Watch: Exercise and social distancing | Advice for young people

Exercise, mental health and social distancing


However we choose to be active, it's really important we remember to follow the current guidelines of social distancing

Úna, Jigsaw Clinician

Exercise is good for our physical and mental health. It’s really important to look after all aspects of our health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some of us, the word exercise can be off putting. However, it simply means to be active. It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or taking part in competitive team sports.

While some of our more traditional and well established means of exercising are temporarily unavailable to us, we need to think about exercise in a broader way. We can view exercise as any activity that gets our body moving, increases our heart rate and breathing. Read more about how exercise can impact mental health.

I try to go for a run or do some exercise everyday and remind myself it will all be over eventually.

Daniel, 23, Jigsaw volunteer, Meath

Exercise and social distancing

It doesn’t matter how we go about being active. Even within a 2 km radius of home we can be creative and resourceful about the ways we exercise. Walking, cycling, gardening and running are just some ideas. The key is to find a physical activity that we enjoy.

Whatever we choose, we need to follow the current guidelines of social distancing. This means keeping  2 metres between us and other people, even when we are exercising. If we go outdoors to exercise, we should avoid crowded places.

Within our homes we have lots of opportunities to be active. Such as:

  • Youtube videos; from Yoga and Tai Chi to cardio and strength training using your own body weight
  • How many times a day do you go up and down the stairs? Set a target and increase this each day
  • Use a box or a ledge to try step ups
  • Use water bottles or milk cartons as at home weights
  • Some chores can double up as exercise opportunities. Vacuuming or tidying our bedroom it can be a real work out
  • Set up an obstacle course in the garden, if you have one
  • Turn up your favourite music and dance the day away. Really, like no one’s watching.

Read more about coping with the impact of Coronavirus

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