Exercise tips during the COVID-19 pandemicLocal | 18 Dec 2020 8:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of our daily routines have been affected. Following the closure of both the public and private fitness facilities, people’s exercise opportunity is further limited. For people who exercise regularly might have found alternative ways to carry on with their fitness journey. However, for those who are not used to doing exercise regularly or without supervision might be a bit lost at this moment.
Moderate-intensity physical activity
The aerobic exercises intensity can be classified by the Metabolic Equivalents (METs). One MET is the amount of oxygen consumed while resting in a sitting position.
The moderate-intensity aerobic exercises should be around 3-6 METs. During these activities, a moderate amount of effort should be required, and the heart rate should be noticeably accelerated.
For now, some simple cardio activities which can be completed at home may be good choices for the novice. Dancing, yoga and pilates are all considered as moderate-intensity aerobic exercises. Another popular option nowadays is physical activities related video game. If you would like to go outdoor, brisk walking is always a good choice.
Vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
The vigorous-intensity cardio workout should be above 6 METs; physically it should require a large amount of effort and substantially increase the heart rate.
For vigorous intensity physical activities, there are limited choices for home exercises, aerobics may be one. For outdoor ones, running, hiking, cycling and rope skipping are all good options.
Muscle-strengthening exercises should be started on major muscle groups, for example, biceps, triceps, pectoralis, quadriceps and hamstrings. Muscle strengthening exercises are different from aerobic exercises, which you will need some weights. If you are a beginner, you can consider starting with materials that you can find at home, such as a bottle of water or a bag of rice. Some simple proper equipment, including resistance bands and dumbbells, can be purchased for home exercises.
It is important to maintain the flexibility of muscles, this can help to prevent strain injuries. Static stretches can help maintain the range of movement, which should be done on the major muscle-tendon complex. The tightness in the muscle-tendon complex is related to your exercise and daily activities, you can stretch the ones that suit you. Hip flexor, quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius might be good ones to start your stretching exercises with.
Obviously, all physical activities involve the risk of injury. Muscle strain and ligament sprain are common injuries resulting from self-exercising. There are a lot of free exercise tutorials online. If you are a beginner, it is always a good idea to start with the easier ones; short duration, low intensity and rest in between. When you have mastered the easier ones, then you can gradually progress. Make sure you always listen to your body, tiredness and minimal aches can be present during/post exercises. If there is any pain during/post-exercise, there may be something wrong. Seek professional advice if needed.
Stay active and healthy, let’s fight against the COVID-19!
About the author
Edith TAM, a physiotherapist from Sportsperformance Physiotherapy, enjoys a number of sports including kayaking, badminton and snowboarding. She believes that sports are fundamental in helping people live happily and healthily.