Be COVID Fit. Be a CHAMP Family

in Health & Beauty

Exercising during the COVID pandemic, many of us have been restricted in our movements, making it difficult to maintain our usual level of activity. 

Public Health’s next CovidFit campaign is titled ‘Be CovidFit – Be a CHAMP Family’ and is supported by the GHA physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams

The campaign draws on principles of the CHAMP initiative which focus primarily on children, using a multi-agency platform.  Activity and fitness that can be completed individually or as a family unit is the prime focus

Prolonged periods of home isolation can lead to:

  • Low motivation and energy, coupled with low mood
  • Reduced muscle strength in the limbs (often observed as weakness and/or reduced strength)
  • Balance impairment that could lead to more trips or falls
  • A reduced ability to carry out independent activities of daily life such as shopping, dressing/ bathing or transferring from place to place (from bed to chair, room to room etc.).
  • Reduced Vitamin D levels which has implications for bone health 

Two key areas of focus are: Safety and Physical Activity.

Safety

  • In order to exercise safely it is essential to maintain a suitable environment. Important points to consider include: 
  • Warming up your body before any physical activity and cooling it down after a workout to prevent potential injuries.
  • Removing any trip hazards such as unsuitable footwear, long/trailing clothes, rugs, mats or clutter. 
  • To prevent falls, it is also a good idea to avoid stepping up onto stools or pieces of furniture. 
  • Opening the curtains fully and allowing the opportunity to access natural light when possible. (If you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, do contact your GP/ healthcare professional for advice).
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to remain hydrated, and especially when engaging in any vigorous activity. Remember, if you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated!
  • Refraining from exercising if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other COVID-19 symptoms; in this case, please call 111, and follow the health care advice.

if you are able to exercise outside and choose to do so you will need to: 

  • Maintain physical distancing, at least 2 metres (3 steps) between yourself and others; this is especially important if you run into someone you know from another household.
  • Practice appropriate hand hygiene before you leave your house, when you get to where you are going, and as soon as you return.  
  • Consider the use of walking aids or other equipment if required.

Physical Activity

In order to maintain a healthy body, we all require regular activity. Even a short break from sitting, with 5 minutes of physical movement (such as walking or stretching) will ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation. 

Physical activity includes all forms of movement, not just exercise or participating in a sport. Play, dance, house cleaning and even carrying heavy shopping are all ways to keep physically active. 

Recommendations:

  • Build regular physical activity into your daily routine.
  • 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]. 
  • Warm up before starting any activity and gradually ease your body in through the first few minutes. 
  • Opt for activities that you enjoy, and take part with other people to keep up motivation. Grandparents can exercise with grandchildren over Whatsapp/ Facetime to make activities more interactive and fun.
  • Make use of online exercise videos. The community physiotherapy team have a series that are around 20 minutes’ duration and are suitable for all skill levels.

For more information, see: www.CovidFit.gi

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