As humans, we aren’t anatomically designed to sit in a desk chair all day. Stagnation can cause more than just slouching and bad posture\; in fact, studies prove that a deficiency in active motion can trigger symptoms in various mood disorders, including depression.
Movement can enhance not only one’s emotions but increase personal focus as well, on top of combating the obvious setbacks on the physical health plane. I’m a certified yoga instructor under the Yoga Alliance organization, one of the largest internationally recognized nonprofits in the field of practice. My endeavors in the wellness community have helped me dive deep into a better understanding of the coexisting relationship between the mind and the body.
With the “safer-at-home” executive orders in place, you may find yourself slipping into a comfortable couch lock as you settle into your work-from-home routine. Trust me, I get it. I was a full-time student balancing two jobs before the pandemic snowballed. When my workplaces and in-person school lectures were shut down, I felt like the universe had gifted me a much-needed break, a looser schedule to sit around and snack all day. But what I’ve found is the more time I spend lounging around inside, the more I fixate on the uncertainty of what tomorrow holds.
Always remember that life begins outside your comfort zone, and active motion can be your greatest tool in escaping from any anxiety or worry the coronavirus outbreak may have sparked within you. Physical activity is much more than just losing inches from your waistline or sculpting a pair of bulging biceps\; scientifically speaking, a consistent workout routine paves the pathway for a clear mindset. Let go of the idea that you need to reach top-tier physical goals, and channel your consideration into the proven psychological benefits that go hand-in-hand with exercise.
The act of exercising — whether it be in the form of yoga, cardio activities, weight training, or any other method that increases the heart rate — releases neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These are the brain chemicals that build up the feeling of joy and make us feel happy. You know what they say: The brain is the most important muscle in the body.
When you physically exert yourself, your brain chemistry alters in a way that lifts your mood and depletes stress. In today’s era, in which the COVID-19 pandemic has left us feeling unsure of what the future looks like, the least we can do is utilize this period of solitude to develop healthy habits like a consistent, at-home workout schedule. It may seem daunting, but you’ll thank yourself later.
Consistency is vitally important in exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually encourages at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to live a healthy lifestyle. On top of the mental advantages, the CDC has conducted case studies to argue that physical activity can be used to manage or prevent arthritis, improve one’s sleep schedule, generate smooth blood flow to decrease the risk of heart disease and act as a natural energy booster.
Even though the Student Recreation Center and other fitness venues are closed for the time being, there are several ways you can keep up with your workout routines from the comfort of your own house. Online platforms — including Equinox, SELF, CorePower Yoga, Alo Moves, Barre3 and Heart and Soul Fitness — are sharing a variety of free at-home workout tutorials. These websites have a range of opportunities to get your heart pumping, from kickboxing to HIIT training to Pilates. Know that you are endlessly creating yourself and that your commitment to exercise doesn’t have to come to a halt just because the gym has locked its doors.