During this period of quarantining at home, majority of us are worried about the body, more about the peace of mind. Although staying home will definitely help in breaking the chain, staying is a challenging task.
COVID 19 primarily targets the immunity of a human body. Immunity is the basic building block which keeps us fit and free of diseases. Multiple studies have proved that exercise boosts immunity by promoting production and action of antioxidants in the body. It also reduces the stress and anxiety levels and improves confidence. It has effects on the neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, cognitive functions along with bone growth promotion. Negative effects on obesity is the added benefit we all know! These antioxidants have a cutting effect on the excess oxygen radicals produced in the body: both due to daily wear and tear of the body, and the inflammatory effect of virus on the systems of the body. Hence promoting exercises at this point becomes the chief immunity booster when done in the right way! Generally, exercising at the moderate level intensity is the best way to enhance immunity as doing too much is always harmful.
Exercise has been our friend since birth, the importance of cry of a new-born to seeing some movement of a critical patient in the hospital, movement is the life. Human health is subdivided into Mental Health and Physical Health.
First look at Mental Health
– since everyone is home, many minds are going to come together, so avoid discussions on negative and gloomy topics
-with the elderly and children, it’s always advisable to talk in age appropriate language as these population are vulnerable to stress, anxiety and panic
– Inform your family about COVID 19- its background, signs and symptoms, using reliable and scientific evidences, preferably the WHO guidelines
– if any of your known person has been found positive, do not hesitate to motivate the affected and their family, be supportive & encouraging
– appreciate the smallest efforts each person is making in this time of crisis
– work on interpersonal relationships by engaging in healthy talks, home activities
-meditate for at least 15-20 minutes everyday to keep negative thoughts at bay, practice deep breathing exercises, this enhances positivity around you!
-plan your goals tactically for your present and future, remember being together is the key
– seek elderly or professional help for any persisting thoughts
– stop predicting future and avoid panic talks
– maintain a healthy diet, as thats the fuel for the brain
-have enough quality sleep, this is the time to charge up for future
-sip healthy lukewarm drinks and indulge in activities which you couldn’t because of responsibilities
– read a book, it’s going to broaden your mental horizon and give yourself some time.
Now, physical health. Since the body is where the soul resides, it’s important to be active as always or start being active if not. Instead of repeated medical checkups, heavy dosage of medication, medical and financial burden, exercising at home is free of cost. For healthy individuals without any comorbidities, the who recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercises or 45-75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercises throughout the week, and a session consisting of minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercises. Weight training should be done for 2 or more days with adequate spacing. Being at home, it’s easy to chart the minutes and keep a record. Remove your personal exercise mats and start with simple exercises, play with your children so that both are exercising, clean your house, help the family members in daily chores.
Try simple balancing games to maintain flexibility and well being. If nothing just correct your posture, tighten core muscles or activate while walking. Walk around your house, do stair climbing to increase heart rate, respiratory rate & burn calories; discover every corner. Remember the mind remembers movements. Exercise is known to improve overall blood circulation, release of endorphins (the feel good hormones), reduce stress inflammation and anxiety, improve quality of bone health, reduce the nasty fat and bad cholesterol and definitely lose weight. It also improves confidence, improves balance and thinking capacity along with cognitive functions.
Now for all those who have been religiously exercising, detraining or reversal of training effects on the body begins in two – four weeks post suspension of exercising. So, in case you’ll are waiting to hit the gym or exercising clubs again, it’s always wise to do some homework for better results. Try out all weight free exercises in case weights aren’t available, grab water bottles for exercising. Nothing works better than your own body weight as resistance hence can indulge in close chain exercises, back and core strengthening which itself is a huge task!! Or always consult a qualified & experienced physiotherapist now that telemedicine is available, grab the opportunity!!
Role of physiotherapist in this grave situation:
Physiotherapy can be applied from womb to tomb, then why not explore its potential at the moment; get telephonic professional consultation or advice. Multidisciplinary approach is the key to quality healthcare in India. All those having a serious dedication towards exercises and those who want to join the club can always opt exercise prescription from physiotherapist for safety & effectiveness.
Dr Suhail Ahmad Mir is a sports physiotherapists