Sponsored By and Provided by LifeBridge Health

By American Heart Association

COVID-19 has forced millions of American to work from home. Even before the pandemic, U.S. adults spent an average of six to eight hours a day being sedentary. All that sitting around brings health risks, so it’s essential to get up and move more.

READ MORE: Baltimore City Schools To Offer Weekly COVID-19 Testing For Students, Staff

With the coronavirus and winter weather causing people to reconsider their workout spot, being more physically active may mean getting creative with an exercise routine. Many people are exploring new ways to do it.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both, spread throughout the week. In addition, moderate or vigorous muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance training or weight training, is recommended twice a week. You can do that even when you’re working remotely from home.

“Take those smaller breaks throughout the day so you’re not sitting all at once,” said Deborah Rohm Young, director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. She suggests setting a timer to remember to move around for five minutes every hour or 10 minutes every two hours.

Get creative with movement at home. Many gyms and yoga studios are providing online video classes people can do at home. Other e-tools include fitness apps and YouTube videos that encourage aerobic activity, strength training, yoga and Pilates.

“One fun thing to do indoors is have a virtual Zoom dance party with friends at a certain time every week or even every day,” said Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, a holistic health counselor and CEO of Power Living Enterprises, Inc. “With the built-in social connection and a set schedule, you will be more likely to commit to it.”

Try walking. Walking is free and can be easy to work into your schedule. Mall walking is a great option when the weather is cold and blustery. It’s a safe, temperature-controlled environment with level surfaces. Just make sure to wear a mask and practice physical distancing and stay six feet apart from other walkers and shoppers.

READ MORE: Marijuana Legalization Proposed In Maryland Legislature

Walking is a great exercise and research has shown people stick to walking routines more than other forms of exercise.

Add variety. Mixing up your routine is important. Even at home, you can incorporate resistance training by using hand weights or resistance bands to improve muscle strength and contribute to lean body mass, which are important as you grow older.

Gardening, vacuuming, or cleaning out the garage are other ways to stay active at home. Your body gets the health benefits of movement, even if it’s by doing a household chore.

Focus on the benefits. Physical activity can improve heart, bone and vascular health, reduce risks of diabetes and certain types of cancers, and lower stress and improve brain health. Research has also shown a connection between exercise and reduced risk of premature death.

Spend wisely. Some spending can be worthwhile if it helps you focus on your health, but physical activity doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of filling your closet with new workout gear, invest in a good pair of athletic shoes for safety and support.

If you’re thinking of investing in home exercise equipment, first evaluate your fitness needs and goals. Consider buying small sets of equipment that match your needs before investing in complicated exercise systems. And, before you buy anything, consider the available space you have. Buy what will comfortably fit in your home or could be easily stored out of the way when it’s not in use.

Stay motivated. Consider joining a mall walking club or try online fitness classes to stay motivated and accountable.

MORE NEWS: External Cameras On Howard County Schools Buses Will Catch Drivers Who Pass Illegally

“The only limiting factor in working out at home is creativity,” said Steven Zinder, associate professor of athletic training at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. “And these days, you don’t even have to be creative. You just have to have an internet connection. There are so many videos and so many programs that you can download.”