How does it do this? When you exercise, you pump blood through your system quicker. Therefore, you push your white blood cells – the cells that help fight infection – through your body faster, meaning they can be more effective at doing their job. Research recommends 30 min of daily exercise a day to help gain the benefits (WebMD, 2019).
But, like many things you can do that are ‘good’ for you. You can also do too much. Overdoing exercise can also work against your immune system. Too many hours in the gym and extreme workouts can reduce the number of white blood cells you have, therefore compromising your immune system. So, unless you are training for something in particular that requires the intensity and duration (and your guided by a professional), then no need to over do it and undo the goodness.
It is also important to be mindful that if you are feeling ill, then you may wish to look at downgrading the intensity (if only feeling mild symptoms) or having a rest day (especially important if running a temperature) to help fight off the infection.
So, many of us are now facing the prospect of spending more time at home in the wake of current circumstances. This means that potentially you can’t visit your favourite gym, aquatic center, yoga class due to being closed down or if you aren’t lucky enough to have an at home gym set up. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise!
Here are some tips for things you can do, when your normal routine can't happen:
- YouTube workout – We don’t mean watch YouTube! We want to get you moving. And now, YouTube is buzzing with new additions of at home workouts you can try from yoga, PIlates, core and everything in between which is perfect if you don’t have an at home gym set up.
- Social Media – have a look through social media for some motivation. Groups like Lululemon are now running live yoga sessions which you can watch through Instagram and other channels to help keep you motivated.
- Set a goal – now is the perfect time to spend some more time on a fitness goal. It might be to do the splits, improve flexibility, stretch daily, hold a plank for 1 minute etc. Use the extra time to try to achieve this each day.
- You can still go outside – If you are isolating at home due to illness then best to avoid this one, but if you are taking precautionary measures like working from home, then you can still venture out. Just maintain the social distancing standards and probably go solo. This means, you can go for a walk or run. Anything from hill repeats, your favourite loops, trail running, beach running and stair climbing are great to increase the heart rate.
- Place a reminder into your daily calendar to get moving. Every 30 minutes you should at least get up and stretch, then set an actual 30-minute window into your day for something a little more-high intensity (ideas above)
Here is a weekly calendar you can try out for at home sessions and some suggestion sessions.
– Yoga – flow session + start working on a goal you select (like the plank, or X number of pushups) here is a YouTube yoga session https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEYSO-Tc2Go
– Outside! A light jog. If you can find some decent stairs or hill, add in 5x hill repeats (you can reduce to a walk) before running home. Don’t forget to do some stretching when your back
Indoor body weight workout – Here are a couple of ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AVAQdln2LU
Don’t forget to add in a quick practice of your new set goal.
– Rest day – you have probably shocked the body a little with the change up. Use today to do some selfcare with some stretching, rolling, self-massage.
– leg day – at home exercises https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCa8R9II8F0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkXaL_jDek
– Back outside – This time, lets go for a jog, but add in some speed work too. When you see a guidepost, use it to sprint to the next one (they shouldn’t be more then 100m apart), walk to the next and then sprint again. Repeat 5-10 times depending on your level. Jog home.
Don’t forget a quick practice of your new set goal + a stretch after your session
– Yoga or PIlates; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWQmMTr6eM
*These suggestions do not take into account your personal physical situation needs or requirements. With all workouts, we advise consulting a medical professional before commencing.
WebMD Medical Reference (2019), ‘Exercise and the Flu,’ Webmd, https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/exercise-when-you-have-the-flu
St.LukesHealth Brand Ambassador
Exercise, it’s forever been one of the best ways to help maintain your health. From improving your cardiovascular system, maintaining a healthy weight, releasing endorphins (the feelgood hormone), improving your focus and alertness, but it also helps to boost your immune system.