Why It's So Important to Keep Exercising During the Coronavirus Outbreak
A new study finds that working out regularly can benefit the immune system.
If you're one of the millions of Americans currently self-isolating and working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, then your everyday routine—which most likely includes working out—probably looks different than normal. Gyms and fitness studios all across the country have closed their doors and many are offering online classes in lieu of being able to host classes in person. But when the majority of our time is now spent sitting at home, it can be hard to find the motivation to work up a sweat. However, a new study from the University of Bath in England is highlighting the importance of regular, daily exercise during quarantine.
"People should not overlook the importance of staying fit, active and healthy during this period. Provided it is carried out in isolation—away from others—then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works, not suppress it," says author Dr. James Turner from the Department for Health at the University of Bath. Experts say that regular, moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system, which is more important now than ever before. While previous studies suggested that too much exercise could make the human body more susceptible to infection in the hours and days following a workout, Dr. Turner and co-author Dr. John Campbell from the University of Bath dispute that theory in their new study.
According to Dr. Turner and Dr. Campbell, a poor diet, irregular sleep patterns, excessive travel, and psychological stress are far more likely to lead to infections than regular exercise. In fact, they recommend that people should participate in moderate aerobic exercise such as walking, running, or cycling for approximately 150 minutes each week (or 30 minutes, five times a week).
"We all know that exercise releases endorphins and serotonin to improve your mood, and right now we could all use a mood boost. That said, it's hard to prioritize exercise when we're all trying to survive with our jobs and kids at home, so we are encouraging our clients to move their bodies in some way every single day (even just a walk!) and do a more intense workout (like one of our small group sessions) once a week," says Anel Dzafic, a personal trainer and owner of Countdown Fitness in Greenwich, Connecticut.
If you are missing the community aspect of group fitness classes, consider signing up for an online class through a local studio. "Through our daily livestream classes, we're happy to be able to provide our clients with joyful movement to remain balanced in body and empowered from within, especially in these crazy times," says Lisa Pantaleo, owner of barre3 in Long Island City, New York.