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How to stay fit during coronavirus lockdown - a doctor's advice

Dr Justin Keogh | March 25, 2020 12:52 PM
Bond Rugby 7s player Stephanie Rutherford with Dr Justin Keogh. Credit: Cavan Flynn

Some of the world's biggest cities have been put under full or partial lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus. Bond University’s Associate Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Dr Justin Keogh, gives his top tips for keeping fit and healthy while in isolation.
Limit sitting time
If you are working from home or in self isolation, try to limit your sitting time as best as possible. The more you are standing the better for your overall health and fitness.
Keep walking
If you have a smartwatch, use that to track your steps and try to maintain a high percentage of what you would normally cover. If you usually do 10,000 steps in a day, see if you can get as close to those numbers as possible on a regular basis. Whether walking around the backyard or in a safe space, it’s important to keep the body moving.
Get outside in your backyard – if you have one -- and look for opportunities to be active. If you have kids, find ways to be active with them. All incremental exercise will help.
Bodyweight exercises
Bodyweight exercises can be really effective in maintaining your health and fitness. This includes things like push-ups, squats, sit to stand exercises and lunge patterns.
If you can do a chin-up or prone row where you pull yourself up towards an object, these are great exercises.
Other options include isometrics -- where you contract your muscles just like a bodybuilder posing.
Wrestling with your kids is also an easy way to keep active, engaged and is a good way to keep the whole family fit.
Avoid the kitchen
If we become more inactive and are working from home, the risk is we’ll all be spending more time in the kitchen. Boredom and eating often go hand-in-hand.
It's important to be cautious of extra snacking and eating, because your calorie intake may increase as well.
Trying to maintain regular dietary intake and not increasing it is perhaps going to be a challenge for many parts of the community. One way to help is to continue to buy your regular foods, it’s hard to eat cake and biscuits if you don’t have them in your fridge or pantry.
Use free resources available online
There are free resources online that people can use, and having some variety is going to be important if any lockdown is ongoing. There are plenty of exercise programs, instructions on how to exercise safely and ways to mix up your training online. It is important to set goals and diversify your training so you don’t get bored.
Our national body Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) have recently released information on this topic that includes links to the Exercise Right at Home program that provides a range of free workout videos for strength training, aerobic exercise and fall prevention exercises that can be easily done at home. Click here.
Get social -- virtually
You might not be able to see your friends and extended family like you’d like, but it can be really beneficial to still be in contact with them.
If you can incorporate them virtually, through facetime or video conferencing, they can be involved in your exercise session.
It’s a great source of motivation having them involved.
The social isolation can be a massive issue and any way you can involve other people, the better for your general health and wellbeing.

* Dr Justin Keogh is an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Health Science & Medicine at Bond University on the Gold Coast. He is a former national champion in powerlifting and strongman.

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