For all of us our lives’ have been greatly affected in the past year by Covid-19 and the huge impact this has had on our lifestyle, with ‘stay at home’ restrictions. Many have had to transition to working from home, which has resulted in a substantial decrease in activity with evidence suggesting an approximate 30% increase in sitting time and a 30% reduction in physical activity (Ammar et al. 2020).
With risk factors for serious illness from Covid-19, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, being linked to reduced physical activity, this drop-in activity isn’t a positive shift! Physical inactivity itself has been linked to 3,000,000 deaths per year which is a staggering figure and evidence strongly links a physically sedentary lifestyle to a significantly increased risk for chronic disease (Hall et al. 2020).
During these last 6 months alone, in clinic we have seen many patients presenting with problems related to a substantial reduction in physical activity, with soreness and stiffness due quite simply to a lack of movement. This is even seen in cases where people are still doing several sessions of exercise in the week, but where cumulative movement on a daily basis has plummeted.
Step counts have dramatically dropped with the loss of commutes and mid-day lunch run’s, sports teams and local leagues not currently functioning, and the closure of gyms, so many have lost their regular schedules that enable them to keep more active. This is causing its own set of problems and in the long term is detrimental to all aspects of health.
The benefits of exercise are multifactorial, with a positive effect on immune function, mental health, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing fitness and quality of life, and treating and preventing chronic illness.
Guidelines suggest that we should be doing 150 – 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week.
This equates to five 30 minute sessions 5 times a week as a baseline. This can include activities such as household tasks like cleaning or gardening, as well as general movement during the day with the goal of sitting less and moving more, but should also include exercise that raises your heart rate.
This may seem like an insurmountable task when motivation is at an all-time low after a tough year, so below are some simple tips on how to integrate more movement throughout your day:
As always, if you are experiencing pain that is not settling book a consultation with one of our specialists who will be able to give you specific treatment and advice.