How much should we be exercising at home to help us during the coronavirus?
On March 16, we kicked off the “Cozy Up” Excy challenge to make exercising at home during the coronavirus crisis a little easier. The goal has been to show a little of everything Excy has to offer. This ranges from chair cycling, to floor cycling, to cardio and strength training done from standing, sitting, and lying down positions. We have primarily focused on leisure to moderate aerobic and anaerobic activity. As fans of high intensity interval training, we mix in bursts of vigorous exercise and muscle-strengthening exercises.
Here’s the “Cozy Up” Exercise Challenge on YouTube
At Excy, we encourage all to follow the recommendations for physical activity by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines demonstrate that the benefits of physical activity generally outweigh the risk of adverse outcomes for all. But, when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, no one truly knows, hence the name “Novel Coronavirus.”
Can Regular Exercise Protect Us Against COVID-19?
There is some research that shows that regular exercise could protect against COVID-19, but thorough research is still inconclusive. Research in exercise immunology does suggest moderate exercise may improve immune function and potentially reduce risk and severity of respiratory viral infections. However, the same research suggests that repeated strenuous exercise suppresses immune function and that prolonged intense exercise causes immunosuppression.
Given this research and the novel nature of COVID-19, we’re asking you to consider keeping your intensity levels to a moderate level while exercising at home during the coronavirus crisis. Also, to give yourself a pat on the back for all physical activity, especially when you move more and sit less. Celebrate all movement like you just accomplished a personal record. If you love vigorous exercise, we’re asking you to sprinkle in short bursts of vigorous activity and to not overdue it.
The Difference Between Moderate and Vigorous Exercise
According to the CDC, if you’re doing moderate activity, you can talk but not sing during activities like the following:
- Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
- Water aerobics
- Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on primarily flat or level terrain without hills
- Tennis (doubles)
- Ballroom dancing
- General gardening
The CDC defines vigorous activity, as not being able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath during activities like the following:
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
- Aerobic dancing
- Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster that may include hills
- Jumping rope
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
Examples of Moderate Excy Exercises During our COVID-19 Challenge
Examples of Vigorous Excy Exercises During our COVID-19 Challenge
Embrace a Lifestyle of Regular Moderate Exercise
We originally started our COVID-19 “Cozy Up” exercise challenge when the White House initiated its national 15 Days to Slow the Spread campaign. It then shifted to a 30 Days to Slow the Spread initiative for a total of 45 days. We’re now on day 37 of the Excy challenge, and 95 percent of Americans are still under some form of stay-at-home order. We are weeks, if not months away (depending on where you live), until gyms open and even our city, state, and national parks open for us to return to the outdoors.
We are on a mission at Excy to open up access to exercise to all, and that means those who are fitness beginners, to elite athletes, the disabled, and for those who have health conditions and are injured. Now is the time to focus on creating a regular moderate exercise routine. This level of intensity is what’s needed to help boost your immune system and the body’s defense against infections, even in isolation. Whatever approach you take, you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
We’ll be back to normal soon cycling with our friends soon!