This content is brought to you in partnership with OrthoCarolina, one of the nation's leading orthopedic practices with offices across the Southeast. 

Different states (and even different cities!) are determining when and how to move back toward reopening as we navigate COVID-19. On an individual level, that leaves each of us with a bit of uncertainty. 

Even if you're totally ready to jump back into business as usual, chances are that the stipulations in place for public safety will still require you to spend a bit more time at home than you usually would, for the time being.

And if that makes you feel so bored and unmotivated you could just flop down on the bed and take a nap instead, you're not alone!

So, we spoke to OrthoCarolina physical therapist Karys Mawyer to learn a bit more about why now more than ever, it's important to have an at-home workout routine in place — and how to keep it up even when you're feeling listless or unenergized. 

 

Spoilers: This Isn't Just About Your Physical Health

While the word 'physical' is quite literally in her job title, you might be surprised to learn that the physical benefits of a home exercise regimen weren't the first that Mawyer mentioned. 

"I know it’s not my field, but I think one of the top reasons to stay fit from home during the pandemic is mental health," she said. "Studies over the past decade have shown that physical activity helps to reduce stress and anxiety. With changes in our jobs, kids being home, being out of normal routine, and unable to participate in all of our usual community activities, we need ways to manage stress and anxiety."

Aside from the mental health component, Mawyer did note that many of the comorbidities that are causing complications in this pandemic are related to inactivity.

"Staying active improves heart function, improves lung function, helps regulate blood sugar, and improves sleep. Reduce your risk of getting sick and reduce your risk of complications by staying active and healthy," she put it simply.

Of course, it is common to feel tired when we sit around a lot. So, how to combat that sluggishness? 

"If you’re feeling tired and unmotivated, go do something active for 10 minutes and then come back to your work more alert and energized," Mawyer suggested. 

 

What If You're Bored Of All The At-Home Workouts You've Already Heard About & Tried?

As zillions of blog posts and podcasts have already conveyed since this pandemic began: there are so many exercises you can do to stay fit from home, even without any equipment. But as it turns out, the most effective activity for you to choose might just be... one that you don't hate doing.

"I typically encourage my patients to pick something they like to do — you will be much more compliant with an exercise regimen if you are doing activities you like to do," Mawyer explained. "Many gyms and health resources are posting videos of everything from yoga to pilates to spin classes! If you are bored with doing squats, lunges, and push ups, or tired of spending seemingly endless time on a stationary bike, pull up some of these videos. You could even Zoom/FaceTime with a friend and make it a group activity to make it more fun."

Mawyer also reminded us that 'fit from home' means 'fit in a safe, socially distant environment.' 

"We live in or near the mountains. Take advantage of all of the trails and outdoor recreation opportunities we have," she suggested. 

 

What Even Qualifies As 'Staying Fit,' Though?

"The CDC updates its guidelines regularly for physical activity — but current recommendations are to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio and 2 days of strengthening each week," Mawyer said. 

Additionally, she noted that adults over 65 years old are to incorporate balance activities regularly. "Our older adults are especially at risk with inactivity, resulting in rapid strength loss and balance degradation resulting in loss of independence," she warned.

"For those of us who are younger, do what you love, but try to be well balanced rather than only doing one type of activity," Mawyer added. "Overuse injuries arise if you only do one type of activity repeatedly."

 

Learn More About Making Healthy Choices From the Experts at OrthoCarolina

Whether you've recently experienced an injury, need help with recovery after tough workouts, or are simply experiencing chronic pain and need help managing it, OrthoCarolina can help. Make an appointment at a location near you to start getting the treatment you need.