If you are like most people, making a list of the good things in 2020 will take a minute (and probably won’t be very long). 2020 was a year lost to pandemic. Working from home lost its luster as working parents hunkered down with their children and became ZOOM-bies. Even now that 2021 has dawned, that 2020 feeling lingers. Cold weather, gray skies, and added stress from COVID-19 conspire to bring many people down. If you’ve had enough and are ready to feel better, try taking control through fitness.
Movement is a natural way to relieve stress, increase energy levels, improve mood and lessen the effects of anxiety/depression. The best part about using exercise to relieve stress is the instant gratification — you’ll feel the benefits immediately. Local gyms like Alcovy Fitness prefer to “turn up the happiness” with group fitness classes.
Whether it’s worrying about work, family or health, stress is a feeling everyone has experienced. While stress can depress one’s mood, unmanaged stress can weaken the immune system and increase the chances of developing various diseases. Alcovy Fitness offers classes like Yoga and Tai Chi that are good for counteracting stress. These classes incorporate breathing, mindfulness and meditation, which can help quiet the mind and feel refreshed.
While it’s important to mellow out, Zumba and cycling classes can provide an energy boost. Zumba is best described as “exercise in disguise.” In Zumba, simple dance moves in combination with popular music make for a cardio workout. Participants can find themselves smiling and laughing as they dance their way into better health and better mood. During indoor cycling, participants ride to the rhythm of their favorite songs. The music often serves as motivation and a gateway to feeling energized.
Aqua fitness and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are other types of classes offered by Alcovy Fitness. Aqua fitness is known to have strong mood enhancing benefits. The movement of the water will “buoy your spirits,” while minimizing the impact to joints and back. Participants can feel like a kid again as they splash their way through an intense calorie-burning workout. In HIIT, participants execute simple athletic movements at intervals to raise and lower their heart rate. HIIT classes are approximately 45 minutes, making them a “short and sweet” way to maximize workout time.
Strength training, like BodyPump or Barre class, is another effective way to remove stress. In BodyPump, the instructor leads the class through a full-body workout using a bar, plates and free weights. Barre features exercises that use body weight and light hand-weights. Strength training is motivating as results can be seen and felt in a short amount of time.
When it comes to exercise, it’s most important to choose movement you enjoy. To achieve lasting positive results for your health, mood and stress level, follow guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine and move three to five times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes. The Alcovy Fitness staff enjoys sharing in the success of its members, whether their training for a 5K race, losing weight or promoting healthy habits in their families.
Alcovy Fitness is also working hard to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic by:
- Implementing reduced class sizes and offering virtual classes.
- Screening temperatures.
- Cleaning equipment and the entire facility more often.
- Implementing social distancing policies for equipment and classes, including mask requirements for front desk employees and personal trainers.