Keep fit, stay safe: Advice for finishing the semester strong

Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Photo courtesy of Sarah Moore

Staying active is important, not only for your physical health, but your mental health too. And with so much uncertainty in all our lives right now, health is more important than ever. As the Winter Semester draws to a close, Dr. Sarah Moore, a Douglas College Therapeutic Recreation instructor, encourages you to stay active, get outside and find enjoyment in leisure during self-isolation.

Time to de-stress

“Physical activity is crucial during times of stress – which may be on overdrive right now. You may be feeling less productive and finding it harder to focus right now, which is completely normal,” says Moore, “Give yourself some grace, try to add some structure and routine to your day and add activity, leisure and the outdoors – it will give you a boost.”

Moore says that adding activity into your daily routine at home while in isolation will help you find some mental clarity and focus as you finish up your final assignments and exams.

“We know that adults need to be active every day to promote good physical and mental health,” Moore says. “Scheduling exercise into your daily regimen is well worth the effort. Studies have demonstrated that physical activity may help decrease feelings of stress and anxiety, improve academic performance, and promote better sleep in college students.”

Stay informed

If you choose to pursue outdoor activity, Moore has a few recommendations: “The first step is to check your local health guidelines before going out, which are changing very rapidly. Recommendations currently include keeping at least two metres (six feet) from others, not using outdoor gym equipment or community centres and washing hands frequently. If you choose to go hiking, don’t take any unnecessary risk and please avoid backcountry trails.”

Do what you love

Whether you are transforming your dining room into a workout studio or stretching on your patio, Moore offers some suggestions for finding an activity you enjoy.

“If you’re permitted to go outside, take a walk around the block or somewhere that isn’t crowded, challenge others to activity using your fitness tracker app, ride your bike or make a circuit training course in your backyard – try to get moving every day,” says Moore. “If you’re inside, try an online yoga or exercise class, join an online dance party and break up your study time with standing and walking – there are lots of creative ways to keep moving.”

Dr. Moore feels that with the world in crisis management, the benefits of physical activity may feel like a secondary priority.

“But fresh air and physical activity can help to reduce the effects of this crisis as you finish off your semester,” she says. ”So, be compassionate with yourself and find a physical activity that you enjoy. Oh, and wash your hands.”

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