The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown imposed by nations around the world has drastically changed the lifestyle of its people. Various aspects of our professional and personal lives have undergone a quick transformation even as we adapt to the ‘new normal’. One such aspect is Exercise.
- Exercise is critical to overall well-being and impacts both our physical and mental health.
- As cardiologists will tell you, exercise improves the performance of all organs, particularly the heart and lungs. It lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterols, and keeps body weight and waist circumference in check, which in turn reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Exercise releases the “Feel good” hormones, the endorphins, which are known to enhance mood and fight depression.
- Exercise helps the person manage stress better, and sleep better, both of which are known to boost immunity.
But how does one exercise in the current situation where there are various restrictions? Is it even good to do so? Doctors are unanimous in that exercise is beneficial and very much advisable during the lockdown, unless one is Covid-positive.
Patients who are in the active phase of Covid-19 would be in quarantine, and at home isolation during convalescence. They are advised rest as the lungs are recovering and exertion may pose certain risks to their heart.
If you are reading this article, in all probability, you do not suffer from Covid-19 presently.
Accordingly, your exercise regimen would depend on whether you belong to the high-risk group or the low-risk group.
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People who are above 65 years of age, those who suffer from lung disease or asthma, and people with underlying conditions such as heart disease or diabetes are at high risk of infection from Covid-19. Such people are advised against stepping out of the home unless it is an emergency. In such a scenario, the person can only exercise indoors. Also, vigorous cardio exercises must be avoided by such people and only light exercise is advised.
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This includes slow walking on a treadmill, slow cycling on a stationary cycle, walking inside the house, walking up and down stairs and simple yoga postures. Do this for 10 minutes once a day or once in the morning and once in the evening. Exercise lightly and do not work up a sweat. Do this daily and it will have a positive effect on your health and mood.
Low risk group
If you are below 65 years of age, and do not suffer from diabetes, any heart or lung condition, then you are at lower risk of contracting the disease, provided all other precautions are being taken.
Such people have both indoor and outdoor exercises to choose from.
- Aerobics or dancing to music or in front of a music video
- Free-hand exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, squats, front lunges, side lunges, crunches, planks, calf raises, jumping jacks and squats
- Yoga and mat Pilates
- Cleaning activities such as scrubbing, lugging a vacuum cleaner, mopping, etc
- Cooking tasks that strain your muscles, such as: kneading dough, leavening the dough (making rotis), lifting bags of provisions or vegetables
- Standing and working on the laptop
- Walking inside the home while talking on the phone
- Walking up and down stairs
- Walking to the kitchen or fridge every time to fetch water (avoid keeping a bottle full of water with you all the time)
Do one or more of the above for 10-20 minutes, either once or twice a day. Feel free to work up a sweat or increase your heart beat. Sip water at regular intervals of time in order to stay hydrated.
Also Read: Know About Cardiac Arrhythmia – Irregular Heartbeat
While going to the gym, swimming or playing team sports is still not an option, you can indulge in the following activities with certain precautions.
During such outdoor activities, people around who may cough, sneeze or talk expel saliva and mucous which may carry the virus.
When you touch any surface around you, you may inadvertently come in contact with the virus.
You could also do the same and pose a risk to people around you.
Hence, the social distancing norm of maintaining 1-meter distance from another human may not be enough during such activities, according to some research conducted in Belgium.
- Regular or brisk walking: Maintain a distance of 4-5 meters or 15 feet from another human. If you face the risk of bumping into somebody opposite you, cross over to the other side.
- Running or jogging: Maintain a distance of 10 meters or 30 feet from other humans.
- Cycling: Maintain a distance of 20 meters or 60 feet from others.
- Sip water from time to time in order to stay hydrated
- Do not wear your facemask during any of the above activities; as it can interfere with your breathing and oxygen intake.
Other factors to consider
Exercise, diet, stress management and sleep are the four pillars on which physical and mental health rest.
Even as you take care of exercise, as outlined above, do not ignore the other 3 pillars of health. Ensure you are eating healthy and normal meals during the lockdown. Avoid binge-eating, frequent snacking and sitting in front of the TV or laptop for long periods of time. Ensure you get your usual quota of sleep and do not oversleep.
Finally, avoid getting stressed about the virus. It’s well known that 80% of people who get infected develop mild symptoms and rest 15 to 20% may develop moderate symptoms. Only 5% of those affected develop severe symptoms and face complications. This means, if you are following social distancing norms, do not step out frequently from home and wear a mask when you are out of home, the risk of infection is low.
Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Karaikudi, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.
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