Staying Active During COVID-19
Staying physically active while many fitness centers, gyms and pools have been closed has not been easy. Knowing how essential exercise is for our physical and mental well-being, how do we maintain this essential activity – especially during a time when we need it the most?
“Exercise pays off in so many ways, from boosting our immune systems to reducing stress to preventing weight gain,” says UW Health’s Marc Sherry, sports rehabilitation manager at UW Health at The American Center. “While it might take a little imagination or change in routine, there are plenty of ways to keep the body moving, even if your health club or fitness center is unavailable or you simply don’t feel comfortable entering a public indoor gym right now.”
As the weather has improved, Sherry says, many people have taken advantage of the outdoors by walking, running, hiking, and bicycling.
Take Advantage of Our "Big Outdoor Gym"
“We are lucky to live in a place that is really like a big outdoor gym, especially with all the bike paths and hiking trails nearby, “ Sherry says. “When the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s also easy to find plenty of online home video workouts suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced athletes. Many videos require no equipment and can give you a decent workout in 20 minutes or less.”
Sherry says working out in the privacy of your own home or walking in your neighborhood may be more comfortable and less intimidating for beginners.
“Something is better than nothing and today is better than tomorrow,” he says. “Especially during a pandemic, staying active is a great way to boost your resistance level and keep you and your family safer.”
As gyms and health clubs have begun to re-open, he says, it’s important to assess your risk profile before deciding whether to use a facility.
“Your age, health, and living situation are all key factors,” Sherry says. “You should also ask plenty of questions to be sure your fitness center is taking necessary precautions to keep members safe.”
UW Health is Ready to Help with Your Sports Injury
Sherry reminds those with nagging pain or injuries not to let them go untreated, especially during a time when many people have been sheltering at home.
“Letting your injury go unattended means you are probably weakening your immune system by remaining sedentary,” Sherry says. “At UW Health, our Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation clinics are safer and cleaner than ever, with physical distancing practices throughout our treatment and waiting spaces, screening procedures at our building entrances and protective facial equipment worn by our providers. We also offer video visits, which are ideal for patients with respiratory or other high-risk conditions that may cause people to hesitate seeing a rehabilitation therapist or doctor in person.”
School-age Athletes Should Stay Active
Sherry also advises families whose kids play organized sports to encourage their athletes to get off the couch and limit their time on the phone or device.
“We know how frustrating it is for kids in organized sports not to have this physical outlet,” he says. “It’s important, however, not to have a significant drop in your muscular strength or reaction time. If your child plays soccer, for example, he or she should be kicking the ball around at a park and replicate game movement as much as possible. By sticking with these skills and drills, it will make the transition a lot easier once organized practice and play resumes. It also will minimize the risk of injury instead of suddenly trying to make up for lost time.”
Schedule an Appointment
If you have experienced an injury, UW Health Sports Medicine experts can help. Schedule an appointment
Date Published: 06/18/2020