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You CAN help your body fight COVID-19!

Physiotherapists are celebrating Movement for Good Health NOW instead of on 10 May 2020, saying South Africans in lockdown must keep moving for healthy immune systems

One of our best defences against pandemics like COVID-19 is to keep our bodies as healthy as possible.

Critical to a good immune system that can fight off disease is exercise – not just gym or soccer or running, but regular movement, throughout the day. “Our bodies evolved to move all the time, not just in short bursts of strenuous activity,” says Rogier van Bever Donker. “Our ancestors used different muscle groups in constant activity, whether milking cows or ploughing fields or scrubbing clothes on a washboard.”

We need regular movement to keep our lymphatic system working. A bit like our blood circulation system, the lymphatic system is a network that moves a clear fluid called lymph around our bodies, which is especially important to our immune system. But unlike our veins and arteries, the lymphatic system does not have a pump – it’s dependent on us moving to keep the lymph going. Our muscles are the pump for this crucial defence against infection!

In addition, remember that many diseases, including COVID-19, attack the lungs – and people who move a lot every day, who use their muscles, have better lung function.

So, any way of boosting your level of movement is helpful and improves your resilience.  Those who exercise, who move more, have a reduced risk of illness.

Even small increases in light-intensity physical activity can reduce your risk of poor health, scientists have found – if you add as little as 30 minutes a day, broken up into chunks of ten minutes or even less at a time, if you like.

But how do you get more movement in your own home, in a confined space? You can move – even while lying in bed! Some of our suggestions:

  1. Do not sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. Plan to get up – set your phone to remind you. Walk around the outside of your house briskly.
  2. Loosen up your neck – turn your head from one side to the other, look down so your chin is pressed into your chest, look as far up as you can; and then do it all over again, a few times.
  3. Lie down on your bed and lift your knees, pulling your feet towards your body so your legs form an upside-down V. Press the small of your back into the bed; then tighten your tummy muscles and count to five. Relax and then repeat five times.
  4. Still on your bed in the same position, keep your knees together and swing them from side to side, counting a total of five swings each way, then relax and once more, repeat.
  5. Use your children as exercise equipment. Swing them over your head to give your arms some exercise; lie down and do push-ups with a small child on your back – a great game which will have them giggling.
  6. Put on some music and dance. Aim to use your arms, legs and pelvis in the dance, no matter how funny this looks (a good laugh is great therapy, anyway)!

Celebrate Movement for Good Health Day NOW by getting your blood pumping and boosting your immunity!

 

Article courtesy of the South African  Society of Physiotherapy. ( www.saphysio.co.za.)

Fight COVID-19 with exercise!

Movement for Good Health – as important now as ever

The doors to the gym are closed, but we started to run, walk the dogs and cycle.

 

How do we keep ourselves fit? Because exercise is not just essential for toned bodies and strong muscles; it is the foundation of health, and currently, that means resilience, a body that is able to take on pathogens and win.

 

In addition, COVID-19 strikes the lungs: exercise is vital for lungs that work well and have good capacity.

 

We can keep in other ways than formal exercise programmes, however. We can harness the crucial power of NEAT, or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is – energy expenditure that’s associated with spontaneous movement, not planned physical exercise. Children are brilliant at it, fidgeting and wriggling and bouncing; we can all learn a lesson or two from watching them.

 

“Habitual exercise improves immune regulation,” scientists wrote in a review of evidence published in May last year. Those who exercise, who move more, have a reduced risk of illness.

 

It is not necessary to give up on movement for good health just because you’re stuck at home.

“It wasn’t that long ago that people moved all day long – every activity of daily life, from making food to visiting family to making furniture, involved physical activity,” says SASP President Rogier van Bever Donker. “Today, thanks to modern automation of many processes, many things that used to involve manual work no longer do. Low levels of what is called NEAT put people at risk of a range of conditions, from obesity to diabetes to cancer and more. All day, every day, you need to look for opportunities for physical activity that goes beyond the gym or running track, the ordinary physical movements of normal life.”

 

Even small increases in light-intensity physical activity can reduce your risk of poor health, scientists have found – if you add as little as 30 minutes a day, broken up into chunks of ten minutes or even less at a time, if you like.

And home is a great place to do this.

Get vigorous in the kitchen – chop and grate and beat and knead, using muscle power instead of small appliances.

If you need to have a phone chat, get up and walk while chatting.

Do your own housework as much as possible – washing walls and pushing mops are great movement tactics.

Take time to do renovations – scrubbing down gutters, varnishing doors, painting walls. It is all great exercise, and will make you feel better mentally, too.

Make a habit of moving even when you are still: clench your toes and ‘circle’ your feet while watching TV; do scissors leg exercises on the bed while reading.

Have fun with your children – nothing like robust physical play to get the blood moving!

 

Celebrate Movement for Good Health Day NOW by getting your blood pumping and boosting your immunity.

 

Article courtesy of the South African  Society of Physiotherapy. ( www.saphysio.co.za.)