EXERCISE AND COVID-19 – SOMETHING YOU NEED TO DO

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EXERCISE AND COVID-19 – SOMETHING YOU NEED TO DO

Think about this: Maintaining regular exercise can increase your immune function and reduce your chance of communicable disease.

With all that is going on in the world right now due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there is a significant amount of misinformation, pseudoscience and hearsay which is clouding the information being provided by our health experts and governing bodies. We are seeing small business feel the pinch, people forget basic human decency in the toilet paper aisle and there is an underlying current of unease at what the future holds.

I thought I would put together a quick and easy blog to clarify some important parts regarding exercise with the current situation. As always, this post is not intended to provide you with medical advice and of course, advice may change with the ever-evolving situation we find ourselves in.

Some key points that should be considered:

It is still considered safe to go to the gym:

NSW Health have released this statement with regards to gym attendance:

“Keeping fit remains important. If you are well and have not been asked to self-isolate then you can go to the gym. Don’t go to the gym if you are unwell.

Try to go to the gym when it’s less crowded. When at the gym, you should use wipes provided before you use each piece of equipment. Gym classes are currently OK, but this advice may change.”

Be sensible, practice good hygiene, distance yourself (physically) from other members where possible and make sure you wipe equipment before and after use.

Exercising regularly can boost your immunity:

There is an abundance of research linking regular physical activity with increased immune function and reduced incidences of illness. Some research links regular exercise with a reduced incidence of communicable (Virus and bacterial) disease, and other research has shown that elderly people who cycle regularly have the immune health of a young person.

To reiterate: Maintaining regular exercise can increase your immune function and reduce your chance of communicable disease.

Furthermore, exercise has been shown to have a significant effect on improving mood and reducing anxiety. During this time, maintaining a sense of calm and managing your mental health is just as important – poor mental health has also been linked with reduced immune function. Ensure you stick to your regular exercise program to keep your spirits and immune function high.

Excessive exercise or over-training can reduce immune function:

Just a reminder that over training or excessive exercise can actually result in a compromised immune system. Make sure you stick to your normal level of exercise and continue to focus on your recovery. Continuing to sleep >8 hours per night, drink plenty of fluid and eat well will work wonders in helping to maintain your immune function.

Some practical tips:
  • NSW Health have advised that attending the gym is still safe at this current time however choose your time and location wisely. Choose a quieter gym with a controlled number of members and ensure the gym has a strict cleaning policy. Practicing good hygiene like washing hands and ensuring you wipe down all equipment before and after use will also improve the safety for you and those around you.
  • Practice social distancing. If you’re in a gym try to keep some space from those around you. Maintaining a distance of 1.5m or more could assist in reducing the chance of transmission.
  • Go for a run outdoors – if you need to get some cardio in then a run is a great way to do this with minimal contact from others.
  • Even if you’re in isolation, you can still get some exercise in at home. Use this chance to master yoga, work on your mobility or you can download the ION Train At Home exercise program here.

Remember, during this time make sure you control what you can control. Practice proper hygiene, remain active and always put your health first.

Sam Rooney, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

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