CovidFit – Physical Activity

CovidFit – Physical Activity

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been restricted in our movements, which makes it difficult to maintain the same level of activity. There are several issues that could result from prolonged periods of lock down or home isolation. Click HERE for more.

The GHA physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams have lent their expertise to the  CovidFit campaign. 

In order to maintain a healthy body, we all require regular physical activity. This includes all forms of movement, not just formal exercise or participating in a sport.

Play, dance, house cleaning and even carrying heavy shopping are all ways to keep physically active. Even a short break from sitting, by doing 5 minutes of physical movement (such as walking or stretching) will ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation.

Standard recommendations are to:

  • aim for 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day, where you feel slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation. [Note, recommendation for children is 1 hour]. As your fitness increases, you will find that you have to work harder to become out of breath and this in turn will increase your fitness level.
  • ensure to warm up before starting any set activities or exercise programs and gradually ease your body in through the first few minutes.
  • try to find activities that you enjoy, taking part with other people will help keep up motivation. Grandparents can exercise with grandchildren over Whatsapp/ FaceTime to make activities more interactive and fun.
  • build regular physical activity into your daily routine.
  • make use of online exercise videos. The GHA community physiotherapy team have a series of exercises of around 20 minutes’ duration that are suitable for all skill levels (see links below). Change4Life offer some great child-friendly activities including 10 minute ‘shake-up’ ideas that the family can complete together. Click HERE for more.

Exercising safely!

To exercise safely, it is necessary to maintain a suitable and safe environment. When exercising at home make sure to:

  • eliminate any trip hazards such as unsuitable footwear, long/trailing clothes, and removing rugs, mats, or clutter.
  • avoid stepping up onto stools or pieces of furniture to eliminate any trip hazards such as unsuitable footwear, long/trailing clothes, and removing rugs, mats, or clutter. To prevent falls, it is also a good idea to avoid stepping up onto stools or pieces of furniture; see more from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
  • open the curtains fully to allow access to natural light; perhaps on the balcony or in your garden (if available). If you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, contact your GP/ healthcare professional.
  • make sure to warm-up before and stretch after! 
  • drink plenty of water throughout the day to remain hydrated, and increasing your uptake during any vigorous activity. Remember, if you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated!
  • refrain from exercising if you feel under the weather and rest for a day or two. If you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other COVID-19 symptoms, call 111, and follow the health care advice given. For more information more from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, click HERE.

If you are exercising outdoors, please make sure to follow  current Public Health guidance:

  • maintain physical distancing, at least 2 metres (3 steps) between yourself and others; this is particularly important if you should run into someone you know from another household.
  • wash your hands with soap and water before you leave your house, when you get to where you are going, and as soon as you return.  If water and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub (70% minimum).
  • consider the use of walking aids or other equipment if required. The GHA physiotherapy and occupational health teams provide assessments and equipment for various patient groups including those with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, palliative care patients and those recently discharge from hospital (depending on the diagnosis). To find out more regarding equipment and assessments email the Physiotherapy department: pccphysio@gha.gi 

For more information on physical activity, click HERE.