How Are You Staying Healthy and Fit?

How Are You Staying Healthy and Fit?

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In “Tears and Disbelief as Coronavirus Cancels Youth Sports,” Joe Drape and David W. Chen write:

Little League baseball has shut down. Youth lacrosse and soccer clubs have suspended their seasons. Travel teams across all sports have been grounded. The coronavirus pandemic has done what generations of overbearing parents and coaches have failed to do: send millions of boys and girls to the sideline.

The impact of the emerging health crisis was felt immediately at the high school level as state championships in basketball, ice hockey and wrestling were canceled from Montana to New Jersey.

Hearts were broken. Tears were shed.

At the youth level, an indefinite pause in practices, games and tournaments promises to upset the rhythms of countless families and deal a significant blow to the youth sports economy.

Does this account resonate with your own experience? How has the coronavirus affected your sports and fitness activities and routines? What are you doing to stay fit in a time of social distancing? Are you struggling to find ways to be physically active each day?

Anna Goldfarb provides practical advice in “You Can Take Care of Yourself in Coronavirus Quarantine or Isolation, Starting Right Now.

“Trying to preserve some sense of normalcy is really important for people’s well-being,” said Dr. Russell G. Buhr, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. Health. Maintaining a routine, he said, like getting up and getting dressed and doing what you usually do, can positively affect mental health.

“And good mental health promotes good physical health,” he added.

But there’s more to do. Dani Johnson, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, encourages people who are staying home to get creative. “Every little bit of movement counts,” she said. “So when we’re confined to our home, move, move, move.”

You don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time; you just need to weave exercise into your schedule.

Here are four practical suggestions from the article for maintaining your physical and mental health:

Right now, start bringing movement into tiny moments

Next time you watch a TV show, get up and do some squats during the commercials, Ms. Johnson said. Do heel raises when you’re washing dishes. Do side lunges when you’re throwing clothes in the dryer.

Knock out some push-ups when you’re waiting for a pot of water to boil. Dancing is also a great way to move your body. Turn on some music and boogie.

The article continues:

Get your heart rate up, multiple times a day

“Stairs can be your cardiovascular best friend,” Ms. Johnson said. If you have access to stairs in your home or apartment, going up and down those stairs is a great way to get your blood pumping.

For a great full-body home workout, you can do an entire circuit sequence for up to 30 to 45 minutes. If you are working movement into your daily tasks, she also suggests creating more activity while doing things you already need to get done. For example, if you’re carrying laundry upstairs, take an extra lap or two up and down the stairs to work in extra steps. “Every little bit counts toward a healthier you,” Ms. Johnson said.

Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recommends simple fitness exercises like marching in place, doing jumping jacks or jogging in place with high knees.

Get out and walk, even for just 15 minutes

“As long as the public health practitioners haven’t suggested a total lockdown, as long as you’re able to maintain a reasonable amount of distance and you’re being good about hand hygiene and especially if you’re staying completely home if you’re having any signs of illness, then getting outside for a walk is good,” Dr. Buhr said. “It clears your mind, and it keeps you active.”

Everyone should all aim for 150 minutes of physical activity every week, he said, but the amount of time you walk each day can vary. What counts is that you’re moving your body.

Many people want to keep fit, but have concerns about what is safe and what is not. In “Exercising During Coronavirus: Can I Jog? Is That Water Fountain Safe?” Gretchen Reynolds answers questions about staying in shape during the pandemic. Here are excerpts from four:

If I live in a community that is under a shelter-in-place order, can I run or walk outside?

This answer is easy: yes. The San Francisco County health department’s order, which is likely to be a model for similar announcements, says that people may leave their homes “to engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements as defined in this section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.” So, as long as you remain six feet away from other people (not counting those in your household), you can exercise outside.

Can I use drinking fountains along my route?

“We don’t have any data about how long the virus remains infectious on water fountains,” says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. “But, given their proximity to other people’s mouths and noses, I would say you should not.”

If I am running the prescribed six feet behind someone on the path and they cough, will I jog right through their germs?

The science about how long the novel virus remains in the air is still unsettled. (You can read about a new study of that issue here.) But it is conceivable that droplets containing the virus could linger long enough for you to breathe them in, Dr. Iwasaki says, if you closely follow someone who is ill and the wind does not disperse the germs first. This precise scenario remains unlikely but not impossible, so look for the “least-crowded paths” available, she says, and perhaps swerve aside if someone coughs or spits ahead of you.

Should I take my shoes off before going in the house?

“This is a good rule of thumb,” says Saskia Popescu, a senior infection-prevention epidemiologist at HonorHealth in Arizona. No one knows if the coronavirus sticks to shoes, she says, “but they carry a lot of gunk in general, so leave them at the door.”

Additionally, The Times also offers free workouts. The Scientific 7-Minute Workout is here and its six-minute variations here. And if you have a jump rope and reasonable coordination, you might try this half-hour routine.

Students, read ONE of the articles above in its entirety, then tell us:

  • How has the coronavirus affected your physical routines and activities? Do you participate in youth sports? If so, how did you react to the news that they had been canceled?

  • How important to you is being physically active and fit? Dr. Russell G. Buhr says that maintaining a routine can positively affect mental health. Do you agree? What are the benefits to regular physical activity in your own life?

  • What are you doing to stay fit in a time of social distancing? Dancing? Stretching? Using a fitness app? How successful are your new routines?

  • Are you struggling to find ways to keep physically active each day? Which of the recommended physical activities described in the articles will work best for you? Do you have any exercise hacks to recommend to others?

  • What questions do you still have about exercise and the coronavirus?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.