The short and long answer is no! Everyone knows that exercise promotes good health, but the pandemic has pointed out just how important it is. The situation has made us feel vulnerable in many ways—almost all of which can be helped with exercise.
Exercise provides many health benefits. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes. It also strengthens bones and muscles, increases the chances of a longer life, and helps with weight loss and management. It also provides specific benefits that can help protect against the coronavirus.
Regular physical activity, done in concert with other precautions, is also considered effective in dealing with the health outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers from the University of Virginia Health System suggest that regular exercise might significantly reduce the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the leading causes of death in COVID-19 patients.
Exercise strengthens the immune system. It increases blood flow throughout the body so that more immune cells can circulate at a higher rate. Over time, that immune response builds up—with a measurable effect on health outcomes. A study found that among people who engaged in aerobic exercise five or more times per week, upper respiratory tract infection decreased by 40 percent over 12 weeks.
Exercise is also a key component of stress relief, crucial to the millions of people who had their lives upended by the pandemic. In other words, it’s good for brain health. It can play a vital role in promoting positive mental health and help people stay alert and focused, making those long Zoom meetings a little easier to handle. Exercise is a therapeutic coping mechanism that can serve as a healthy release from anxiety (hello, endorphins). And regular exercise can lead to lasting changes in brain chemistry that mimic the effects of antidepressants.
Every year, around this time, fitness experts and gurus weigh in with predictions on fitness trends. Typically, they involve new twists on basic fitness principles and maybe some group classes aimed at fun and sociability. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the fitness trends for 2021 are focused much more on practical solutions to help get people fit and healthy safely.
Although people were investigating the mind-body connection before the pandemic, interest has intensified. Experts believe that the increased desire for practices such as yoga and meditation has likely been triggered by job-related stress, homeschooling children, and the financial and health concerns brought on by the pandemic. Check out our tai chi and yoga classes:
The J-Fit Health Club’s heated, six-lane indoor 25-meter swimming pool, which includes a permanent access ramp that provides 0’ to 3.5’ depth access, also offers a wonderful opportunity for exercise. Although impacted by the pandemic, lap swim is currently available for people aged 14 and up, Sunday through Friday. Lane reservations are required, and swimmers must provide their towels, as that service has been suspended as a safety precaution.
The J-Fit Health Club at the Pozez JCC has put several CDC and state guideline precautions into place for its members’ and guests’ health and safety. The facility strictly adheres to all physical/social distancing guidelines, mask-wearing at all times, cleaning, and the number of people allowed in certain spaces. The HVAC system has recently been updated to maximize fresh air exchanges and optimize the building air quality. And a bipolar ionization system that kills 99 percent of the virus has been installed.
Together, we can strive for a healthy, safe New Year!