Keeping Fit During Coronavirus Confinement

Coronavirus confinement means we have more free time but it also means we can’t do things we used to do outdoors, like exercise. Dr. Ramirez Haua, a sports physician, gives us the keys to get exercise at home and how it should be.

How to get exercise at home?

The first step would be to set a goal, either for health, fun or both. When we make a decision we are governed by emotions. It is advisable to think of something that excites us in such a way that inspires us to exercise. For example, watching a movie or a video that motivates us, like Rocky, an Olympic Games, a final of our favorite sport, a book or video of a reference in sport, etc.

What goals to set for yourself?

The goals, as in any sport, should be short term and progressing. For example, doing 30 to 45 minutes a day is easy to achieve if we think that the day has 24 hours and that, if we are at home without having to move, we will sleep (something very important), an average of 7-8 hours, so we have many hours to distribute activities. Among them, mindfulness is also recommended, as it activates areas of the brain that help physical and mental well-being.

Pros and cons of exercising at home

Faced with this exceptional situation, the best way to combat the weather, ailments, illnesses, and spend time with the family, promoting good habits, is physical activity. The greatest advantage of doing sports at home, at this time, is to cut the chain of contagion and not expose ourselves. Always make sure that the areas are ventilated, with a temperature where you feel comfortable.

On the contrary, the negative aspects of exercising at home would be the space, and not being able to perform physical activity outdoors. But this is no excuse not to practice it, since physical activity is defined as “the performance of the movement of our skeletal muscles to expend energy”, and exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that depends on planning and structures. Therefore, it is advisable, as a minimum, to practice physical activity or exercise adapted to the circumstances.

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What exercises can we do?

We should do aerobic and anaerobic exercises, breathing and stretching. Some examples could be: exercise bike or elliptical if available, dancing, jumping with or without rope, static sprinting, sit-ups, squats, push-ups, jumping from a box, hula-hoop, etc. Also, it might be a good time to learn from basic tutorials on hypopressive crunches, good stretching and correct breathing, for example.

How much time to dedicate to exercise?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends:

  • Ages 5 to 17: 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity.
  • 18 to 64 years: 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of intense activity.
  • From 65 years and older: as above but adapted to each person. If the person has a disability, 3 times a week.

In all cases, the person will be carrying out osteomuscular strengthening, balance control and about 10 minutes of cardiorespiratory benefit, in addition to improving elasticity.

How to avoid injuries and which household objects to use safely?

When you start exercising at home, you should stretch and warm up your muscles and joints progressively, and also stretch correctly at the end, taking deep, slow breaths. The environment should be clean and clear, and it is best to exercise with non-slip shoes or socks, as well as using a mat. Hydration and a balanced diet are basic, too.

There are certain elements in the home that can help exercise: from a chair, a rope, packets of rice, sugar, legumes, a ladder, books, balls, etc. to other objects that can be moved easily without risk of injury. Objects that can be easily broken, such as glass bottles or derivatives, are not recommended.

Applications for exercising at home

The applications that should be used should be serious, easy to understand and adapted to the level to which we are accustomed. If children and seniors are going to do it, the use of music and videos is more practical.