Note: The following column was written by Tifani Kinard at Floyd Polk Medical Center. – KM

Tifani Kinard

Many people have been practicing social distancing and staying at home for more than two months now. To put it in perspective, that time period is longer than the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. That means many of us are going to have to figure out how to get rid of what is being called the Quarantine 15.

That’s right. Perhaps we are fighting the battle of the bulge we might normally see in January after weeks of turkey, ham and too many goodies. Maybe it’s even worse, since most gyms have closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to get serious about fitting into that bathing suit again.

So where do you begin, especially since social distancing means you may not be playing tennis or going to the gym? If you are looking for a beneficial exercise, walking is always a good place to start. And now is a good time to begin, since summer heat has not yet arrived.

Of course, to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, you’ll want to stay six feet away if you have a walking companion. So you might find yourself doing this solo. If it does get too hot, or too rainy, you can still walk at the mall. Make sure you wear your mask.

Remember, it takes some time for things to become a habit. Try walking every day for a month, if possible. If you cut down on your calories and practice brisk walking, you might find yourself feeling and looking better than you did when the stay-at-home mandates began.

The American Heart Association recommends that most adults should try for at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity activity. Walking for just a half an hour each day can satisfy that recommendation. Perhaps your schedule might make that difficult. The AHA has a few tips to help:

  • In the morning, walk for about 10 minutes before you have to be at work.
  • At lunch, walk for 10 minutes around where you work, indoors or outdoors.
  • At the end of the day, walk briskly for 10 minutes back to your car.

If your gym membership has lapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are three pieces of workout equipment that you might be able to fit in your home or apartment – a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle. Don’t rush out and buy them without trying them out and making sure you do have a way to properly store them.

Don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you begin any exercise program.

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