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Exercising sensibly during the Covid-19 pandemic

jumping family picture The latest science suggests that being fit has beneficial effects on our immune systems..! Though, it is important to consider that some studies have shown that doing too much exercise may in fact have a detrimental effect.

A paper published in The International Journal of Sports Medicine found that it took participants 21 hours for their immune system (leukocytes, IL6, overall WBCc) parameters to return to normal after 3 hours of hard running training.

The theory for the reason behind this is that the release of the stress hormone cortisol post-exertion may in the very short term put us at heightened risk for an opportunistic infection to strike.

With this in mind, during this pandemic it may be worth considering not overdoing things on the exercise front. Naturally, we all should maintain a level of good habitual fitness, but for the time being with your all-important immune system in mind, a little goes a long way…

As such, here are some great home exercises that will get you working within the moderate zones of activity:

  1. Squats: Do 2–3 sets, 20 reps of squats, working up to progressively more repetitions and sets. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, then drop the buttocks back and bend the knees into a sitting position. Some people find this exercise easier with a ball between their knees.
  2. Rocket Jumps: Do 2-3 sets, 20 reps. Stand with your feet in the squat position. Jump up from this position driving your hands above your head and extending your entire body. Land softly, reposition to your starting position and repeat.
  3. Star Jumps: Do 2-3 sets, 20 reps. This needs no explaining- remember your primary school days!
  4. Cultivate strong abs by planking: Lie on the stomach, then push up onto your forearms with the elbows bent, keeping your back straight. Balance on your toes and forearms, engaging your stomach muscles for at least 10 seconds and repeat. Work up to longer holds.
  5. **Skipping** My Favourite: It takes time to develop your ability to skip but once you’ve mastered it- you do not forget it! Skipping is my personal favourite exercise during the pandemic because it requires very little space, gets one working to a moderate level of exertion and it is very fun! Aim to skip continuously for 5 min.

 By DC Hadley-James Brown

D.C. Nieman et al,. (1989) Journal of Sports Medicine. 10: 317-323

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