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Don’t let coronavirus chaos stop you from exercising

Try these exercises to fight off stress and boost immunity

By Josh Jarman
Novant Health

Does the coronavirus (COVID-19) have you on edge?

Many families are reeling as they try to adjust to the new normal of schools being closed and parents working from home. As a nation, we all need a way to blow off steam, but even that’s harder now that public parks and gyms are closed.

To help combat our newfound sedentary lifestyles, Novant Health has recently launched a Made to Move Campaign aimed at using exercise to fight stress and boost immunity. Why is that important? The better you feel — and exercise is a key piece of that — the better you can potentially fight off illness.

This initiative is part of Novant Health’s Vision2020 plan aimed at improving participants’ overall health and wellness by lowering their heart age. The best part: It’s not too late to sign up!

Exercise this week at home

Matt Fortune, a sports performance trainer at Novant Health Sports Performance & Rehabilitation in Clemmons, provides several helpful exercises you can do with your family at home. Before you start, remind family members to practice social distancing by standing at least six feet apart during these exercises.

Cat and cow

Begin in a seat position with your hands on your thighs. Begin in a straight (neutral) back. Take a deep breath. On the exhale, round your spine up toward the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up toward your spine, engaging your abs. Tuck your chin toward your chest, and let your neck release. This is the cat pose.

On your inhale, arch your back and let your belly relax and go loose. Lift your head up toward the sky without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the cow pose. Continue flowing back and forth from cat pose to cow pose, and connect your breath to each movement — inhale for cow pose and exhale on cat pose. Repeat for at least 10 rounds, once in the morning, once at midday and once in the evening.

Hips

Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be placed directly under your shoulders with your knees under your hips. Lift your right leg up, bringing it up and forward. Slowly extend your leg back, raising your foot in the air before returning your knee to the ground. Repeat with each leg 10 times, twice daily.

Knees

In a seated position, support your knee with your hands by grasping just above the knee. Keep your ankle flexed as much as possible. Slowly rotate your leg into external rotation, extending your knee. When fully extended, rotate the leg internally as much as possible. Do two reps before reversing the order of the rotation for two additional reps. Repeat with opposite leg. Repeat set twice daily.

Ankles

Point your toes and rotate your ankle to the left five to 10 times before switching directions and rotating to the right five to 10 times. Repeat with opposite ankle.

Outdoor walk

Spend 15 minutes walking around the parking lot, office or neighborhood. Count how many laps (or how many blocks) you can manage while keeping the exercise at moderate intensity.

Do one. Teach one.

Pick your favorite exercise from this week and teach it to a friend or family member.

Selfie Sunday

Have an active rest day. Walk around the block. Play with your children or furry friends. Bonus: Share an exercise selfie using #NHVision2020 for a chance to win some fitness gear.

You can receive more exercise tips with instructional videos by searching for Novant Health Vision2020.