AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The coronavirus has closed a lot of businesses, including gyms, but there are still other ways to get exercise, which can bring plenty of benefits.
Olivia Hall, operations manager at the fitness center at Augusta Health, said exercising regularly brings a lot of benefits, both mentally and phyiscally.
“I think the same reasons we exercise for general health are also good reasons to exercise during this time period,” Hall said.
She added exercise is good for preventing certain diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and weight management. Studies have shown regular, moderate exercise also improves immune systems.
According to a UVA study, it also promotes the production of antioxidants that protect the heart and lungs, which could help protect from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which is one of the major causes of death for COVID-19 patients.
Beyond the physical benefits, there are mental health benefits as well.
“The stress hormone cortisol can be elevated during this time, and exercise can and does reduce that,” Hall said. “Things like yoga are great.”
Hall said getting outside to exercise can also be a good stress reliever. She said staying healthy is still important, and you should wash your hands before and after being outside. During this time, any type of movement that gets your heart rate up is beneficial.
“Any movement is better than nothing, so whether that’s walking, or riding your bike with your kids, or taking the stairs up and down your house a few times, anything that just gets your heart rate up,” Hall said.
But she said it’s important to remember this isn’t a time to judge yourself or be too hard on yourself.
“Not everything is perfect, and you may not have this equipment and that equipment, or maybe you’ve gained a couple pounds, but that’s okay,” Hall said. “This is not a time for perfection, and we need to just go easy on ourselves and easy on each other.”
Throughout the pandemic, Augusta Health Fitness has been posting videos on their Youtube and Facebook pages that people can follow along. Hall said she thinks people have appreciated the videos from people they’re used to working out with, even though they’re working out from home.