Actively Confined

March 29, 2020Louis Tay

More countries are advising people to shelter-in-place to stem the spread of the coronavirus. For many of us, it can feel restrictive and confining. Among many disruptions we face, it is also a disruption to our physical wellness routine.

This disruption to our physical wellness is significant amidst COVID-19. Research shows that regular and moderate levels of physical exercise can help promote healthy immune functioning and reduced sickness. It is recommended by the CDC that we exercise about 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week.

Yet, how can we keep active while being confined?

Here are a couple of suggestions:

First, adopt positive reframing and recognize that any event can be viewed in a positive or negative light. Recognize that setbacks and change can be a catalyst for positive growth. While there are significant challenges, it is an opportunity to try out new forms of physical activity. Some of this might be through the use of exercise videos, bodyweight exercises at home, or even connecting with friends to engage in virtual exercise.

Second, research on physical activity shows that beyond the intention to exercise, it is also important to have specific plans in place. A longitudinal experiment revealed that when people were tasked to have an action plan (where, when, and how to exercise), they were more likely to have higher levels of physical exercise. This means that putting in a time, place, and location and the type of exercise on our calendars can help us get active. Moreover, when people were tasked to an action plan and a coping plan they were even more likely to engage in greater levels of physical exercise. A coping plan involves recognizing possible roadblocks to physical exercise and specific coping responses (e.g., ‘When I feel tired and would rather stay in bed, I will call my friend up to keep me accountable to exercise’).

We are confined - but let's be actively confined.

Dr. Louis Tay

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Check back each week for his wellness tip of the week!





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