Sheltering in place, lack of exercise and weight gain
The lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to either stay home or definitely reduce our outdoors and out-of-the-house activities. Gyms, public pools, golf courses, tennis courts, soccer fields are closed. All of these sport activities are at least in part still on hold. Even the daily 1-2 hour walk that many were used to perform as part of a moderate exercise regimen are on hold right now due to restrictions but also fear.
The American Medical Association’s recommendation of moderate exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week (minimum of 150 minutes per week) for all of us has hardly been feasible to follow within the last two months. As a result, many of our patients did report weight gain and less physical activity.
At this point, I have the following 5 suggestions:
- Try to use 30 minutes per day to do home exercises, whether it is walking around the house, stretching, going up and downstairs or even arm exercises by repeatedly lifting up your water bottle 30 times per arm until your heart rate goes up and you feel a bit short of breath.
- When the gyms etc re open, do not overdo it! You might create a muscle breakdown (even in young and healthy people) which in turn can lead to kidney failure among other health problems.
- Stretch, ease into a progressive exercise regimen, and be well hydrated in order to avoid injuries and damage.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, avoid overeating, ideally what we a call a Mediterranean type diet.
- Track your activities in a log book including the activities and time spent as a referral to measure further progress.
Important to know: you want to challenge your heart and blood vessels a little bit by doing exercises that make you either sweat or get your heart rate up or develop a bit short of breath to keep your blood vessels elastic, train your hearts capacity, and to loose these extra lockdown pounds!