Exercising in a lockdown
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it” — Plato (427–347 BC)
In the wake of lockdown recommendations and the precautions, we must take to control the spread of COVID-19 you may be wondering why the government is allowing daily exercise outdoors alongside only essential work, travel and shopping.
We all understand the importance of exercise for our physical health but many of us don’t appreciate the positive effect it also has on our immune systems. Recent research indicates that regular physical activity reduces the incidence of communicable (including viral infections such as COVID-19) and non-communicable diseases (e.g. cancer), implying that the function of our immune system is enhanced by regular exercise bouts1.
The other main factor is the positive influence exercise has on our mental health and in such a time of heightened anxiety, this is more important than ever. Single bouts of physical activity have been shown to improve mood2 and regular activity has proven to reduce anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep2.
To get the immune function and mood-boosting benefits of exercise all you need to understand is: some exercise is good, and more is better. World Health Organisation Guidelines recommend Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of the two. This can be made up of periods of as short as 10 minutes of activity at a time and should include at least two muscle-strengthening activities, such as weights training, Pilates or Yoga3.
Exercising in a lockdown needs to be of a level and form that is right for each individual. So whether you are not sure where to start, have pain or injury holding you back or just want some professional tips to enhance your exercise – our team are all senior health professionals with the ability to help you find what is right for you.
- Campbell, J.P., Turner, J.E. (2018) Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan, Front. Immunol., 16 April 2018