3 reasons why you should stay active during self-isolation.

During these unprecedented times of a global pandemic and social isolation, one could be excused
for not wanting to keep up their exercise routine and instead snuggle up on the couch and binge the
latest Netflix series (looking at you Tiger King).
Although spending time relaxing at home is as important as ever right now (#flattenthecurve), so too
is staying on top of your health and immune function.

Here are 3 reasons why you should stay active during self-isolation.

Firstly, recent research has shown that leading a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of
contagious (e.g. bacterial and viral infections) and non-contagious diseases (e.g. cancer), suggesting
that immune competency is enhanced by regular exercise bouts. Examples of this may include some
yoga first thing in the morning, taking the dog for a 20min walk around the block or working up a
sweat with a quick bodyweight workout. The main thing is finding a way to get your body moving
every day. Furthermore, evidence suggests that regular physical activity and frequent exercise may
limit or delay immunological aging. This means that no matter your age, exercise can benefit your
health and help you fight off infections and diseases that are commonly associated with increasing
age.

Secondly, there is evidence to support the use of exercise as a prescription for improving sleep
quality which plays a crucial role in regulating healthy immune function. We’ve all been there,
restlessly lying in bed with our mind going a million miles an hour trying to get to sleep for hours on
end. Staying active during the day and completing some form of exercise is one of the best ways to
help burn some excess energy and increase your overall sleep quality.

Finally, exercise is a great tool for managing stress and mental health during these uncertain times.
Exercise can help manage stress and anxiety by reducing levels of ‘stress hormones’ like cortisol and
adrenalin while increasing the release of endorphins commonly referred to as ‘happy hormones’.
One study found that as little as 10 minutes of physical activity can have a positive impact on our
mood and happiness. When it comes to exercising for mental health, try and find an activity you
enjoy doing. For me this might be shooting some hoops in the backyard or playing with the dog. If
you can’t think of any activities you enjoy, chuck your headphones in and listen to your favourite
album, playlist, podcast or audiobook while walking around the block or your local park.

Remember, although you may feel lonely and isolated at this time. We are all in this together. So, if
you are struggling in any way please reach out to your friends, family or health professionals who
will be able to help guide you in the direction of a healthier and happier iso life.

Liam Coghlan, AEP

References
Campbell JP, Turner JE. Debunking the myth of exercise-induced immune suppression: redefining the impact of exercise on immunological
health across the lifespan. Frontiers in immunology. 2018 Apr 16;9:648.
Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. Journal of
behavioral medicine. 2015 Jun 1;38(3):427-49.
Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology. 2012 Jan 1;463(1):121-37.
Zhang Z, Chen W. A systematic review of the relationship between physical activity and happiness. Journal of happiness studies. 2019 Apr
15;20(4):1305-22.