So it is that time...again. As we go into the winter months with tighter COVID- 19 restrictions, it is getting harder for us to engage in activities that promote a healthy and active lifestyle. As you probably know, studies have shown there are many health benefits of getting regular exercise [1,2]. As recommended by the Canadian Public Health Service, we should aim to get roughly 2.5 hours of physical exercise per week which has shown to lower the risks of heart disease, diabetes, premature death, stroke and more . However, did you know regular exercise can also improve your performance at work too?
Research has shown that engaging employees in regular exercise (in their own time or having options available at work) can decrease sick leave by 25%, decrease absenteeism and increase employee productivity [3,4]. Also, regular exercise can actually lower your healthcare costs, and thus help your health coverage go further.
With most gyms closed or with limited capacity, what are some ways to stay active and meet your minimum amount of exercise? According to public health Canada even going on a walk can improve our health enough to start experiencing the benefits, as long as you do at least 2.5 hours per week . So, yes! It can be as simple as making sure you are going out for a walk regularly. There is also evidence showing there are psychological benefits of spending time outdoors each day, so spending some time outside each day is an excellent lifestyle change to embrace. However, as the weather begins to turn and get colder and the days get shorter, outdoor walks, runs, bike rides etc. may not be as appealing to us.
Early on in the pandemic, many businesses made a quick adjustment to produce work out plans or videos. If you need some inspiration to get moving here are some free (!!) resources you can try!
YMCA: The YMCA has various collections of free exercise videos including, but not limited to Yoga, Kids Activities, Bootcamp, Barre, Dance Classes and more!
Orange Theory: Orange Theory releases a free video every day with a short workout you can do at home. Even though it is only one video a day, there's nothing to say you can't do a couple videos a day!
The Body Coach: This YouTube Channel has so many different classes with different levels of difficulty, as well as length. A great channel for all ages, with classes you can also do with kids!
Fitness Blender: Fitness Blender has hundreds of classes targeting different muscle groups and exercises. Some videos do require a subscription but there are plenty of options without needing a subscription!
Nike Training Club: This is an app you can download for free, and have access to free workouts, but like Fitness Blender it also has a 'premium' option which requires a paid subscription.
Don’t forget to stretch pre and post exercising! If you are feeling sore from your exercise and want to do some quick stretches at your desk you can see our post on stretches [HERE]. Stay happy, healthy and safe!