It’s been drilled into you a zillion times: There are scientifically proven benefits of exercising regularly. Among other things, it can help reduce anxiety and boost your mood — things we all could really use during the age of the novel coronavirus.
“We know about the mental and physical benefits of exercise for the brain, and that it aids with sleep,” says Dr Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “When people are ruminating about something, exercise helps.”
That said, health experts keep talking about the importance of social distancing right now to help lower the odds that you’ll contract the novel coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19. That raises a huge question: Is it safe to go to the gym right now?
While the answer to this question was different as recently as last week, right now, you should avoid going to any type of gym or workout studio.
Last night South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that the country will be heading into a 21-day ‘lockdown’ from Thursday midnight in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and keep the country safe. As a result, most gyms and workout studios have and will now close.
As an alternative, some organisations are offering up free or reduced-fee online classes or streaming services to try to help people stay fit as we all hunker down. Here are a few to check out:
— Women’s Health 12-Week Workout Plan: No gym? No problem. Join our expert-lead 12-week at-home workout programme (complete with healthy meal plan) for 25% less. Use the code STAYHEALTHY for the discount.
— Down Dog: Due to the virus outbreak Down Dog is offering all its apps — Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout —completely free until April 1st.
— Fit Girl App: In the interest of stress management and improving health and wellness, master trainer Aneeka Buys is offering 20% off her challenges via the Fit Girl App! All the workouts can be done AT HOME with minimal equipment.
—Yoga Life: The Cape Town-based studio has launched a 30 Day Challenge which you can do in the comfort of your home via online classes! Just sign up to join in virtually.
— FitKey: The fitness service is building an online platform so you can continue to do your favourite classes from the comfort of your own home.
— Virgin Active: Download the app and access a library of free yoga and HIIT-based workouts that’ll help you break a sweat at home. Get the app via the App Store or Google Play.
— Headspace: The meditation app is giving back to their community and beyond — they’ve curated a collection of meditations and made them available to everyone for free, to help us all get through the COVID-19 outbreak. Get the app via the App Store or Google Play.
* We’ll be updating this list as more studios and apps continue to roll-out services online.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com