At Home Exercises to Keep Fit During Quarantine
Moving your body is important on so many levels. During this time of social distancing, maintaining fitness should be a top priority, along with good diet and stress mitigation. And it’s entirely possible to get a stellar workout, without all of the expensive equipment.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, seven-time Mr. Olympia and action-hero extraordinaire, said, “There are a lot of things we can’t control during this crisis, so we need to focus on what we can control.”
He said, “Gladiators and Vikings didn’t have gymnasiums. I started my own fitness journey with chin-ups on a tree branch by a lake in Austria.”
If the idea of pumping iron, a la Arnold, doesn’t do it for you, get into yoga during this time away from society. While any kind of sport or exercise can be food for the body, mind, and spirit, yoga guru BKS Iyengar said, “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.”
None of these activities require a gym, and they can all be done at your own pace. Or, if you’d like, you can follow online videos of expert fitness teachers. There are plenty of great yoga classes online taught by a variety of dedicated and experienced teachers.
Six Facets to Consider for At-Home Workouts
Make sure you’re healthy
Whenever starting a new workout program, it’s highly recommended that you first visit the doctor for a checkup.
These exercises help with blood circulation and include some degree of increased heart rate. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s good to get back into cardio gradually to build up your endurance, without putting too much strain on your body.
Moving all of your body parts, including head, neck, feet, hands, arms, legs, and torso are important to get lymph moving throughout your body. Lymph glands help remove toxins from the body and can be stimulated with exercises that cause muscle contractions.
Deep breathing is amazingly beneficial and has been practiced for thousands of years in the older parts of the world, such as Asia and India.
Stronger muscles grow when we put them under strain (not enough strain to cause injury, of course). Then the body is forced to repair the muscle fibers so that they rebound stronger and larger. With stronger muscles, it’s easier to balance. Two of the greatest benefits is that using weights also strengthens the bones, which helps to stave off osteoporosis.
Balance and Sports Performance
We’ve learned a great deal about exercise over the last few decades — it’s become both an art form and a science. Even if you are sequestered at home, you can still work on strength, conditioning, and balance, so that you can excel at your favorite sports activities when you next engage in them again.
Yoga Checks All the Boxes
Just over a century ago, yoga masters began to travel to the West to spread the practice of yoga. By the 1920’s Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India with the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and others. Today, yoga practice is a worldwide phenomenon, and the reason is easy to understand: anyone can do it, and no equipment is needed. Of course, there are fancy clothes, mats, blocks, and balls that can enhance your workout, but none of these are absolutely necessary to the discipline.
Yoga’s benefits are unparalleled — increased flexibility, better muscle strength and tone, greater respiration and vitality, weight loss, improved cardio, superior balance, and even protection from injury. There is even evidence that yoga reduces inflammation when practiced regularly. Yoga is a mind-body exercise, which makes it helpful for reducing stress, thinking more clearly, increasing focus, fighting depression, feeling happier, calming down the mind and body, reducing anxiety, and even feeling more altruistic.
Getting Started With Your Yoga Practice
If you are patient and easy on yourself, yoga is rewarding from the very beginning of practice. Of course, beginners may feel awkward, unsure, or rigid, but this is to be expected.
Yoga is all about poses. As you go along, you learn where your strengths and weaknesses are, and your balance increases. When you can go out into the world again and find a yoga teacher, he or she can help make little corrections in your practice. It’s a work in progress. But if you want to know how to get started, the answer is simple: Get started now. Sign up online and go for it.
Gaia’s yoga videos offer much more than just a taste of what yoga is like — they offer hands-on experience from expert teachers representing different schools. And if you want to go beyond yoga, or add other forms of exercise to your stay-at-home program, Gaia also offers other fitness content, including pilates, Tai Chi, Qigong, and many general workout classes, as well.
B K S Iyengar once said, “Yoga saved my life. I took it up for my health, and then I took it up as a mission.” Now you can take it up for your own reasons — whether it’s because you’re stuck at home, in need of at-home yoga workouts, or you just want to give this Eastern art form a try.
Jo Cameron's Life Without Pain; A Story of Rare Genetic Mutations
When Jo Cameron underwent a double hand surgery procedure, which would have left most people in excruciating pain, she left the hospital happy, vivacious, and in no pain whatsoever. At the time, Cameron was 65 years old and should have been even more susceptible to the surgery’s painful aftermath. Recognizing this anomalous behavior, doctors decided to investigate and found Cameron’s DNA contained two genetic mutations that made her unable to feel pain either physically or emotionally.
A Happy Genetic Mutation
Like anyone else, Cameron has been scraped, burned, and bruised throughout her life. But these physical injuries had little effect on her. After two surgeries, which left doctors baffled by her recovery — she needed only two aspirin the day after a hip-replacement surgery to deal with the pain — she was referred to a team of specialists at University College London’s Molecular Nociception Group (UCL).
Following a thorough DNA study, scientists at UCL published an unusual case report in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, revealing their findings of two genetic mutations:
Genetic Mutation #1:
This mutation affects the FAAH gene, which produces the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide — a neurotransmitter that’s been dubbed “the bliss molecule” (appropriately named after the Sanskrit word for bliss, "ananda") for its ability to bind to THC receptors, affecting mood, appetite, pain, and memory. When the FAAH genes break down anandamide, we experience physical and mental pain. But with a mutation like Cameron’s, the bliss molecule is allowed to preside, bringing out anandamide’s positive effects.
Surprisingly, this genetic mutation is not as uncommon as one may think, as about 20 percent of Americans are said to possess it. However, this percent of the populace doesn’t have Cameron’s second mutation, which compounds the effect and prevents her from experiencing any pain at all.
Genetic Mutation #2:
The discovery of this rare genetic mutation, named the FAAH-OUT gene, was said to be scientifically groundbreaking, as it was found to be a previously unidentified gene. As may be guessed from its name, the FAAH-OUT gene has a bearing on the FAAH gene, essentially turning down its activity. Working in concert, these two genetic mutations enabled Cameron to live her life unable to feel pain.
“I knew that I was happy-go-lucky, but it didn’t dawn on me that I was different. I thought it was just me. I didn’t know anything strange was going on until I was 65,” she told the The Guardian,