One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a sense of normal routine. If you’re working at home, and the kids are underfoot because their summer activities have been cancelled, you may have found that you’re not moving as much as you did before. Or maybe you’re only moving between your couch, your kitchen, and your bedroom—and not much farther! While making changes to your eating habits is crucial to your health and weight loss, moderate physical activity is also very important—especially during times of stress.

During phase 1, we don’t generally encourage strenuous exercise. However, gentle, moderate physical activity is allowed, and it has many health benefits, including boosting your immune system, improving your sleep, and relieving stress. If you’re struggling to stay active or you want to build a habit of moving more, here are some suggestions.

Start slow and small. Your goal could be as simple as moving for 2-3 minutes every hour, especially if physical activity has not been a part of your life (Be sure to consult your doctor if you have underlying health conditions that could affect your safety.)

Think “movement,” not “exercise,” and simply work it in whenever and wherever you can. Walking is accessible to nearly everyone, and you can do it indoors and out. You can even march in place! 

Other fun and family-friendly physical activities that will get you moving and benefit your health include:

  • Putting on music and dancing. 
  • Walking around your neighborhood or your local park
  • Going for a bike ride.
  • Gardening or doing yard work.
  • Playing physical games, such as basketball, badminton, or even active video games.
  • Trying a few yoga poses. If you’re new to yoga, go slowly and carefully so you don’t hurt yourself.

You may find you love the feeling of being active, and that’s great. But you don’t have to dedicate hours to tough gym workouts to see the benefits of increasing your physical activity. Any activity is better than no activity. Ease into exercise by slowly incorporating more movement into your day. 

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