Coronavirus: The importance of exercise during lockdown
Exercise is an important lifestyle factor to consider for supporting immune function, increasing mental health and boosting creativity while working from home.
Exercise for Immune Support
One of the ways exercise supports the immune system is via the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system consists of a complex network of vessels, tissues and organs that can be thought of as a drainage system. It collects, transports and filters excess lymph fluid – which contains good and bad microbes – from the tissues and deposits them in the bloodstream.
The lymphatic system also helps defend the body against infection by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes. Notice when you have an infection, the lymph nodes in your neck, groin or armpits may become tender or enlarged – that is because a large number of these lymphocytes are fighting the infection.
Cardiovascular exercise such as dancing, boxing, skipping or rebounding is one of the most efficient ways to circulate the lymph fluid and remove toxins. We have listed some popular online resources you can do with the whole family.
- Dancing – Oti Mabuse
- High intensity interval training (HIIT) and P.E lessons – Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’
- Rebounding – Bellicon
Exercise for Mental Health
Exercise has profound benefits for emotional and mental health and studies have shown that exercise has an equal effect as taking antidepressants in people diagnosed with depression.
When we engage in physical activity, we release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. Dancing in particular has been shown to increase oxytocin and promotes social connection and bonding, which is really important during times of social distancing.
Many of these feel-good chemicals also reduce pain and exercise such as tai chi has been specifically researched in many pain conditions with great outcomes. Tai chi also includes a mind-body element which is a great way to promote mindfulness while getting a workout.
Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can also be deactivated during exercise such as tai chi or yoga by turning off our fight or flight response and turning on our rest and repair response. Why not try one of these online classes.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong – Freshfield Fitness
- Yoga (for adults) – Yoga with Adrienne
- Yoga (for children) – Cosmic Kids
Exercise for creativity
Movement has been shown to boost creativity and productivity.
A recent study by Stanford University had 150 participants complete tasks that assess their creative thinking either while walking or sitting. Results showed that creative output increased by 60% when the participant was moving. To increase your productivity and creativity at home you could:
- Use a standing desk – if you don’t have an adjustable desk, try placing your laptop or computer on a cupboard or shelf or use books and boxes to raise the height of your workstation.
- Standing and pacing when on a phone call – this is a good option in the absence of a stimulus you would normally get during a face-to-face conversation.
- Daily walks outside – nothing can replace fresh air and sunlight. Get out in nature, whether that is the park, fields near your home or in the garden, ensure you’re getting outside for your daily exercise where possible.
Incorporating physical activity into your daily and weekly regimen has never been more important. For further resources to optimise your health and wellbeing download our FREE eBook here.