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Exercise during coronavirus

We are currently heading into unprecedented and potentially scary times ahead. To reduce the spread of coronavirus, we’ve been advised to maintain social distancing and hygiene measures such as regular hand washing and covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze – let’s face it, we should be doing the hygiene stuff anyway. We’ve also been asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine if we feel unwell and think we may have contracted the virus. So how do we stay fit and healthy?

What if I told you that you don’t need a gym membership or specialised equipment to get an effective workout?

The response if usually one of the following:

  1. That’s fine but you can’t increase your strength without weights.
  2. Great! But how do I do this and what exercises should I be doing?
  3. But I can’t get motivated to exercise at home by myself and don’t want to get hurt.

So, let’s go through each of these points.

1. You can’t increase your strength without weights

Without starting an argument, I’m just going to mention a few sports which are associated with immense strength, control and fitness but don’t typically involve strength training in the way you might think.

  • Boxing and other combat sports
  • Gymnastics and cheerleading
  • Some types of dancing

These sports and activities require a lot of strength and control but you will rarely see the athletes and individuals in a typical gym setting. They use their bodyweight (and yes, sometimes equipment) to improve their muscular strength, power and endurance. Bodyweight exercises can be as simple as a sit to stand or as complex as a burpee with a backflip.

2. How to exercise at home (or anywhere) and what should you specifically be doing

Whenever I’m coming up with a program for a patient, I like to take a holistic approach. I always try to include the following aspects: aerobic exercise (cardio), strength (lower body, upper body and core), flexibility (stretching and mobility) and balance. There are endless combinations of exercise that you can do to maintain your health and well-being (including supporting your immune system).

For this reason (and others), we have come up with the 10-Minute Workout and put these together on a YouTube channel that everyone can access. Yes, some people have special considerations for their exercise and we will endeavour to cover appropriate adjustments to compensate. [If in doubt, please contact us or your health professional for more information and guidance.]

You can use bodyweight only exercises or use household items such as tinned food, water bottles, benchtops, chairs and pillows or get some dumbbells, resistance bands, exercise balls or other exercise equipment.

3. You can’t get motivated to exercise at home by yourself or not sure if you’re performing the exercises correctly

This is where social media is great at connecting people. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) physically be around other people, you can still feel connected and a part of a community through social media platforms. As well as good old-fashioned phone calls and text messages. You can let a friend or family member know what you’re doing and ask them to keep you accountable or even join on a video call to exercise together.

Alternatively, telehealth allows you to connect with a health professional (including us) by using video conferencing technology to go through specific exercises. This is great if you want a personalised exercise program and want to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Another option we are looking to implement is virtual group exercise classes. This is already being offered by many exercise professionals worldwide in various forms. We are specifically looking to use video conferencing software where we can deliver an exercise class live to a group of people but still have the capacity to correct technique and provide alternative or modified exercises just like you would expect in a face-to-face exercise class. Everything about this option is designed to be the same as a face-to-face group exercise class (delivered at a specific time that you have to sign up (and show up) for, instant feedback and modifications as required, different exercises each time so you don’t get bored) but without the actual physical presence.

So, whether you’re self-isolating or can’t physically get to the clinic or class you want to, there are always alternatives to keep you fit and healthy now and into the future.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want more information on any of these options.

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