Mental health expert recommends daily exercise to help with stress, anxiety during lockdowns

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Staying locked up in your house during the coronavirus pandemic can lead to stress and anxiety, triggering other potential health issues, according to Columbia University Lab Director Carol Ewing-Garber.

“[Stress] often activates our body resources, our sympathetic nervous system cranks out a lot of adrenaline, our heart rate goes up, our blood pressure goes up, and when you hold on to that, it doesn't get resolved quickly, it can have long-term hazardous effects on your body,” Ewing-Garber told “Fox & Friends First" on Thursday.

Ewing-Garber provided tips to maintain mental health during quarantine such as daily exercise, moving around, practicing mindfulness, calling friends or family, listening to pleasant music and doing something fun.

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Meanwhile, about 94 percent of the U.S. is under “stay-at-home” orders due to the novel coronavirus, with millions having to apply for unemployment and finding themselves in situations that just a month ago seemed unthinkable.

The many unknowns surrounding COVID-19, including when this may be over, is causing stress and anxiety that many are seeing seep into their dreams, prompting the hashtag #PandemicDreams.

To avoid nightmares, experts advise removing potential triggers, which can be difficult given today’s circumstances. But it’s also important to remember that nightmares are normal occurrences.

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Ewing-Garber said that exercise -- about 30 minutes a day, ideally -- is “one of the best activities" to reduce stress and anxiety and stay healthy.

“You don’t necessarily have to do a full half-hour all at once. One of the best things you can do is break up your day and get up and move around frequently as you can and especially when you notice you’re feeling really anxious or stressed or can’t concentrate.”

Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.