How Exercise Reduces Cabin Fever (Plus Home Workouts to Get Started) – BarBend


Posted: March 19, 2020 at 8:50 am

The coronavirus has caused a big pause button to be pushed on our everyday lives.

Gyms are closing, workplaces and schools are closing, and the news coverage is focused on the virus 24/7. And a lot of people have been forced to stay at home to help limit the spread.

And all this is a disaster for your stress levels which is why exercise is important in times like these.

Editors note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns.

Stress is a state of mental, emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances basically anything that alters your homeostasis.

There is what some consider good stress, which is often called eustress. This is moderate stress that makes you feel more excited than distressed. An example would be when you ride a roller coaster or get some great news.

Then theres the bad stress, more clinically referred to as acute or chronic stress. While stress is a vast topic and we dont want to risk oversimplifying it chronic stress can be exacerbated by poor diet and sleep habits, for just two examples a lot of acute or chronic stress can come from changes to ones routine or life that cause distress or anxiety. Acute stress triggers the bodys stress response, but the triggers arent usually exciting or healthy.

Chronic stress can occur when you repeatedly face stressors that take a heavy toll on your sanity. Much like the current situation we find ourselves in now.

Chronic stress is a serious health problem thats associated with many physical and mental health ailments, particularly inflammation, which can lead to hart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers disease to name just a few.(1) Its estimated that between75% and 90% of primary care physician visits are caused by stress-related illnesses.

[Related: How stress impacts your strength and muscle]

Exercise and other physical activities help produce endorphins in our brain that appear to act as natural painkillers, stress reducers, and they improve our ability to sleep.

The exact physiological mechanisms to explain this havent been proven. However, research indicates that exercise improves the way the body handles stress because of changes in the hormone responses, and the positive effects exercise has on the brain.(2)

Regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions, particularly the hippocampus, through better blood supply. That helps improve overall brain health..

The hippocampus is an area of the brain thats involved in memory, emotion regulation, learning and plays a crucial role in mental health. Theres evidence to suggest many mental health conditions are associated with reduced growth and development of nervous tissue in the hippocampus. (3)

Which makes exercise an important for your mental as well as physical health.

[Related:4 Research-Backed Ways Lifting Weights and Eating Right Improve Mental Health]

If you dont have access to a gym or youre stuck at home during this stressful time, its important to find ways to train to stay in shape, stay sane and not lose your hard-fought gains.

Here are some examples using your body and household items to keep on top of your health and cabin fever.

Do this training 2-3 days per week with 48 hours rest in between training. All of the exercises are timed sets. The work/rest periods you can pick from are as follows choose wisely.

This is a five-exercise circuit (one after the other). The exercises are:

You will complete two- four circuits (depending on how much you have in the tank on training day) for a total training time of between 10-20 minutes.

Note that other exercises can be included in the above categories. Its not an exhaustive list.

If you want something a little less intense, bodyweight tri sets work well.

Rest one minute after each circuit and do 3-5 circuits

Rest one minute after each circuit and do 3-5 circuits.

Walk for three minutes and then use the Tabata protocol (20 sec work/10 sec rest for six to eight rounds) with the following bodyweight exercises.

Find yourself some open space and get your Usain Bolt on.

Walk for three minutes and then sprint for 15 seconds (100 % effort) followed by a 15 second walk. Repeat for five work/rest intervals and then cool down with a three-minute walk.

Exercise is more than for vanity, especially during this trying time. Staying on top of your health and fight to hold on to your gains by using your body to crush stress.

Dont worry, gym time will be coming again soon.

Featured image viaShutterstock/prostock-studio

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How Exercise Reduces Cabin Fever (Plus Home Workouts to Get Started) - BarBend

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