be accomplished at home during these global pandemic times, people will be far healthier after this coronavirus quarantine and into the future.
About the Authors
Dr. Jim Reese is an Associate Professor and Program Director for the undergraduate and graduate sports management programs at American Military University, and a former personal trainer. He holds an M.S. in Sport Management from Georgia Southern University and an Ed.D. in Physical Education: Sport Administration from the University of Northern Colorado.
Dr. Lisa Miller is a Professor in the sports management program at American Military University. Dr. Miller also teaches tennis and conducts research on healthy leadership strategies. Her academic credentials include an MBA in Labor and Human Resources and a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Management from The Ohio State University.