How To Stay Active During COVID | achs.edu

    Written by: Gillian Turner /
    Jun 3, 2020 12:30:00 PM

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    Gyms are closed, yoga studios are closed, and on top of that it can be hard to find the energy to exercise when we are sitting around all day working from home during this coronavirus pandemic. But no matter how unmotivated or tired we might feel, it's still important to get up from our desks or couches every day and get moving.

    Sitting for too long can result in adverse health effects, but does that mean that you should stand all day long? I did some research to discover how much time you should spend per day sitting and standing, and how much moderate exercise you should complete daily in order to gain even more health benefits. Exercise can support a healthy immune system, which proves to be even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic when stress can really wear away at our health.

    Sitting can lead to negative health effects

    Seeing the effects of sitting made me think twice about sitting around watching Netflix for a few hours after work. What will happen if you spend too much time sitting, according to WebMD? 

    • You might be at a higher risk for heart disease, dementia, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, and cancer
    • You may experience weight gain, increased anxiety, back problems, varicose veins
    • It could shorten your lifespan 

    I was surprised to learn that even spending an hour per day exercising after sitting at work for 8 hours may not be enough to counter the damage done to your body from sitting all day. So, it’s important to take a look at how much time per day you spend sitting and see if you can reduce it.

    Standing can be beneficial in the right amounts

    Reading about the adverse health effects of sitting too much might make you want to immediately start standing all day, but that isn’t the answer either. Going from sitting all day to standing all the time can actually lead to lasting back pain. Instead, you should mix up your day between standing and sitting.  One professor in Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology recommends standing for at least 30 minutes out of every hour in order to get health benefits.

    One problem with standing all day is that it can hurt your feet. Unfortunately, not much research has been completed on the effects of standing for those who have no arch support in their feet and who experience pain in their feet when standing. For those with flat feet or a fallen arch, arch supports are available and doctors also recommend stretching exercises, supportive shoes, and physical therapy.

    Moving is even better than standing

    While standing is healthier for you than sitting, engaging in movement is even more beneficial. You are recommended to engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly. Moderate activity includes brisk walking and biking at 10-12mph. If you do choose to walk, to meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, you would need to walk 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day.

    The benefits of walking daily include:

    • Lower blood sugar, less joint pain
    • Boosts immune system, energy, mood and creativity
    • Lengthens your lifespan

    How to add movement to your day

    • If you are working from home, use the extra time that you saved commuting home from work to go for a walk or run instead.
    • Use your break at work or working from home to take a walk around the neighborhood. As a bonus, walking after eating improves digestion!
    • Do virtual workouts or yoga classes online! Just because the gym is closed doesn’t mean that you can’t still workout. Lots of businesses are now offering online workouts that can be fun to do at home. Check out this blog post for links to online yoga and exercise classes.

    How do you add exercise or movement to your day? Let us know in the comments.

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    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

    Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog may contain affiliate links.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    Authored by Gillian Turner

    Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.

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