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No gym? No problem!
Though many national chain gyms and fitness studios have shut their doors in the fight against COVID-19, you can still get in a good sweat session by heading out into the great outdoors. Whether you’re partial to walking, running or cycling, outdoor exercise is an excellent way to boost immune health and combat coronavirus-related anxieties — just as long as you're still maintaining good social-distancing practices.
In a conversation with Fox News, celebrity trainer and health expert Juliet Kaska explained why it’s more important than ever to get outdoor exercise during the outbreak, and shared a few tips for how to sneak in a workout in these trying times.
Kaska is a Los Angeles-based trainer whose clientele includes Kerry Washington, Pink, Ali Larter and Kate Walsh. A dual-certified personal trainer from the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine, she is a second-generation master Pilates teacher, Dharma Mittra-trained yoga instructor and Vionic Innovation Lab member.
FOX NEWS: During the ongoing pandemic, why is it essential for people of all ages to get enough exercise and time outdoors?
Kaska: I always advocate for individuals to get exercise, to eat healthy and to get outdoors. This season it is paramount for our physical and emotional health.
Exercise is one of the fundamentals of keeping a healthy balanced body. A healthy body will have a strong immune system, [which] defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting a protective immunity. In other words, you will be less likely to get the common seasonal flus and colds. Similarly, when a healthy body does get the common illness it is better prepared to fight the infection.
FOX NEWS: What are some of the benefits of outdoor exercise that indoor exercise does not offer?
Kaska: When we take exercise outdoors, we get the benefits of building or maintaining a healthy body with the added punch of:
- Natural Vitamin D. Imperative to a strong immune system, Vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection, studies say.
- Improved mood. Being outdoors and in natural light lifts our mood by boosting the production of dopamine. Especially for those that suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Dopamine is a pleasure hormone – the more you produce the better you feel.
- Increased creativity. Spending time in the outdoors increases creativity by 81 percent. If you have children, take them outside to spark creativity and learning. Many parents are having to homeschool at this time. Take the classroom outdoors, by taking a “Socratic walk” in the park.
- Fresh air. Fresh air is believed to support the digestion of food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate… leading to a healthier, stronger body.
- Creating calm. Being outdoors regularly calms your nerves, leading to decreased levels of anger and hostility.
- Relieving cabin fever. After [at least] two or more weeks being stuck indoors, you will get cabin fever. It’s inevitable. The instant cure is to get outdoors and move!
FOX NEWS: During the ongoing outbreak and its unique challenges, how can people find the time to get moving outside?
Kaska: It may be harder for people to put their work down or drag themselves away from the 24-hour news cycle, in light of the ever-changing updates. Here are some suggestions on how to get yourself up and out:
- Go for a walk right after breakfast -- it will also help you metabolize your meal. If you do it first thing in the morning, you enjoy your dopamine bursts throughout the day.
- Take kids for walks, to parks, to the beach.
- Set up a daily virtual walk with friends using Google Hangout or an audio conference line.
- Set a reminder alert on your phone to get up and get outside.
FOX NEWS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Kaska: I’d like to say it’s also great and beneficial to just go outside and just sit. Bring a book or a journal, leave the Netflix at home. Take a nap in your backyard. Get some fresh, air, sit quietly and listen to nature.
This simple act will feel so good to your soul. Stay healthy and positive. Stop the spread of negativity. Stop the spread of the virus.