Have you heard of a 101-year-old fisherman, who catches fish for his family three times a week? Or a 102-year-old karate master, who still teaches martial arts? They and many others like them live in Okinawa, Japan, which has been nicknamed the “Land of Immortals”.  Studies show that the secret behind such healthy and happy lives are simple – a purposeful existence, a healthy diet, and gentle but regular exercise. In recent times corporates and employers have recognized the correlation between exercise and productivity, and some companies like Total Wellness even pay their employees to exercise!

Research has established that the release of endorphins after exercise helps improve energy levels. A study by American Council talks of another chemical compound released after working out. Called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)’ it promotes the survival and growth of neurons which improves cognitive abilities, and therefore, aids productivity. Exercising, even for 120-150 minutes a week, or half an hour a day, can improve one’s mental and physical health. In fact, people who exercise are likely to have fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who don’t.

But an exercise regime is often tough to start and even tougher to sustain. COVID-19 has thrown even committed exercisers off their regular workouts. That’s where home workouts come to the rescue. Finding an exercise regime that is apt for you takes some experimenting but here are a few things you can try to begin your journey with home workouts.

  1. A simple way of adding exercise to your routine is by linking it to a task that is already a part of your daily schedule. For example, you drink tea every morning. Link exercise to that habit. Make sure you exercise every day after your morning cup of tea. You could choose any other activity or habit (not just drinking tea) as your cue – from simple things like brushing to checking your e-mail in the morning.
  2. Pick an exercise buddy – someone from work, a friend, a partner, parent, anyone. Make sure you are accountable to each other. Having an exercise buddy can also let you add challenges and games during workouts.
  3. Try out new equipment like hula hoops or weights (for makeshift weights, pour flour into a bag, use water bottles, etc). Accessories can make your workout more fun!
  4. If you need to complete mechanical or mundane work, weave exercise into it. Walk around your house while listening to a podcast. Play some music and dance when putting away things. That can act as a good warmup for the exercise to follow. Getting some movement throughout the day helps you stay fit.
  5. Subscribe to online workout challenges. Thanks to COVID-19 there is a plethora of options – both paid and unpaid. Some challenges last a week, some a month, and some for six months. Research to find a challenge that is both suitable and more importantly sustainable to kick start your home workout journey!

After all, it takes just an hour or less each day to add many more happy and healthy years to your life. As a wise woman once said, “Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate.”

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