Exercise in isolation
August 19, 2021
lady doing yoga

I am writing this as I near the end of ten days in isolation.

Isolation is a strange experience.

Although it feels like my life is put on pause, the outside world doesn’t stop moving.

Throughout this pandemic, more and more things have been conducted remotely. But as we become more connected than ever online, we are increasingly disconnected face-to-face.

I am very fortunate, in that my housemates and I have been a great support to each other throughout our isolation. However, not everyone is so lucky. Isolation might mean that you do not speak aloud to another person for several days.

Not only is social interaction reduced, but with no commute or physical element to the working day, so is physical activity. I personally have made the effort to exercise almost every day and I want to share the benefits that I have got from it, and encourage you to exercise if you too find yourself having to isolate.

Good for your mental wellbeing
Just thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise a few times a week can help alleviate depression, and reduce anxiety and stress. I’ve found that exercise has boosted my motivation to be productive, which can be difficult during isolation.

Gives structure to your day
Maintaining a structure to the day is especially important during isolation. Try starting or finishing your working day with a workout to help separate work and rest.

Social activity
My housemates and I enjoyed exercising together, but if you live on your own, you could try exercising with a friend over video call or streaming an online class.

Get some fresh air
Fresh air is great for both the body and mind. Exercise in your garden if you have one, or crack open a window if you don’t.

Helps you sleep
Many people struggle to sleep during lockdown/isolation. Moderate-to-vigorous exercise can improve sleep quality by helping you fall asleep quicker and reducing how much you wake up in the night.

Physical health
The importance of regular exercise on physical health is well established. Why not take your period of isolation as the opportunity to make a new habit of exercising regularly.

Whether you are into HIIT, yoga or gardening, whatever physical activity you can manage will be of great benefit.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Colette Russell
Medical Student, University of Cambridge
BA Hons (Cantab)

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