Staying Active During the Pandemic? Why Not?


By: M. Afif Fadly
Translation by: Gregoria Mayang

“Healthy mind dwells in a healthy body.”
While a clear distinction is often made between ‘body’ and ‘mind’, physical and mental are interconnected. The two should not be thought of as separate for poor physical health can lead to increased risk of developing mental health problems and vice versa.
Physical activities and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain fit and calm and continue to protect your health during the pandemic. Why are physical activities important, particularly during this time? It is important for people of all ages to be as active as possible. Regular physical activities improve blood circulation and muscle activities as well relieve mental tension. This, in turn, helps prevent virus infections after stronger immune system. Having regular exercise sessions benefits not only us, but also our loved ones.
World Health Organization (WHO) has campaigned #HealthyAtHome by doing physical activities in pandemic time. According to WHO, regular exercises give benefit for not only physical health but also mental health.
Regular exercises and strict implementation of health protocol must go hand in hand. This is to continue flattening the curve of COVID-19 spread. Minister of Youth and Sports has released handbill Number 6.11.1/Menpora/VI/2020 Tahun 2020 to regulate physical activities under Minister of Youth and Sports.
Yet, is it possible to remain active while working or studying from home? It goes without saying. At the moment, maintaining an exercise routine at home can seem more like a ‘should’ than a ‘want to’. The following are types of home-based exercises you can try while staying at home. They are easy, and free!

1. Jumping Jack
This exercise can be done anywhere and at any time.
Tools : You won’t need any tools in particular; just a pair of comfortable shoes
Benefits : Preventing heart disease; strengthening tight muscles, calf muscles, buttocks muscles, and the muscles of shoulders.
Steps :
– Stand with both legs straight and with both hands on the side.
– Jump by spreading both legs and hands to the top almost touching
– Jump again by putting down both hands and going back to the starting position.

2. Jump rope
Also known as skipping rope, this exercise is similar to jumping jack.
Tools : A jump rope
Benefits : Increasing body coordination, keeping heart health, and strengthening leg muscles.
Steps :
– Stand firmly with both hands grabbing the rope. The rope must be hung behind the legs.
– Swing the rope using the palm hand and wrists passing over the head.
– Jump when the rope is swinging to the legs.

3. Sit Up
A sit up is a simple exercise, but it must be done correctly. There are some ways of doing sit ups. Choose the most comfortable one.
Benefits : firming the abdominals, fixing the posture, and increasing flexibility.
Steps :
– In a position of laying down, bend the knees by putting the feet on the floor. The width of the legs is as wide as the width of the hips.
– Both hands hold the back of the head forming an angle.
– Exhale, then push the upper part of the body until it is straight.
– Inhale, go back laying down.
– When doing sit up, the sight must be straight to the front.

4. Yoga
There are many yoga poses you can try during the pandemic. Every pose is of different level of difficulty.
Benefits : Keeping the physical and mental health and fixing the posture of the body.
Steps : Surf Youtube for various yoga poses. Choose the easiest pose and never force yourself to do difficult pose as a beginner.


5. Plank
Plank looks simple, but it needs extra effort to consistently do this exercise.
Benefits : Fixing posture, increasing body flexibility, and firming the muscles.
Steps :
– Strengthen body facing the floor or mat.
– Hold the body with both arms forming 90-degree angle. The elbows and the tip of the feet become the foundation.
– The pose of the body must be horizontal, pull the abdominals inside.
– Hold the pose for seconds. Repeat and increase the duration of the plank regularly.

6. Cycling
Cycling can be done in the morning or evening. Consider the weather before going out; cycling under the rain or boiling hot sun may not do good to us either. Cycling in the morning could be better because the weather is fresher and the sunlight intensity is not quite high that we can prevent the UV light.

Cycling is now becoming more and more popular. Beside keeping body fitness, cycling could really be refreshing for it offers fresh clear air and beautiful views. Young and old seem to be into cycling nowadays. Although cycling can be done by all ages, there are some risks that follow. Most common one is muscle injury. This happens after the lack of the warming up.

When you are cycling, take some break periodically to do some stretching, then start over again. Put on comfortable clothes that absorb perspiration. Drink enough water to replace the bodily fluid out when cycling.

While we need to protect ourselves by minimizing activities outside, we can still give a room for some low-risk outdoor physical activities. In this case, strict implementation of health protocol should go on top of the list
Pandemic is not an obstacle to do exercises; it actually gives us all a wider opportunity to have more time exercising at home, and further motivates us to prioritize our precious health once more.
Have a great time exercising!

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