The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immediate impact on our lives. As we have locked down our families and kept our distance we have reduced the risk of catching the virus. Despite our current success in Australia, there are side effects that come from social isolation.
Mental health is a real concern and it is not uncommon for people to feel lonely, anxious, or depressed. If you are experiencing these symptoms, there is help available through Beyond Blue’s Mental Health Service.
To help combat anxiety and depression, exercise can be beneficial. If you have any pain or need assistance, an experienced physiotherapist will be able to offer advice and treatment to ensure you can workout safely.
To get you started we take a look at the best exercises for people struggling with isolation:
Running is often recommended for weight loss, but it is also a great way to clear your mind. As your feet hit the ground, the rhythmic movement is calming and those happy endorphins will go straight to your head.
Running outdoors will get you out of the house, and besides the appropriate footwear you don’t need any equipment or memberships to get started. When you run regularly you will feel better inside and out! Running can be a solo activity, something you do with a friend, or even with your dog.
Cycling is another activity that will support your health and wellbeing. You will need a bike but these can often be purchased second hand for a fraction of the cost. Riding has similar benefits to running except you will be able to go a longer distance. As you move your body you will release tension and stress.
Cycling is a low impact sport and can be ideal for people with sore knees and other ailments. There is the opportunity to ride with a beach, river, or nature view, and getting out and exploring your local environment can reduce any negative feelings that are associated with isolation.
Body combat, boxing, and martial arts will make you feel strong and powerful. If you don’t have a boxing bag, body combat is a cardio activity where you kick, punch, and build up a sweat. You don’t need a partner and there are numerous workouts for free on YouTube.
This style of exercise is designed for your mind and body, and because you can do it in your lounge room it is perfect for the upcoming winter months. If body combat isn’t for you, try dance fitness, aerobics, or body step. The more you workout, the better you will feel mentally and physically.
Often people choose yoga as a way to meditate and stretch, and this can be very therapeutic. The slow pace is deceptive as yoga can be physically demanding and will tone your body as you utilise different muscles.
Pilates is an alternative to yoga, helping to strengthen the muscles while easing pain. This is a treatment often used in a physiotherapist’s toolkit and can be implemented in personal sessions or as part of a group class.
Any exercise you do should be enjoyable and suitable for your fitness levels and body type.
No matter what exercise you choose to do, it will make you feel better and can help to combat anxiety and depression.