The Importance of Physical Activity in Our New Routine

Just a couple of weeks ago we were in our normal routines. We were going to work, walking to classes, playing sports, going to the gym, and running children to all of their activities. We were active. That all changed very suddenly. All of our normal routines have been replaced with virtual classrooms, Netflix, and wrestling strangers for eggs, milk, and toilet paper at Meijer. Our base activity level has decreased. Have you adjusted for that?

Last week I asked my students to give me a thumbs up if they have been out of their house since March 13 (the last day at CLHS). I was surprised to see multiple students in each class confirm that they have not been outside. I received an even more concerning response when I asked who had taken a walk or engaged in any form of exercise since that date. It is time to establish new routines and healthy habits. This must include regular physical activity.

All of the Health and Physical Education students at Concordia Lutheran High School can tell you about the physiological benefits of being physically active. Exercise helps you to manage your weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. These benefits naturally lead to lower risks of Type II diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancers. The psychological benefits of exercise are not talked about as often, but are probably the most important at this time. Exercise is known to affect hormone levels and change the levels of chemicals in your brain. These changes help to reduce stress and anxiety, lift your mood, and improve sleep patterns. When we are filled with the stress and anxiety of the unknown, exercise can bring some relief.

It is recommended that you exercise for 30 minutes each day, but even a 10 minute brisk walk can be helpful. This would be a great time for a family activity. With the limitations of social distancing, our kids will need someone to talk to. A family walk would be a great way to accomplish this. Here is a list of activities that can easily be done on your own or with your family: walk, jog, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks, yoga, jump rope, ride a bike. How many more can you think of?

Any activity is better than no activity. So choose activities that you enjoy, like shooting a basketball or dancing to your favorite music. Our normal routine is gone for now. It is time to establish new routines and habits that will keep our families safe and healthy. Whether it is planned as alone time, or time to reconnect with family, plan to be physically active.

For more information, for “Exercise Tips to Help Kids, Teens and Families Stay Balanced at Home.”

Andy Stout,
PE Teacher