Written by Whitney Sharp, MPH, RD and posted by Dante Viscarra
Finding ways to exercise right now can be challenging because many gyms are closed. Even if they are not, you might not be ready to return to one. Even with the need to maintain physical distancing, it is important to get regular exercise. Exercise is great for overall health, the immune function, and maintaining mental health and decreasing stress—all of which are especially important to take care of ourselves during the pandemic.
There are many free yoga, fitness and dance classes on YouTube. The MSCR account has a ton of videos as well. Call some friends and (virtually) try a new one each day. You might find a new activity you would never have tried before! Even without a friend, online classes can be a fun way to sweat and burn some calories without having to leave your house.
Looking for a change of scenery? There are many options in and around Madison to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Taking a brisk walk, going for a bike ride, or doing some stretches outside in the fresh air can be wonderful for your mental health and can be great ways to spend time with your family or household members. Most local parks, playgrounds and the Vilas Zoo are all reopening with new guidelines to keep everyone safe. There are many state parks just outside of Madison that offer hiking opportunities. Olbrich Gardens is now open and a wonderful place to spend time when you’re in the mood for some tropical plants. If you enjoy being on the water, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) or canoeing are great ways to enjoy some “physically distant” activity with the whole family.
Whatever activities you choose, make sure to stay healthy and hydrated by stretching before (and after) and continuing to drink water throughout. By making exercise as a regular part of your routine, you will enjoy the benefits to your mind and body and protect your health and your loved ones too.