(CNN)Coronavirus concerns, social distancing, gym closures and home confinement may tempt you to just curl up on the couch and binge-watch Netflix, or lose yourself all day in a great novel.
How to stay fit when the gym is closed and you are stuck at home
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But regular exercise is essential for supporting healthy immune function; preventing weight gain (which can impair immune function); boosting your mood; and keeping you as healthy as possible (and out of the hospital or emergency room) during this challenging global pandemic.
With the world feeling a bit out of your control, now is the perfect time to take control of your health by building daily exercise into your schedule.
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day plus strength training at least twice a week. More than that will prevent weight gain (especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic), as most people are probably burning far fewer calories than they normally do because of drastic limitations in daily activities.
It's also important to try to limit prolonged sedentary behavior. One research study found that even one additional hour of sedentary behavior (watching videos) was associated with a decline in immune function in young males, and a large study found that sedentary behavior is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and risk of dying.
But don't overdo it -- strenuous exercise or overtraining, especially for those who are over the age of 65, not very fit to begin with or have a pre-existing medical condition, may temporarily suppress your immune system and therefore should be avoided during this pandemic.
Outdoor exercise -- including running, biking, hiking and walking -- has the added benefit of providing a little sun exposure to boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is produced in your skin with sun exposure, and getting outdoors, especially in nature if possible, may even help boost your immune system and mood -- just make sure to maintain social distancing.
Worried about exposure, quarantined or it's pouring outside? You can still get a full workout at home.
If you don't have exercise equipment in your house, there is still a lot you can do to stay fit, active and sane during these trying times. Online streaming services, the internet and mobile app stores are loaded with a variety of free and low-cost at-home workouts for all fitness levels and workout preferences, and many don't require any equipment.