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It is important to stay active and healthy during this pandemic. Right now, most people are at home and not as active as they once were — young children, parents and teenagers are forced to stay and work from home. They do not realize the negative effects of staring at a computer screen a majority of the day, which can lead to neck pain, eye strain, headaches and long term vision problems. Sitting in front of a screen all day causes harm to one’s health, so balancing that out with physical activity is essential. Being physically active might mean going outside for walks, runs, lifting weights, playing a sport, jump roping and much more.

Besides the visual physical benefits of being an active person like muscle growth and weight loss, there are also invisible impacts that are not seen with the eye. Exercise strengthens non-quantifiable items such as your mentality. It allows individuals to build their self esteem and overall just become a happier person. This is due to your body releasing certain chemicals known as endorphins during physical activity, which triggers a positive feeling throughout the body. Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) — such as strengthening bones and muscles, reducing health risks, weight management and increasing your lifespan.

When it comes to gaining muscle, it is important to use weights and eat a lot of food. While using weights at the gym, progressively overloading the weights is key. When doing your sets, increase the weight of each set; you can start off by increasing up to five pounds, increasing it to 10 on the last set. This allows your muscles to gain more mass and become stronger. When you exercise with weights, your muscles will get more sore, so it is recommended to wait up to 72 hours before focusing on that muscle group again. Accordingly, if you put too much strain on your muscles and do not give them enough time to heal then they will not grow, in fact they will shrink — which is the opposite of what you want! While progressively overloading, it is also very essential to eat as much healthy carbohydrates and protein as possible. Diet is more than 50 percent of the weight gain process and it is very vital to be eating the right amount of foods to increase your body mass. If you are not getting enough carbohydrates and protein for your body, then your muscles will not grow.

When trying to lose weight, cardio should be your go-to. Cardiovascular exercises are great for strengthening the heart muscles and increasing the blood flow throughout the body. Some examples of cardiovascular exercises could be jumping rope, running, jogging, swimming and cycling. When losing weight it is also important to be aware of your calorie intake throughout the day — that is, making sure that the foods that you are eating are not greasy and full of saturated fats. If you have trouble tracking your calorie intake, there are apps like My Fitness Pal that can help you out. Doing cardiovascular exercises before and after lifting weights are a great way to warm up and cool down your body.

Overall, there are so many ways to be active in order to take care of your body and mental health. It is essential to step up and be disciplined because nobody is going to be there for yourself like you are. Embracing your true self will guide you throughout your fitness journey and will give you a healthier lifestyle.