Many things have changed over the past few months about the way Americans live, including how we workout. By the end of March, which for many marked the beginning of shutdowns, Google searches for home workouts increased by more than 500 percent from just three weeks prior. As a registered dietitian, I was excited to see this dedication to exercise amid stressful times since physical activity can benefit our health in many ways, including helping to manage stress and anxiety. If you have not hopped on the home workout bandwagon, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Some is better than none. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, plus at least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles. The important thing to remember is even if you cannot meet these recommendations, any improvement in activity levels is a good start.
- Find what works for you. The goal is to find something that is enjoyable and easy to do at home. Going for a walk, riding a bike, or even mowing the grass are all good options. If you love to watch TV, check out this ten-minute workout outline posted by the American Heart Association that you can do during commercial breaks.
- Use your resources. The internet makes it possible to stream live or pre-recorded exercise classes with the click of a button. Be mindful of your fitness level when choosing a class and start slow. Try a variety of classes to prevent boredom and learn what you like best.
- Maximize your benefits. Protein plays an important role in muscle repair after exercise. Low-fat dairy foods, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, can be an easy and delicious way to get in that muscle-repairing protein after working out. Plus, milk is a multi-tasker! In addition to providing 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8-ounce glass, it will also keep you hydrated while active. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it even outperformed sports drinks!
To feel great and improve your health while stuck at home, use these tips to ease into a more active lifestyle. And do not forget the benefits of nutritious dairy for refueling!
* People with certain risk factors should consult with their doctor before starting an exercise program