The Effect of Exercise on your Mental Health

by Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD

If you’re following the Government’s guidelines to stay indoors during this unsettling time of COVID-19, you might be feeling a little stir crazy (I know I am!). As you adjust to this new stay-at-home lifestyle, it’s important to not forget about exercise.

Many studies have shown that exercising for even as little as 5 minutes a day can help with not only immune health, but your mental health as well. So, it’s time to get moving — by yourself!

Here’s my guide to exercising and getting fresh air during this time of social distancing and isolation:

Get Your Heart Rate Up:

If you’re looking for a cardio workout, then look no further. Simply move the furniture around, turn on the music, and get moving! Try doing a mix of push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, burpees, wall-sits, and lunges. If you have a set of stairs near you, try stair ascents and descents with short recovery periods in between.

Get some Fresh Air: 

Another important aspect of staying sane and healthy whilst at home is breathing in fresh air, and absorbing Vitamin D. Try to get outside and go for a walk, even if it’s just around your neighborhood or garden. Spending a few moments outside with the sun’s rays and away from light bulbs and computer screens can really make a difference and improve your day. Additionally, going for outdoor runs and bike rides are still recommended, just as long as you aren’t in a crowded area with lots of other people. Get moving, just keep your distance (ideally around six feet)!

Get Stretching:

Yoga and stretching have proven to be incredibly useful and productive during COVID-19. There are several yoga studios offering online classes, or live streams on Facebook.

Get Dancing:

This one may seem silly, but if you’re feeling it, turn up your favorite tunes and get dancing! If you’re quarantining with family or roommates, we recommend a friendly little dance off to get the blood pumping and your mind off all the COVID-19 related stressors. Dancing has incredible positive impacts such as improving one’s cardiovascular health, decreasing blood pressure, lowering stress, and so much more — plus it’s always a good laugh!


Trying to decrease levels of stress and anxiety is crucial during this time. I recommend downloading a meditation app such as Calm or Headspace and focus on incorporating some well-deserved ‘me’ time into your schedule. Take a moment during your day to close your eyes and breathe deeply. For example, inhale and count slowly to 4, then exhale slowly to the count of 4. Additionally, creating a designated mediation space away from the computer/TV/phone, where you are fully able to relax and breathe can be extra calming.

After exercising: light some candles or incense, have a bubble bath, and breathe — we will get through this.

If you think that you are on the edge because of Chronic Stress, do get in touch with me as I can help you to regain a balanced, happy and rewarding life. You can contact me via my Facebook page (feel free to join the community of open minded caring souls).

Sign up for my Burnout Resuscitation Program where I will guide you through the techniques to rid yourself of the unwanted effects of Burnout and enable you to awaken your free future.

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Contact me by emaildrv@drveerlevantricht.com for one to one coaching. Or for a 15 minute complementary call.

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