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Our bodies are meant to be active. Unfortunately, today’s lifestyle tends to promote inactivity, which is further complicated by our tendency to relegate our social and leisure activities to the computer, television, and cell phones
So How Can You Be Active?
Many people get their exercise by going to a gym. This is an ideal way to maintain a healthy workout routine, but the social isolation required to address the current pandemic has either closed health clubs or has made members reluctant to exercise in public. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to exercise while social distancing. Some examples are:
- Get up and have a dance break. Even if you think you look silly to others dancing is an incredible way to get your heart rate up doing something you enjoy. Scroll down for some Spotify playlists.
- Taking regular walks, with family, pets, or alone. For added benefits, try walks without the use of technology. Music and phone calls might help make exercise more appealing, but allowing yourself to be fully present by noticing the sights, sounds, smells, and internal changes that occur can enhance self-awareness, trigger creativity, promote a sense of connection to the world and significantly reduce stress.
- Use technology at times. Many instructors are offering free on-line classes. YouTube has a variety of workouts that you can follow along with. Just make sure you are particularly careful, as nobody is there to make sure your form is safe.
- Home workouts, with or without on-line instruction; such as jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, dips and mountain climbers. Of course, if you have access, make full use of home exercise equipment such as treadmills, rowers, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes.
- Try non-traditional exercises, such as yoga and tai chi. Here too you can find instructional videos on the internet. And you get the added benefit of meditative practice.
- Weight training is not just about lifting dumbbells. Building muscle mass is one of the best ways to rev your metabolism so that you continue to burn calories long after you’ve stopped lifting weights. This is because muscle is metabolically active. If you don’t have access to weights, use household items such as textbooks, canned goods, milk jugs filled with water, and paint cans.
- Not all exercises involve traditional workouts. Gardening, cleaning the house, hiking, walking to do small errands around town are all ways to get the body moving.
Looking for Another Teen to Workout With?
Consider following along with some Instagram videos made by the RHS Fitness Club
A Good Workout is Fueled by Good Music
What’s the Importance of Being Active?
The benefits of physical activity and exercise have been proven effective for people of all ages. Now more than ever, developing and maintaining an exercise plan is critical. Just some of the benefits of regular exercise include:
Strengthened immune system. Regular exercise enhances our body’s natural resistance to infection, and likely enhances our ability to recover faster if we do get sick.
Better sleep. Regular exercise leads to more regular sleep, as well as more restful sleep, so you are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed.
Increased focus. Sleep is critical for mental abilities, such as memory, reasoning, attention, perseverance, and overall intelligence.
Improved mood. Exercise helps regulate our autonomic nervous system, which is critical to maintaining a healthy balance – neither uninspired and unmotivated, nor anxiously hyperactive. Aerobic activities (exercises that significantly raises our heart rates) have been shown to be most effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Weight management. Exercise, combined with healthy eating, is the best way to manage our weight, which in turn leads to better overall health and may significantly reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline.
Improving self-mastery. Exercise promotes feelings of accomplishment and control.
Increased self-esteem. Meeting fitness goals does wonders for our relationship with ourselves. The more positive our relationship with ourselves, the better our relationships with others.
The Y Wellness Initiative is a nonprofit organization through the Ridgewood YMCA, serving many communities in Bergen and Passaic Counties. Our mission is to positively impact mental wellness through services, education, prevention and support.
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