- UVM Health Network
It’s tempting to sit on the couch and watch a screen during this time of important social isolation, but we also need to keep our bodies active. 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week is suggested. Under the current stay at home orders, you are allowed outside to exercise and do tasks around the house and yard, and there’s still plenty you can do while still remaining safely six feet apart.
While the stay at home order doesn’t prevent us from leaving our homes to exercise, we should all be cautious about any activity or travel which could result in unnecessary injuries or accidents. It’s important to avoid injury so that hospital staff can serve those who need the most support. When you do decide to get outside, here are some general guidelines we recommend:
Stay Close To Home
To reduce risk, walk on your street or a local wooded area instead of driving to a location. If you must drive, limit your travels from home to 10 miles, and only travel with members of your household.
Respect Signs And Cautions
Many public facilities, trails and parks are closed at this time to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Please respect these notices and choose alternative areas to exercise. Remember to stay six feet away from other people you encounter. Slow down and move aside to let others pass, avoid crowded public recreation areas and be patient. When you return home, wash your hands.
Wear Proper Clothing
Make sure your shoes and clothing fit properly and aren’t too restrictive. If you are exercising outside, wear reflective clothing and be aware of your environment. If you are exercising by yourself outside, and maintaining social distancing, you probably don’t need to wear a mask at this time.
We all wake up dehydrated. Start each day with an 8-ounce glass of water, and remember to drink some more water during the day. Coffee doesn’t count because it dehydrates you. Drink water with exercise, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Warm Up Before You Exercise
Do a few stretches with your arms and legs to increase your blood flow and loosen your muscles. March in place for a minute or two before heading out.
Choose Low-Risk Activities
You may have more time on your hands these days, but now is not the time to tackle a risky household project, or learn a new hobby or sport that could land you in the hospital. Here’s what you can do:
Our region is beautiful in the spring – the trees are beginning to bud, the crocuses and daffodils are beginning to sprout. It’s a great time to go for a daily walk.
Go on a bike ride around the neighborhood, alone or with your family. This could become the ‘gym’ portion of the day for school-age children. Remember to always wear your helmet!
Tend to your emerging gardens or start a container garden on your deck. Be careful to pace yourself and not to strain your back and knees.
If you can’t get out of the house, there are lots of free online exercise videos you can use. Find one that fits your fitness level, and yet challenges you a little bit.
There are plenty of low-risk, safe and healthy activities to do outside. Spending as little as five minutes per day outside in green space helps reduce your cortisol, the hormone that produces stress. Take care of yourself, get outside and most importantly, stay active!
Find more information on how to stay healthy while staying home and social distancing at: UVMHealth.org/COVIDwellbeing.
With temperatures warming, this is the time when we normally start thinking about vacations, family gatherings and neighborhood barbecues. Of course, everything is different this year. But it’s important to remind ourselves every day that our collective actions thus far are making a difference in flattening the COVID-19 curve, and we’re going to get through this. It will take all of us, working with perseverance and patience, to slow the spread of this illness. So we at UVM Health Network are asking that you stay the course: Stay home, maintain distance from others, wash your hands and make sure you seek medical care when you need it. Let’s stick together in the fight against this virus so that, in the not-so-distant future, we can all be together again.
John R. Brumsted, MD
President and CEO
The University of Vermont Health Network