COVID-19 Alert: Exercise is a way to achieve good health and general well-being

The benefits of exercise and physical activity have been proven throughout life. We need to keep moving, and most of our body systems function efficiently when we are constantly physically active.

By IAS Agent (Dr.) Heera Lal and Robin Singh

The COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us are housebound and resting more than usual. It is difficult for many of us to do the kind of physical exercise that we usually do. It’s even harder for people who don’t usually exercise. But it is extremely important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. Even the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Be Active” campaign aims to help you do just that – and have fun at the same time.

Why should we focus on fitness in the midst of what, in many circumstances, has gone into survival mode? Regular physical exercise benefits both body and mind. The benefits of exercise and physical activity have been proven throughout life. We need to keep moving, and most of our body systems function efficiently when we are constantly physically active.

Strength training has been shown to lessen signs of anxiety in people with and without anxiety syndrome.

For children and youth, light to active physical exercise during the day is correlated with increased self-esteem, better concentration, fewer depressive disorders and improved sleep.

For adults and seniors with prolonged health issues, regular walks are recommended. The benefits of strength training may be even greater in older adults for improving quality of life and efficient functioning.

The strong recommendation is to identify the physical exercises you enjoy and share your experiences with others. Additionally, there is a testimonial that implies that exercise can be effective for mood even if doing it is not as pleasant.

We are already facing additional stress associated with the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential to scare our health. It is strongly advised that you consider using exercise and activity as a strategy to maintain wellness during this worrying time.

Although various factors seem beyond our control now, we have the power to be productive and incorporate physical exercise into our daily lives. We can even look back on this difficult time as the turning point where we realized new ways to build our emotional strength and physical resilience.

Physical training builds muscle and bone strength, improves balance, fitness and flexibility. It’s also good for our mental health – reducing the risk of depression, cognitive deterioration and delaying the onset of dementia – and improving overall well-being.

Staying home for a long period of time can be a significant challenge to staying physically active. Inactive behavior and negligible levels of physical exercise can have adverse effects on people’s well-being, health and quality of life. Even self-isolation can also trigger additional stress and challenge the psychological health of individuals. Exercise and relaxation practices can be beneficial ways to help us stay relaxed and can continue to protect our health during this time. In fact, physical inactivity is correlated with a high risk of critical consequences from COVID-19. Moreover, we are faced with the certainty that the virus is not going away anytime soon.

The columnist is IAS Agent (Dr) Heera Lal, Additional Mission Director – UP National Health Mission and Robin Singh, Founder, Team_Fighersspeed. The opinions expressed are their own.

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