Staying Home: 3 Great Exercises For Orlando Residents

Walking, bicycling and yoga help keep body and mind in shape.
Bicycling In A Park


If you’re fighting cabin fever or trying not to pack on pounds while hunkering down, it may be time to hit the trails or the neighborhood sidewalk.

“It’s really important to get physically outside,” says Dr. Elizabeth Davis, an Orlando Health sports medicine doctor and team doctor for Orlando City Soccer Club. “It can improve your mood and decrease anxiety, stress and even depression with what’s going on now or what’s going on in your life. You’ll also have more energy and you’ll sleep better if you exercise on a regular basis.”

Davis says regular exercise—including walking or bicycling at a moderate pace—decreases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease or attack, strengthens bones, reduces the risk of diabetes, combats bone loss, stabilizes metabolism and can promote weight loss.

“We like to tell people to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily,” though even 10- or 15-minute increments of activity can help, she says. The endorphins you generate will boost mood to ward off anxiety, stress and depression, she adds.

A federal study shows regular exercise reduces mortality by up to 30 percent in adults, regardless of race or gender. According to Harvard Medical School research, 30 minutes of moderate walking burns 135 calories, while a half-hour of biking burns 250 calories.

Angie Diedrick, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified trainer at the Dr. Phillips and Roper YMCA Family Centers, suggests being creative to make exercise a family affair. “Some ideas for kids would be taking a nature walk, collecting things along the way and making a journal of what you saw. How about a fun scavenger hunt in your neighborhood? In my neighborhood recently, we were all asked to place a bear in our windows for children to find.”

Dana McKay of Chuluota has been taking that approach while entertaining her granddaughters during the quarantine. “We find things through the neighborhood for them to look for on each walk. Our daughter drew an obstacle course on the sidewalk that the kids going by can play on.”

To get your significant other on board, Diedrick suggests creating a customized playlist. “I recently saw in my neighborhood an older couple riding their bikes together with music playing, and it put a smile on my face,” she shares.

Adding variety, such as incorporating yoga into your routine, can break up the monotony and provide a surprising calorie burn, Davis says. “My husband does yoga. He wears his Apple watch when he does it, and he burns 500 to 600 calories when he does yoga for an hour and 15 minutes.” The calorie burn results from strengthening, which increases heart rate. Like walking or cycling, yoga also produces endorphins that elevate mood.

Yoga offers other tangible benefits as well. “Because yoga has a tendency to be a slower type of exercise that makes you focus on breathing, it can boost memory and concentration,” Davis says. “If adults find that because of all the stress, they’re having a hard time focusing and concentrating, yoga can actually help with that.”

April Upjohn, a Winter Springs mom of two, says, “We have always biked and hiked as a family, but with the quarantine we have made it a daily routine. We need a break from the house with all four of us here all day every day. And exercise is the best brain break from school.”

Davis advises those with underlying medical conditions to check with their doctors before launching into a new fitness regimen. “If you have a medical condition, make sure you’re not overdoing it,” she advises. That said, “even if you take a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood, most doctors are going to tell their patients to do that.”


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