Adding cooler temperatures to the pandemic is pushing even more people indoors. But even though being in your home might reduce your risk of COVID-19, it doesn’t exactly promote health.
Less activity is never a good thing. This is why the government of Canada recently released the first-ever 24-hour movement guidelines for living a healthy and active life.
The CBC reported the Public Health Agency of Canada is suggesting people:
- Spend a maximum of 8 hours per day sedentary. This includes things like sitting to watch television, reading, chatting on the phone, or anything in an inactive, seated position.
- A maximum of three hours of screen time (TV, social media, tablet, smartphone, etc.)
- 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (sweat-inducing, brisk walk, cycling, dancing, etc.)
- Several hours of light exercise per day (standing, leisurely walk, dusting, any light activity where you’re not sitting)
- Movement that challenges balance (if 65+). This can include movements like walking backward, sidestepping, dancing, squatting, etc.
- 7–9 hours of sleep per night.
These guidelines should help you stay on top of physical and mental health during the fall and winter.
It’s easy to move to the sofa if the pandemic has interfered with your regular exercise routine. That can have some pretty substantial impacts on your health. Aside from the associations linking sedentary living to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other physical illnesses, it’s important to pay attention to mental health.
These days, sitting often involves consuming news rapidly that can make your head spin, promote anxiety, and lead to depression. Taking a break for some activity can be a major prevention method.
So, what can you do if the gym or community center is closed? Stay close to home. You can get plenty of exercise in your neighborhood. Getting out for a few walks around the block each day can add up.
Just be sure to wear shoes with good treads and go during daylight hours.
Using a standing desk for computer time, setting designated screen hours, and coming up with a daily routine with programmed reminders can help you achieve the recommendations outlined above.
Regular daily activities, like vacuuming, dusting, gardening, and other chores all contribute to activity totals. Throwing on your favorite album for a little dance party can also add a good quick sweat into your week.
Try getting as much activity as possible each day while staying within your limits. As activity becomes a regular part of your life, you’ll be able to go longer at a greater intensity to achieve even more benefit.