It’s been a very different last couple of weeks in our world. We’ve been told to keep a safe distance from everyone, and for many, that means being at home to remain healthy. Yet, for many, our home doesn’t provide the resources to maintain our exercise and activity routine, which is very important for maintaining our health. A lot of us have worked very hard in the past few months to lose weight, get stronger, and stay fit. We’re fortunate it’s springtime, and we can get outside and take walks, go biking and enjoy nature. Also, there are plenty of exercise videos that you can watch at home for your workout. Don’t give up!
If you aren’t able to continue your exercise routine because your favorite gym, class, or pool has closed down, when you do return to your workout, you’ll need to start low, go slow and progress back up to where you were. Extreme changes are usually not fun. The same applies to our exercise routine. Make a plan to ramp back up slowly. Add more resistance, time, or intensity every two weeks once your body is comfortable with your workout routine.
It’s a myth that only high-intensity exercise workouts and long exercise sessions are needed to burn calories. Intense exercise routines usually scare off beginners. After a few weeks without our gym or pool access, we may be the beginner again. All physical activity burns calories. When the gym is closed, it’s a great time to learn how to build physical activity into our entire lifestyle and not have our total daily physical activity be gym dependent.
We also need to remember our energy balance during this time away from exercise. Be careful not to overestimate your activity time and underestimate your food intake while at home, which is often the case for many people. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), adults trying to lose weight greatly underreport their food intake (by up to 47%). Also, activity trackers have been shown to be 27-93% inaccurate, depending on the brand. Studies show that people overreport (without activity trackers) exercise by up to 51%.
Find your creative ways to continue exercising on your own until you can finally go back to your favorite gym or pool. Here’s to you working hard to maintain your great health. Don’t give up!
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the March 26, 2020 edition of the Seaford Star.