There are many questions surrounding exercise and Coronavirus. Can I exercise if I have Coronavirus? How can I exercise at home? How do I know what to do? How long should I exercise for?
Let’s start with the basics. What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, that can affect your lungs and respiratory system. The main symptoms are fever, cough and trouble breathing. Most fit and healthy people will recover without needing any specialist care (although this is not always the case). Whereas, older people and those with underlying health problems and low immune systems may develop more serious illnesses.
The best way to protect yourself is to know how to stop the spread of the virus. It is spread mainly through drops of saliva or from being too close to someone who is coughing or sneezing. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the infection, ensuring to wash your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds after any contact as well as maintaining social distancing. At the moment there are no vaccines against COVID-19 so we need to do all that we can to protect ourselves.
How does exercise help?
Exercise boosts your immune system which might not stop you from contracting the virus, but it may well help with how quickly you recover, as exercising 2 to 3 times a week for 3 months before contracting a virus, prepares the immune system to fight a viral infection. Just one of the many important benefits of exercise!
Everyone should be exercising, especially now that we are confined to our houses for the foreseeable future. This applies to everyone, whether you’re a frequent gym goer and missing your sessions or someone who doesn’t do much exercise.
We all need to exercise for our mental and physical health. This is important at any time but even more so during this lockdown.
We are only allowed to leave the house for essential reasons; however, exercise is one of those reasons and we can do this once a day so make the most of it. Get outside in the fresh air and walk, jog or cycle, anything that gets you moving. Being outside and moving boosts your mood as well as keeping you fit.
We can use this extra time to become healthier, stronger, and fitter. I am doing so much more exercise than I normally do, and I am seeing huge changes in my body (all good!). Set goals to keep you going such as a walk every day one week, and then the next week up that to a walk every day and add in 2 workouts throughout the week. Increase this a little bit each week. Make sure that you start slowly if you are not used to exercising and build up gradually. Make sure that you plan when you are going to exercise as you are more likely to do it. Pick a time that is right for you, when you can commit to that 30 minutes!
Can I exercise if I have Coronavirus?
What to do if you have Coronavirus – should you still exercise? Firstly, if you are feeling poorly for any reason, then you should not be exercising, you need to give your body time to rest and recover. (If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service).
If you have the virus but do not have any symptoms, then it is fine to exercise in moderation.
Here are some tips to help you decide if you should be exercising:
- 20 – 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise up to three times a week can be carried out.
- You should be aiming to maintain your strength at this time and not trying to gain strength or muscle.
- Do not exercise if you develop symptoms of Coronavirus.
- Do not exercise past exhaustion. Keep your exercise light and stop if you feel tired or unwell.
- Make sure that you are exercising alone and not mixing with other people.
- Wash your hands regularly and disinfect any weights/resistance bands after use.
- Make sure that you are eating healthily including a healthy balance of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
- Try to get a good 7-8 hours sleep a night.
- Do not be too hard on yourself during this time and accept that your exercise will be restricted or stopped until you have fully recovered.
- Remember this is temporary. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal soon.
How can I exercise at home and how do I know what to do?
It’s easy to exercise at home! There are simple things that you can do without needing any equipment. You can extend your daily walk or try skipping if you have a rope. Simple ab crunches, side lunges and crab walks can make up a nice routine as can star jumps, bicycle crunches and tricep dips.
However, if you struggle to motivate yourself or put workouts together, and you’re wanting something more structured you can chose to do our TonedIn10 workouts. These give you 10 Minute instructor led workouts to follow along to (perfect to fit into your day whilst you’re looking after the kids 24/7 and trying to work from home and trying to keep the house tidy and trying to keep healthy etc!). They’re broken down into targeted Upper Body Workouts, Lower Body Workouts and Full Body Workouts so you can hit the areas you want, or you can add them together to give you a 20 or 30 minute workout. You can access a FREE 10 Minute workout here to see if it’s for you!
We also have our Facebook Support Group, where we run live workout classes every day (including Zumba, Yoga, HIIT classes and more!) and have provided alternative exercises to our unique 30-minute gym circuit that can easily be done at home, as well as providing support, motivation and a friendly face! To get all of this, simply request to join our Facebook Group and we will send you the link for payment. We are only charging £35 for a full months access (rather than charging per class, as this would add up to over £100 and we want everyone to be able to access these whilst we’re all in need!)
We need to stay positive at this time and make the best of what we’ve got. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do your normal gym routine or don’t have access to weights, resistance bands etc. Adapt your workout using what you’ve got. All you need is space, a couple of tins of beans, bottles of water, bags of flour and you can have a really good workout. Let’s see this as a challenge rather than a negative and switch up our workouts.
Caroline & Hannah xx