Updated: Apr 1, 2020
In these times of isolation and quarantine, it's not all about playing words with friends, constant cleaning & hand washing and planning for that first celebration once the dreaded COVOID-19 virus disappears. It can also be about keeping healthy and getting into a quarantine - routine ( pun intended ) of going to bed and waking up as though your regular routine were still intact. Be productive within your own locus of control and finally get into exercise.
YES EXERCISE ! The buzz word that leaves many screwing up their faces; from the sweaty burning eyes to the agony of choice of which pair of funky trainers to wear. As much as we can understand, it seems C19 affects all populations indiscriminately, but for the most part, it has generally accepted that a) people with pre-existing medical conditions, b) older people, and c) older people with medical conditions are more affected than the general population.
What have YOU done today? Has it been anything remotely similar to your regular routine? Apart from getting to that dusty cupboard that needed a clean since your birthday 2018, i'm guessing that many of you have had a fairly quiet day. Doing some computer work, household chores....well done! Now what about your old aunt Gladys? Or granny Mirium who is a few weeks away from her 99th birthday? I'm guessing that they have done even less. In addition to C19, we know that inactivity is a MAJOR KILLER!
Our western society is swash with lack of sleep, inactivity, cancer, poor nutrition and convenience.....now we have to deal with a serious extra strain on our community? No thank you! Remember Aunt Gladys? Well she has been experiencing approximately 1-2% reduction in muscle mass per year and approximately 3& of her overall strength since her 50th birthday ! She inadvertently has an increased risk of falling, diabetes and generally may not be able to do as much on her own as normal ( Bell et al 2016 ). C19 has forced Gladys to now adopt an even less active lifestyle to protect herself from infection. McGlory et al (2017) have found that with a two week reduction in step count may lead to a reduced ability to regulate blood sugar levels (insulin sensitivity) and reduced protein synthesis in overweight, prediabetic, elderly patients. This means that even if Gladys returns to her normal level of activity after her 2 week quarantine she not be the same as before !
If you think you've dodged a bullet because you are 30 or even 40 years younger than Gladys, THINK AGAIN! It has been shown throughout the literature, that reduced activity in young, healthy participants for as little as three weeks through the means of using elevators and cars that increased insulin sensitivity, reduced fat metabolism and increased abdominal fat mass ( Say what now ???) can occur. Combined with an abundance in calories, worse yet ( knudsen et al. ) ! Don't worry, it's possible to control and manage even for Aunt Gladys! English et al (2010) in their review found that amino acid and high quality protein supplementation has the potential to limit the amount of muscle loss during prolonged times of inactivity ( especially when done in combination with exercise!). Even one week of step reduction can lower your protein synthesis ( Shad et al 2019 ) . We are talking about serious issues that have simple treatments!
‘Please, please Mr physio, tell me more! How can I keep all my gym gains and stop my muscle babies turning into jello?!’ There are physical activity guidelines that have been set out by various international governing bodies that stipulate for us all to achieve as little as 150 mins/ week of moderate aerobic exercise. That is LESS than 30 mins/day! You know what that means? Get off your couch and follow your favourite online exercise professionals for their daily quarantine workouts! Lets support our local businesses, youtubers, and even… Physios… While you’re at it, why not ring up Granny Mirium and give her some exercises over Facetime, or even the dreaded phone (that’s been on silent since 2009). Despite the face of pandemic adversity, let us all find some level of positivity, not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones as well. Believe me, Mirium and Gladys will greet your phone calls with “Well how lovely!, you are my new favourite grandchild!”