Looking after our physical and mental health is really important and any activity you can do will help. Daily activity will help your wellbeing, help manage stress, promote positive feelings and sleep1 - and is a chance to have some fun! To view our complete series of COVID-19 blogs, click here.
Many of us may well be feeling anxious and finding the coronavirus outbreak stressful. With social distancing you may be experiencing cabin fever, or you may have been unwell and are wondering how much physical activity you can be doing.
Dr Charlie Foster has gone from being a PE teacher in a secondary school to one of the world's leading experts in the field, regularly advising the Government on how best to get the UK moving and in turn improve our health.
Charlie and his colleagues from the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at Bristol University have developed the following advice2 and shared it with us:
- Taking daily exercise is one of the four reasons the government has advised that it's fine to leave your household for.
- You can do one form of exercise outside each day, for example a walk, run, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
- While you’re out, always keep at least two metres away from anyone outside of your household. This will stop the virus spreading.
- Minimise time outside and wash your hands when you return home.
- There are lots of online resources that have been made available for free to help you to keep active in your home, or in your garden if you have one.
- If you’re self-isolating (for example if you’re over 70, pregnant or have an underlying health condition) but feel well, you can also go outside with the same caveat of keeping your distance from others.
- If you’re self-isolating because you have symptoms, or someone in your household has them, or you're defined as extremely vulnerable on medical grounds3, you shouldn't leave home but that doesn't mean you should stop moving. It's really important to use movement and activity as a way of breaking up your routine, but only if you feel well enough.
- If you’re unwell, use your energy to get better and don't try to be active. If you can get out of bed, then do so, but don't try to do too much.
- Finally, if you’re feeling better after having had the virus, return to your normal routine very gradually and make sure to have additional rest periods during and after exercise.
For some people, strenuous activities will not be suitable. If that is the case for you, even taking a short break from sitting is of value. By doing 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, you can help ease your muscles and improve blood circulation and muscle activity4. If you have mobility issues, some ideas are given below.
Government restrictions to protect us from coronavirus have led to some innovative approaches to help us become and/or stay active, from delivery of physical activity sessions remotely to the home, to video channels reaching a greater audience than ever before, to social media tips and web pages on everyday activities that count.
Sport NI offer ideas at www.sportni.net/physical-activity-at-home and are encouraging people to share the best ideas they find online using the hashtag #SportSafeStrong
The NHS website www.pha.site/workout has a range of options including:
- Home-based strength and cardio workouts for adults
- Seated strength and flexibility exercises for adults with mobility issues
- Five-week strength and flex programme
- Indoor games for children
- Accessible activities for children
So let’s all use this opportunity to get active and stay active for the good of our health. Let’s do it to get through it.
To view our complete series of COVID-19 blogs, click here.