How Exercise Can Help Fight the COVID -19 Virus

Many Australians have gone into self-isolation due to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Gyms and fitness centers across the country have been forced to close due to the risk of contamination. During this time, it is easy to ignore exercising as it does not seem like a necessary activity. But what if I was to tell you that exercise can be a key determinant in keeping you safe and healthy during this stressful time?

Continue reading to find out how exercise can help and how to get started at home to maintain your health and fitness!

How can exercise help me now?

Regular exercise has been found to have positive benefits in strengthening our immune system, maintaining our physical health and improving our mental wellbeing.

Recent studies have found that moderate to vigorous bouts of exercise may help to increase the circulation of white blood cells within our body. This in turn increases the surveillance of our immune cells, allowing our body to better identify any foreign bodies and eliminate them before they become a risk to our health.

Similar studies have also found that exercise decreases the inflammatory response within our body, which helps to improve glucose and lipid metabolism. This is particularly important for helping to treat and prevent the occurrence of many cardiac and metabolic conditions such as diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Exercise also helps to lower the release of stress hormones within our body. Not only does this have a positive impact on out mental health, but also our physical, as higher rates of stress hormones may lead to a decrease within our immune function.

Can I still exercise outside?

Following the advice of our government, outdoor exercise is still permitted, so long as you maintain 2m distance between yourself and others. Being self-isolated doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside the house. Get outside and go for a walk, head down to your local park and do a workout or even make use of your back yard.

Alternatively, exercise may be performed in your own home, ensuring your own safety. Make sure there are no tripping hazards or objects you may be able to bump into.

Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your workouts, exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Try some new exercises, have some fun, think of new ways that you can utilize old equipment. The opportunities are endless, when you give it a go.

I have no equipment; how can I exercise?

Easy, there are plenty of exercises out there that don’t rely on any equipment at all see below a list of exercises that you may be able to perform yourself at home.

 

Sit to stand

This exercise is a safe, easy workout for the legs.

Start sitting in a chair arms crossed (can use your arms if needed).
Push up from chair to standing position, ensuring knees always remain in line with toes.
Gently lower yourself back down to the chair

 

Kitchen Bench Push up

An easy upper body exercise that can be performed in any home.

Begin exercise in plank position, maintaining a straight back.
Bend arms to lower chest towards the bench.
Tap chest to bench and push back up.

To make easier perform on a wall, to make harder move to a lower surface such as a table.

Clams

Perfect exercise to work the muscles within your bum. Can be performed on your bed or the ground.

Begin in a side lying position, knees bent up to 45 degrees. Squeeze through the bottom and slowly lift the top knee up, ensuring your feet are stuck together.

To make harder add a band around your knees.

 

Bird Dog

This exercise is a little trickier than the rest but is good for improving posture and back stability.

Start on all 4’s, slowly extend opposite arm to leg, keeping the hips stable. A fun trick with this exercise is to place a ball in the small of your back. If you aren’t keeping you hips stable to ball will roll off.

If this exercise is too tricky, start with just the knees and add in arms once you feel more confident.

Glute bridges

A good all-round exercise the works on Legs, bottom and back.

Begin by flattening your back into mat or bed and squeezing through your bottom. Gently lift your hips, peeling one part of your spine off the ground at a time. Hold for a second at the top before slowly curling your back down.

 

Calf raises

Lower leg exercise that is great for improving balance and mobility.

Standing flat foot near something you can hold onto for balance. Push up onto your tip toes as high as you can then come back down to a flat foot, keeping knees straight at all times.

 

Exercises provided are suited to general populations, if you are having any concerns with exercise, or are seeking further help, please call Activate Health Exercise Physiology on 07 4939 5696. We are currently opened for business (Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emu park) and available for face to face and telehealth consultations.

Gemma Titheradge – Accredited Exercise Physiologist