Gyms are closed. Pools are shut down. Workout partners are restricted. Fitness classes are suspended. In the wake of the worldwide lockdown due to the COVD-19 pandemic, every tool of staying fit and functional seems to be taken away from us. But, that doesn’t stop anyone from taking care of our fitness.
Immunity expert and study co-author Dr. James Turner explains: "In the context of coronavirus, the most important consideration is reducing your exposure from other people who may be carrying the virus. But people shouldn't overlook the importance of staying fit, active, and healthy during this period. Provided it's carried out away from others, then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works."
He says regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is recommended, with the aim of achieving 150 minutes per week. Longer, more vigorous exercise wouldn't be harmful, but if the capacity to exercise is restricted due to a health condition or disability, the message is to move more and that something is better than nothing.”
He further informs: "Given the important role exercise has for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, the findings from our analysis emphasize that people shouldn't be put off exercise for fear that it will dampen their immune system. Clearly, the benefits of exercise, including endurance sports, outweigh any negative effects people may perceive."
Keeping in mind the present situation, we will tell you why this situation is all the more reason to keep our immunity up.
According to Turner and his Study co-author Dr. John Campbell;
- Enhances the body’s natural killer cells: The immune system's second line of defence is 'innate' (or natural) immunity, which is mainly made up of cells called neutrophils, and natural killer cells. "Exercise has a profound effect on these cells," explains Campbell. "During a bout of exercise, natural killer cells move into the bloodstream in vast numbers, and following exercise these cells migrate to sites of inflammation to seek out pathogens, damaged and cancerous cells."
- Attack the foreign germs better: The third line of defence is 'adaptive' (or memory) immunity, which is made of lymphocytes called T cells and B cells. Exercise also has a profound impact on these cells. Regular exercise may help maintain healthy numbers of young T cells as we age, which may help the immune system better identify pathogens and cancer as we reach an older age.
- Improves the effect of vaccination: Exercise of almost any type has been found to improve the way people respond to vaccines, according to a 2014 University of Sydney review. There's even evidence that elite athletes who train regularly have higher antibody responses to vaccination than people who don't exercise.
There are two specific kinds of exercise that will be suitable for you to do at this period of time:
- Anaerobic Exercises:
While aerobic exercises include walking, bike riding, or running, which won’t be suitable at the present times; it’s a level of activity that you can maintain for an extended period of time. On the other hand, anaerobic exercise, like sprinting or weightlifting, is a short, intense activity that has you working to the max, and it can’t be sustained for long. Here’s something you can do-
Complete each exercise in the circuit for 30 seconds with a 10-second break after each if needed. Repeat this circuit continuously for 10 minutes:
- jump squats
- bicycle crunch
- mountain climbers
- jump lunges
- jumping jacks
- Functional Training:
Have you been wiping the floor with a broom or mopping the floor or taking out dustbins, carrying heavy groceries? That’s exactly what functional exercises count for!
A functional workout is simply one that strengthens you in a particular way that directly translates to an activity outside the weight room. For most people, the practical application of functional training is to make daily activities easier to perform. So, there you go. You can do the daily household chores and stay fit at the same time without any fancy workout equipment.
There should be no doubt in considering fitness as an overall health improvement that comes not only from exercising but also diet and sleep.
- When it comes to food, your diet accounts for almost 80% of your fitness journey. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium also help in releasing the ‘happiness’ chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. A lot of green, leafy vegetables, as well as poultry products, help in providing Vitamin B which helps combat depression.
- Maintaining a proper sleep cycle should be a top priority during this period. A good night of sleep will help our bodies repair its cells, clear toxins, consolidate our memories, and process information. Sleep deprivation can have major health impacts such as negatively affecting our psychological health and emotional intelligence. For most people, six to nine hours of sleep per night is enough.
With that, you are now left with zero excuses to not pursue daily fitness activities. While we are navigating our lives locked down, we are bound to feel an upsurge and downfall of various emotions. We also are bound to feel upset for no apparent reason. It takes a heavy toll on our mental health too. Therefore, physical fitness is not just crucial for a healthy body but imperative for a healthy mind and emotional well-being.