As the country bands together to slow the spread of COVID-19 (a.k.a., the coronavirus) through the practice of social distancing, many have found their regularly exercise routines disrupted.
Gym closures, group fitness class cancellations and the closing of popular parks and trails have become commonplace, says Bend physical therapist Scott Weber, making it more difficult for people to get their recommended weekly dose of exercise.
And yet, Weber points out, we’re in a time when exercise and physical fitness could do a lot of good.
“Regular exercise is proven to help stabilize and even strengthen the immune system,” said Weber, co-owner of Alpine Physical Therapy in Bend. “It’s not going to prevent someone from contracting a virus like COVID-19 – social distancing is still the key to this – but a strong immune system can help your body fight such viruses.”
And, during a time of great life and economic uncertainty, exercise plays an important role in reducing daily stress while boosting one’s overall mood.
“If there’s one recommendation I’d give most anyone during these uncertain times, it would be to prioritize some regular exercise and be present with daily activities,” Weber said. “With personal health and safety such an important goal right now we just have to be creative in exercise program. This can make it challenging for some.”
But, regular exercise is still possible. Weber offers these five exercise ideas to consider during our current era of social distancing:
Try Virtual Classes / Apps
Not only are there a number of free and paid services and apps available that will take you through a variety of daily workout routines (i.e., cardio, yoga, stationary cycling, etc.), but a few higher-end services are offering extended free trial sessions during the current pandemic. Some gyms (i.e., Planet Fitness) are even sharing streaming daily workouts during their closures.
Become One with Nature
While some of the more popular parks and trails in your area may have been closed, plenty of our less-populated parks and wildlife areas are still open for hiking, running, cycling, etc. Enjoy the fresh air and natural sites, but still be sure to keep your distance from passersby.
Be Creative at Home
If you don’t have gym equipment at home, don’t fret. With a little imagination, items like soup cans can serve as weights, bungee cords can be resistance bands, and a set of stairs can be your cardio machine. Even cooperative young children can offer added weight during resistance exercises.
Use Your Body Weight
Many great exercises don’t require equipment, save for your own body. Burpees, lunges, squats, push-ups and sit-ups (to name a few) can combine for quite an effective workout. Also, don’t forget cool-down stretching to exercise your flexibility.
Have a dance party
Have fun with your home quarantine! Turn that favorite song of yours up and throw an impromptu dance party. Dancing is a great activity that promotes movement in all directions and engages activity of your upper and lower body. Research shows benefits of increased energy, improved mood and reduced stress. And an added bonus is 300 calories burned if you make it a half hour!
“There are plenty of opportunities to get exercise around the home, however, remember the importance of warming up and cooling down with any of these ideas,” Weber said. “And, if pain or injury is keeping you sedentary, contact our clinic and we’ll be happy to assess the issue and offer potential treatments and alternatives.”
Alpine is currently open during the COVID outbreak for PT services for both in clinic visits for direct care as well as telehealth treatment options. For questions/treatment call 541-382-5500 or email [email protected]