During the pandemic, we were left with little to do but go through our days in the confines of our homes. Lockdown protocols led to fewer and fewer opportunities for physical activity or exercise. Even our daily commutes or walk to work were no longer an option for those who transitioned to working from home.
Going to a relatively sedentary lifestyle, especially if you were highly active prior to the pandemic, can lead to fatigue, loss of strength, and unwanted weight gain. Even setting aside the physical ramifications, less physical activity also affects our mental health. Increased feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, frustrations, and agitation are all normal effects of not being able to find an outlet to let out all of your pent-up energy.
Exercise, sports, and other forms of physical activity will all look a bit different in the new normal. While close contact sports are now starting back up again, not all of us may want to jump back into things right away. The new normal is the perfect time to explore some new and fun activities you can do that get your body moving again.
Your old favorites
While there are certainly a wide variety of fun activities to do out there, your old favorites are also a great choice. Cycling studios, yoga bars, gymnastics clubs, ballet classes, circuit training, and specialty gyms have all started to open up again. Equipped with excellent health and safety protocols, you can go back to doing some workouts and sports that you love. Though we also strongly suggest trying out some new things, going back to your favorites can also help establish that sense of normalcy we had before the pandemic.
Since not all of us will be comfortable in confined public spaces right away, hikes have increasingly grown in popularity as a great post-pandemic exercise. Spending some time in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, being under the warmth of the sun again are all incredibly beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Hiking also doesn’t require a membership or much equipment. The most you’ll need is a water bottle, comfortable shoes, and an appropriate outfit for your climate. Reconnecting with nature helps relieve the new stress brought to us by the changes due to the pandemic.
Riding on buses, trains, and cabs or just public transportation, in general, can be quite the source of anxiety for a lot of us. During the pandemic, many people who needed to be outside for their jobs actually started riding bikes to work. It served a dual purpose, getting them to where they needed to be while also squeezing some exercise in. Biking also improves your strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. It’s a low-impact workout that also lets you get some fresh air without having to go too far out of your regular routine.
While yoga may not be the go-to for those of us looking for more high-intensity workouts, it’s great for a variety of reasons. Yoga allows you to slowly transition into being active again, as jumping into things too quickly can lead to injury. Yoga improves your flexibility, balance, muscle strength and tone, respiration, and overall vitality. It also allows for a slower and more intentional way of moving your body; with the integration of meditation, it’s an excellent mind and body workout.
Badminton or Tennis
Close contact sports in some areas may still require testing and social distancing protocols. As such, tennis and badminton have been continuing to gain popularity. If you’re interested in playing with a friend but don’t want to get too close quite yet, these two sports are the best choices for you. They’re great because they’re played in open spaces, and both players stand quite a distance away from one another.
If you love the competition in team sports and finds a run or a hike a little too lonely, then consider trying these out. Tennis is great for developing better hand-eye coordination, lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rate, and decreasing body fat.
There currently haven’t been any reported incidents of transmission in chlorinated pools during the pandemic. As such, swimming has also become a popular option to start getting active again. Swimming is excellent because it doesn’t put as much pressure on your muscles as some other activities on the list would. While pools may still have distancing protocols, robust vaccine rollouts are also helping to get pools back to normal.
Whichever you choose from the list, know that even small steps like short walks, simple home exercises, and activities do wonders to better your mental and physical health. Make sure not to take things too fast to avoid any injuries, and also be sure to pick an activity you’ll think you’ll enjoy.