Exercise plays critical role in maintaining good health during COVID

by | Feb 5, 2021 | News

Exercise has many health benefits, but it’s especially true while people are confined because of the coronavirus pandemic, helping them maintain mental and physical well being, experts say.

Research from Mayo Health Clinic found exercise combats health conditions, diseases and helps prevent many health concerns including stroke, Type-2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Jonathan Wade, a health and fitness trainer with LA Fitness and Goodlife Fitness, said the biggest issue is the carbohydrate-rich North American diet coupled with long periods of sitting and a lack of routine exercise.

Wade said people sitting through pandemic and poor postures causes upper and lower crossed symptoms. Strength and training exercises help alleviate muscle tension, pain and tightness caused by poor sitting and posture mistakes.

“When you are strength training you are strengthening resistance, emotions, and the controlled environment within your life,” he said.

Wade said proper strength training improves cortisol levels which helps in metabolism, reducing stress, muscle building and weight management.

“Resistance training gets you in control mentally and physically, helps combating what we’re dealing with daily,” he said.

WHO launched its “Every Move Counts” campaign with the guidelines for all adults to do a minimum of 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week as it is vital for well-being and mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Increasing physical activity not only helps prevent and manage heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and cancer, it also reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduces cognitive decline including Alzheimer’s and improves memory,” Ruediger Krech, WHO director for health promotion, said at a news briefing.

A study by the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatoon found out that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted university students’ mental and physical health.

The study released earlier this month found staying indoors and poor dietary habits poses a greater risk to their overall health and well being.

Peter Agafie, a fitness coach, and independent personal trainer with Goodlife Fitness said exercise has many health benefits. Regular exercise and staying active especially during pandemic are of utmost importance to maintain mental and physical well being.

Agafie said even small amounts of mild to moderate exercise helps a great deal. A little bit of exercise, workouts, squats, lunges, push ups drips, treadmills, goes a long way.

“Fitness is not a choice it is a necessity. Stop making excuses you can do this what do you have to lose,” he said.

Sophie Hotchkiss, a fitness expert, and personal trainer with Endurance Performance said the whole world of fitness entails different pathways. Movement is important: walking, aerobics, biking, push ups, pilates, strength training, these are unlimited pathways to dive into.

Hotchkiss said regular exercise and sticking to a schedule is especially important for mental and physical well being.

“Brain releases endorphins when we exercise it helps with depression, anxiety and helps elevating mood,” she said.

Bernedette Ho, a fitness manager with Fit Factory Fitness Toronto, said health is the top priority around pandemic. Bootcamp – a mix of aerobics and strength training, hit classes, moderate to high intensity interval training helps boost metabolism, building strength, burn more calories to help in weight management.

Ho said exercise improves mental health, reduce depression, negative mood swings, improve self-esteem and cognitive functions.