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Making all the right moves

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Queen’s University researcher Robert Ross encourages us to stay active during trying times.

A person walks along a path in a park
A key to staying healthy while working remotely is to reduce time in front of the screen and being physically active, while practicing proper social distancing. (Unsplash / Arek Adeoye)

Self-isolation comes with its own unique set of challenges including staying fit and healthy when normal routines have been disrupted. Queen’s University researcher Robert Ross has several ideas on how to stay active during this challenging time.

“These are somber, uncertain times and, unfortunately, we have little control over what is happening,” says Dr. Ross, professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies  “The one thing we do have control over is how we take care of ourselves and this is empowering news. You have control over your own behaviours, including staying physically active.”

Dr. Ross runs the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Research Unit at Queen’s. His research is focused on obesity in adults. The lab has conducted a number of randomized trials to determine the effectiveness of lifestyle-based interventions on improving overall health.

One key area Dr. Ross says everyone should keep in mind is reducing the amount of time you are sitting, including time spent in front of screens while working from home.

“Just getting up and moving around is huge. During commercials, online meetings, finishing emails or breaks between shows, walk around the house, stand up and stretch, take a break outside. Make it a fun family activity.”

He added people also need to remember they should still go outside and get some fresh air and exercise – while practicing proper social distancing with anyone not in their household.

“I’m asking people to go for walks – any kind of walk will do. You can walk fast, or you can walk slow. Move at your own pace. I’m not telling people to run five kilometres, do whatever is comfortable for you and it will still improve your health and wellbeing.”

These simple tricks will also help people sleep better during this time of increased anxiety and stress and also ensure proper weight is maintained while our lives are disrupted. Exercise has also been shown to help maintain the immune system.

“We aren’t certain about what lies ahead but we can empower ourselves by committing to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Twenty-Four Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults are available for free at https://csepguidelines.ca/.