Exercise can be, depending on the many variables, associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression. It for sure is not the end all-be-all for mental health, but if it is something that you find helpful, it can be really important to maintain as something you ~do~ during the current stressful climate. Additionally, we know that stress over the long term may have effects on suppressing our immune system when acute stress becomes chronic (months-years). Exercise may also have a link with boosting the immune system over a lifetime, but that is a tentative link. Let it be known here, though, exercise is NOT the thing that will protect you from a virus (neither will that gimmicky tea. WASH YOUR HANDS.).
Overall, what we know is this: movement, when done mindfully and with a sense of respect and kindness towards our bodies, can be helpful towards our physical and mental health. As someone who is in training to hopefully (some day!! In many years!!) be working in the mental health field and as someone who is currently certified in teaching group fitness, I recognize how important this part of life is to many people. Right now, there is a lot of talk about isolating and staying away from public-use places—theatres, sports, and yes, the sweaty and not-always-super-sanitary gym where everyone touches the same things. Right now, avoiding contact as much as possible seems to be the best course of action (this being said in concurrence with recent CDC recommendations and predictions of the disease course). With that on our minds, many of us are doing the good-civilian thing of protecting everyone in our communities (ourselves, our families, and those who have chronic conditions or are >65 years old) of avoiding these places, including the gym.
But you’re stressed.
And something that helps that stress is a workout.
But working out means going to the gym which you can’t, which makes you EVEN MORE STRESSED.
I know. It’s a l o t right now.
Because as a medical student on clinical rotations I usually have an odd schedule, I’m familiar with the world of online resources/videos for workouts. Here, I’ve compiled a list of free online videos/workout instructions by type, equipment needed, and general mood/desires. I hope this is helpful for anyone who feels stuck.
Tomorrow, I will be posting about good resources for mental health and higher-anxiety times that can be accessed online, so we can take care of our brains AND our bodies these next few weeks.
Take care, together.
If you like Zumba in real life you’ll like…
- The Fitness Marshall Dance Videos: which are both super sweaty, super good moves, and make me have to pause because I’m cracking up. Particularly this Dua Lipa One and this Britney Spears one. No Equipment Needed.
- Dance Fitness With Jessica: Very much same style as Zumba for cardio except again, maybe better??? I like this Taki Taki one especially. No equipment.
If you like music but not dancing you can try:
- Madfit: who does awesome workout challenges all the time to pop songs, in addition to full body strength. The individual song workouts don’t need any equipment—I really like this *Motivating* one. No equipment.
- Blogilates: who has SO many good workouts, but was also one of the OG song challenge workout instructors. Try her original: Call Me Maybe Squat Challenge. No equipment.
If you just REALLY need to move and zen out:
- Yoga with Adriene: Has such a wealth of both calming and power yoga videos. She does a series every January of a month of free classes online. Fittingly, this year’s series was Home.
- Alo Yoga: Is an online subscription service, but has tons of full length free classes and in light of recent events, uploaded many more full, free classes from power yoga to barre to anything. *Updated*.
If you have a dumbbells/cans:
- Whitney Simmons, Queen of “It’s a beautiful day to be alive: super funny, super optimistic, and actually real about life balance. She has great only dumbbell strength workouts here and here, and a bunch of amazing HIIT or interval body weight workouts on her instagram.
- Tone it Up: One of the other (with blogilates) original fitness youtube channels. Tons of free workouts!
- Popsugar: This account is awesome: basically a free, full length class in anything you could possibly want, including really hip classes from LA and NYC.
- Love Sweat Fitness: Another youtuber who posts 10-15 minute workout videos, often with no to little equipment.
If you need someone who is kind & a spot of light to move with and you like barre classes:
- @EmDeers on instagram has some movement and stretches for afterwork/when you’re tired. I follow her on Obé (great online workout classes but not free!), and she brings me joy each and EVERY time.
Hopefully, these resources can get you started on places to find good, nourishing movement to help you get out of worries and into a place that feels okay to be. Let me know if you know of any other good sources I can include here that you find to be particularly nourishing, so we can all know of them as a community!
With you through the internet,