How to Stay Active When Stuck at Home

Sara Alouh, Writer

While everyone stays at home self-isolating, it can be difficult to continue being active like we used to. It is easy to neglect our bodies when sitting around the house all day is all that seems available to us, but keeping up regular physical activity is essential during this time. 

Staying active is crucial for students stuck at home to maintain their mental health. Exercise has been proven to increase endorphins–the “happy” chemical in the brain. 

“I would say you want to try to keep moving as much as possible,” said Jessica Viertlboeck, assistant director of fitness at the UM-Flint Recreation Center. “We want to just try to be mindful that we do need to get up off the couch.”

To stay active, students can do many exercises while self-isolating. Cleaning and doing chores around the house, for example, is a great way for students to move their bodies and get some cardio in. Walking around your neighborhood every day may seem simple, but can have more benefits than expected. 

“If you feel comfortable enough to go outside … as long as you’re keeping your social distance from people, getting fresh air can be very important,” said Viertlboeck. 

Though most students probably don’t have weight training equipment at their home, they can still get their gains. Body weight exercises are strength training activities that use a person’s own weight and don’t require any special equipment. These include exercises like push-ups, burpees, lunges and squats that target specific muscle groups. 

Yoga, another activity Viertlboeck recommends, can also be very beneficial to both mental and physical health. There are many different types of yoga at different intensities that people can explore and find what’s right for them. Youtube is a great resource for finding free yoga lessons and educational videos. 

“Yoga is great for strength, for flexibility and for kind of the meditational piece. And all of those mental, physical, emotional, all of those components come together,” said Viertlboeck. “To just take your time and clear your mind and get into the moment for meditation, it is wonderful.” 

To keep yourself accountable, Viertlboeck suggests keeping track of daily exercises in a journal, whether physical or in an app. 

Maintaining a healthy diet is also important. Viertlboeck recommends eating foods that are rich in vitamin C and zinc for a stronger immune system. 

Increasing the amount of water we drink is also paramount to our health. Viertlboeck suggests drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should aim to drink at least 100 ounces of water daily. Hot tea is also recommended for its antioxidant properties. 

“What we don’t want to do is sit on the couch and eat junk food … because we’re bored or because it’s right there and it’s convenient … So we want to get moving. We want to try to boost our immunity with fruits and vegetables and make sure we’re drinking our water,” said Viertlboeck.

As of right now, it is uncertain when the Rec Center will be open again for students and community members. Viertlboeck says that once campus opens again, the Rec Center will, as well. 

In the meantime, Facilities and Operations have done an extensive cleaning of the equipment, tables, chairs and classrooms. When the Rec Center opens its doors again, it will be safe to utilize and will comply with any guidelines from the university and the state. 

For more resources, demonstrations and information, visit the Rec Center’s Instagram and Facebook profiles.