Arts & Leisure

Why stay active during Lockdown

Chris Theko

As we settle into another two weeks, that could possibly be more, of lockdown, we are starting to see the impact of these measures on physical activity and therefore health.

Whilst key workers continue to face immense challenges, those of us at home can play our part in protecting the health professionals such as nurses and doctors from the influx of conditions related to inactivity after the restrictions are eased.

Physical activity is critical for mental and physical wellbeing and prolonged periods of reduced activity will have a significant impact.

This could lead to increased demand for medical treatment when the hospitals need to focus on the various repercussions of lockdown and Covid-19. 

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and with limited space.

The following are some tips on how to stay active and reduce sedentary behaviour while at home in lockdown or self-quarantine:

Take short active breaks during the day. Short bouts of physical activity add up to the weekly recommendations. You may use the suggested exercises below as inspiration to be active every day. Dancing, playing with children, and performing domestic chores such as cleaning and gardening are other means to stay active at home.

Follow an online exercise class. Take advantage of the wealth of online exercise classes. Many of these are free and can be found on YouTube. If you have no experience performing these exercises, be cautious and aware of your own limitations.

Walk. Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active. If you have a call, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down. If you decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 1-meter distance from other people.

Stand up. Reduce your sedentary time by standing up whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting and reclining time every 30 minutes. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing. During sedentary leisure time prioritize cognitively stimulating activities, such as reading, board games, and puzzles.

Relax. Meditation and deep breaths can help you remain calm. A few examples of relaxation techniques are available below for inspiration.

Alongside the immediate rehab needs of people who have had coronavirus, we are likely to see a wider impact on population health as a result of lockdown, in part due to reduced physical activity levels.

There is a risk that physiotherapists will be inundated with people who have aches and pains as a result of inactivity and sedentary behaviour. ffffff0c6ad988

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