COVID-19 and being active…
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, it is equally important that we stay healthy and active indoor. Physical activity doesn’t always mean sports or heavy exercises; daily activities like house cleaning, playing, dancing, gardening are all good means of being physically active.
Why do we need to be active?
Regular physical activity benefits both the mind and the body.
It helps to reduce high blood pressure and blood sugar, and help manage weight. It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke,and even cancers. It also improves bone and muscle strength and keeps us fit.
Regular physical activity improves mental health and provides you a feeling of well being. It can also reduce the risk of depression, cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
How to be active?
Reduce long periods of time spent sitting.
Take short 3-5 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes. Stand up and stretch or take a walk around or up and down the stairs.
Set up a regular routine to be active every day, and stick to it. This will help you adjust to new ways of working, study and family life under COVID-19 restrictions.
Start with short duration activities and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time.
Be connected with your family and friends using video calls and chats.
Set a goal for yourself and your family members regarding the type of activity, time of day and duration of the activity planned every day. The goal need to be challenging, but realistic.
Record your progress on a weekly activity chart.
How much physical activity is recommended?
WHO recommends the following duration and type of physical activity for each age group :
Under 1 year of age
Several times a day
Floor-based play with your baby especially in a prone position (‘tummy time’)
1- 5 years of age
At least 3 hours a day
Moderate or vigorous activity for at least an hour a day for 3-4 years old
Active play in and around the home involving running, skipping, jumping, catching, kicking, throwing ball etc.
5-17 years of age
At least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity
Activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 days per week.
Active games and active play with family.
Online games, activity or classes suitable for adolescents.
Learn a new skill
Encourage doing some muscle strength training activities such as lifting weights or use improvised weight such as bottles full of water or sand.
At least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week
At least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, including muscle-strengthening activities 2 or more days per week.
Older adults with poor mobility should do physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
Engage in household chores
Dancing to music
Sit ups and squats
Climb up the stairs
Some muscle strengthening activities such as lifting weights
Join online exercise classes
How to be active safely?
Do not exercise if you are sick.
Ensure physical distancing of at least 1meter.
Practice hand hygiene frequently and soon as you get home.
Follow the directions of your local health authority regarding any restrictions on the number of people with you and/or use of public places.
Start with low intensity activities, like walking and for shorter periods, like 5-10 minutes, and gradually build up to 30 minutes or more over a few weeks.
Choose the right activity with less risk of injury and that is enjoyable to you.
Choose the intensity of activity according to your health status and fitness level.
Being active during such a pandemic is challenging, but it is indeed important that we retain our health when we return winning our battle against corona.