Did you abandon exercise during the pandemic? Here are 3 tips for getting back

Sedentary lifestyle increased during the isolation period, but can be reversed

Before the pandemic, many people were in the habit of going out for a walk, running, going to the gym or playing a sport. After the changes brought about by social isolation, 62% of Brazilians said they were not doing physical activity, points out a study carried out by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in 2021, in partnership with the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the State University of Campinas.

If the level of exercise fell, the level of sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, increased. The same survey reveals that the average time spent watching TV went from 1h30 to 3h20 per day, and that respondents spend 5h20 a day in front of a computer or tablet.

“People had to adapt to working from home and stopped exercising. As a result, we saw that the frequency of overweight and obesity increased, which can lead to more serious problems, such as diabetes, for example”, says Vera Nascimento, full health analyst at iFood.

If it's difficult to get back into shape, she gives three tips for getting back to exercising:

Don't think, just go

Don't think too much about the best conditions for exercising during the week, because the ideal time doesn't exist, you'll need to fit a few minutes into your schedule. Don't think too much about the obstacles: decide that you are going to exercise on a certain day and time and, when the time comes, just go.

Adapt exercise to your schedule

The World Health Organization defines that the ideal is to dedicate 150 to 300 minutes per week to moderate physical activity (or 75 to 150 minutes to intense physical activity). In other words, walking 20 minutes a day is already a way to get there. “If you have 15 minutes in the morning, use that window to exercise. Take advantage of lunch time, the end of the day. The important thing is to adapt the activity to your schedule”, says Vera.

Do what you like

It's hard enough to motivate yourself to get off the couch; Even more complicated is doing an activity you don't like. No one is obliged to run or work out: try different types of exercises and see which one you like the most, recommends Vera.

iFood against sedentary lifestyle

To motivate your employees to move, iFood adopted, in 2019, an app created by VIK that uses gamification to encourage groups to exercise. It started like this: once a year, a new challenge is created, lasting 90 days.

Groups of people who reach their goals receive bonuses that can become prizes such as discounts to buy sporting equipment. Furthermore, the more they exercise, the greater the donation to an NGO chosen by the company.

“The app helps people motivate each other to achieve the objectives of the challenges”, comments Vera, adding that 1,500 employees joined the initiative — and remained firm even during the pandemic. “It was so successful that we now do two challenges a year.”

With the gradual resumption of work at the company's headquarters, a new initiative adopted in March 2022 was to provide personal trainers to guide employees in exercising — such as yoga, basketball and Zumba. “It’s a good option for those who want to arrive earlier or leave later to avoid traffic”, says Vera.

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