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Moving less while sheltering in place? Here are five ways to increase your activity

Posted By Maria Reese, MD


While sheltering in place, we’ve all noted the numerous ways in which we’ve decreased our activity — gone are commutes, walks to grab lunch, hitting the gym, going to the playground with our kids, dinner at a local spot and the list continues.

Now’s the perfect time to discover new ways to increase our activity while staying home! Following are five suggestions:

  1. Drop, and give me 10. Start your day with 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 lunges or 10 reps of any movement/exercise. Be sure to maintain good form (see here!) to make the reps count. Who knows, perhaps next week you’ll want to go for 12 repetitions!
  2. Talk on your feet. Take your meetings and calls with family/friends while standing or walk around your house, stretch your legs. Your body will benefit from the movement and your mind from some stimulation.
  3. Link activity to everyday routines. While brushing your teeth for those two minutes twice a day, consider doing a wall sit or balancing on one leg while you brush. While you’re waiting for your coffee or tea to brew, do some burpees or heel raises. Put on some music, and dance while you do the dishes or clean. Just add a bit more movement to everyday activities. Soon enough, you’ll have developed a healthy new habit.
  4. Mind your posture. Optimizing your sitting and standing posture activates your core and helps minimize low-back and neck pain. Resist the urge to “get comfortable” (i.e., slouch) in your seat; instead, try to sit as tall as you can with your head directly over your rib cage and hips. Also maintain the natural slight sway in your low back. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and direct them down and back — toward your back pockets. Sit tall, and feel strong!
  5. Set a reminder alarm. Simply setting your phone, watch or computer alarm can serve as a reminder for you to move. You can set intervals to suit — from just two alarms per day to an alarm every hour. Your alarm makes a great signal for getting up for a glass of water, doing stretches, jumping jacks or checking your posture.

Remember that exercise is medicine, and every minute and movement counts! Exercise not only helps us physically, but it also increases our immune function and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. Increasing our activity during this period of isolation and stress offers immense benefit for our whole selves. Be well!

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now offering physician and therapy TeleHealth appointments to provide patients easy access to our expert clinical teams. New and existing outpatients can schedule and appointment at 312.238.1000 or here.

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