‘Rona restrictions are beginning to be eased around the state of QLD but life as we once knew it is likely to be a way off yet. Whether you are working or studying from home or not currently employed, we as a community are being deprived of the benefits of incidental exercise such as walking to public transport or walking from the car into the office. Added to this, gyms and group fitness are off-limits for now, which is allowing us to all to rack up our couch-potato hours while we binge-watch Netflix.

Exercise is a free and easy way to boost your mental and physical health. Importantly, as we head into our first taste of winter for the year, it allows for your immune system to fire at its full capacity!

Contemporary evidence backs these statements up, as leading a physically active lifestyle has been proven to reduce the incidence of infectious (e.g. bacterial and viral) and non-infectious diseases (e.g. Cancer, T2DM) (1). If fact, people who partake in strenuous exercise tend to report fewer sick days (2). Implying the immune system boost as a result of regular exercise.

Some other key reasons to get moving:

  • Increases serotonin and endorphin release in your brain - Makes you feel good

  • Improve your sleep and give you more energy - Good sleep helps you regulate your moods

  • Improve your sense of control, coping ability and self-esteem - Builds an achievement-driven attitude

  • Distraction from tasks, thoughts and provide an outlet - Especially from the home-schooled children or the living room office

  • Reduce skeletal muscle tension  - Feel more relaxed 

  • Improves weight management by increasing your metabolism and tends to impact our cravings towards healthier foods.

Notably, exercise, if not appropriately balanced or individualised can temporarily reduce your immune system and increase your risk of sustaining an injury. This highlights why physiotherapists are essential to the community as they allow people to return-to- or continue exercising!

Some general advice to avoid an overuse injury moving forward:

Technique and footwear are important:

  • If you haven’t completed a HIIT program before or surfed since you were a kid, the chances are that your technique may be a bit off. Doing things, the right way can reduce the likelihood of an injury occurring.  
  • Footwear generally have a roadworthy that lasts about 400-800 km before they should be replaced to offset injury.

Pacing is key:

  • Being cooped up inside and with exercise as one of the only outlets to get outside, it can be easy to overdo it early on!
  • Gradually building your body’s tolerance to exercise is as important as taking a day off and rest, recover and rebuild.
  • Warming up before and after physical activity reduces your injury risk
  • A 10% increase in activity each week is recommended

Mix it up:

  • Online workouts offer a perfect time to try new ways of moving and testing your body. Your living room or garage is your perfect new fitness studio for your Yoga, Pilates, Barré or HIIT program.
  • Boss it, get creative and build your own workout with household items. Fill a backpack or get your tin cans out to meet your resistance desires. Burpees, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and squats will all get your heart rate up.
  • Get out in nature. We live in a pretty amazing part of the world and we are lucky to have amazing beaches to run on, trails to hike and roads to cycle on. Remember to keep your up social-distancing responsibilities and abide by the COVID-19 restrictions.

References:

  1. Campbell, J., & Turner, J. (2018). Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers In Immunology, 9. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648
  2. Campbell, J. P., & Turner, J. E. (2018). Debunking the myth of exercise-induced immune suppression: redefining the impact of exercise on immunological health across the lifespan. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 648.