Whether you’re someone who has just started exercising or going to the gym, or someone who has been doing it for a while, we know that lifting more weight, or lifting the same weight more times is the way to get stronger, or put on some muscle. But what happens in a time like this? When we need to stay away from enclosed and crowded spaces, avoid close contact with others or be mindful of what we touch.
The answer is simple: DON’T STOP EXERCISING!
We’re sure that some of you out there have, in one way, shape or form, come across home circuit training workouts that have been taking the internet by storm – and kudos to those that have hopped on that bandwagon. Circuit training is a great way to develop both strength and cardiovascular fitness simultaneously. I’m sure some of us out there have had a few questions – Is it safe to exercise outside? Isn’t my immune system weaker while I exercise? What exercises are effective and which ones should I be doing?
If you’re not self-isolating or feeling unwell, you can still go outside to exercise for now – bearing in mind to keep up with social distancing and good hygiene practices like washing your hands thoroughly when you get home. So walking, cycling and running are still on the menu. But if you still have doubts, moving the furniture around the living room to free up some space works too!
Many studies over the years have demonstrated the considerable physiological changes that exercise has on the immune system. So how does this happen? Studies suggest that the deep and full breathing that occurs may help to flush out your lungs and make you more resistant to respiratory infections. Exercise also helps to balance out stress hormones (ie cortisol). Stress or exercise that is too intense or too long stimulates the increased secretion of cortisol, which suppresses the immune system and leaves you more susceptible to infection.
Generally, exercises that include as many muscle groups as possible get you working the hardest and give you the most bang for your buck. The internet is full of home exercise programs but if you’re still not sure where or what to look for, we’ve put together a home exercise circuit program below to get you started. You can even do it right in the comfort of your own living room without any special equipment!
Begin by working through the routine below 3 times while performing each exercise for 45 seconds and resting for 15 seconds. The program above provides a framework and is by no means exhaustive. Depending on your fitness level, feel free to use exercise variations, change the exercise duration, rest time, numbers of sets and load (if you have dumbbells or a few milk cartons lying around!).
The bottom line is – regular, reasonable exercise is very important when it comes to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. Having said all that, don’t forget to also keep eating right, sleeping well and keeping those stress levels in check because they too contribute to keeping yourself healthy.
Alright, enough chit-chat already! Are you ready to get this show on the road???