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Ackerman Cancer Center

March 12, 2021

Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle in the Spring of 2021 Amid COVID-19

The preventive measures that have been implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as isolation, quarantine, school closures, travel restrictions, and social distancing are generating social, psychological, health, and economic consequences among the general population. (1). The health impact, due to a drastic drop in physical activity, has not yet been estimated, but is anticipated to be broad and dramatic.

This bulletin contains multiple resources to help you find the physical activity that best fits your needs amid the COVID-19 restrictions. Life doesn’t pause during a pandemic, and your body and mind need to continue to be fed and taken care of. We want to invite you to join us in making the spring of 2021 the beginning of an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

Beneficial effects of regular physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Maintains respiratory function, enhances immune response and has an overall anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Physical activity is a tool to self-manage and helps to release anxiety and stress.
  • Physical activity has been associated with healthier dietary choices and better sleep quality, which is known to affect body weight. Today we know that body fat, especially abdominal fat, increases the severity of COVID-19.
  • A reduction in blood pressure and resting heart rate in response to regular physical activity decreases the risk for myocardial infarctions and strokes.
    Physical activity is crucial, especially for children, since childhood is the period when organs, immune systems and other health systems fully develop, making access to outdoor physical activity essential.
  • Among cancer survivors, physical activity during and after cancer treatment can lower the chance of having physical side effects. These side effects include, fatigue, neuropathy, lymphedema, osteoporosis, and nausea, Additionally, physical activity reduces the risk of depression and anxiety, decreasing injuries resulting from a fall, prevents muscle loss, improves balance, and one’s mood.

Establishing a goal

Current physical activity recommendations advise the general population to perform at least 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75–150 min of vigorous physical activity a week. Additionally, current recommendations suggest engaging in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.

If you cannot follow these recommendations, don’t sweat it! Studies have shown that, for health purposes, any physical activity counts. Remember, if you have not exercised for a while, start slow and increase the physical activity a little at a time, as tolerated. Modest increases in physical activity are likely to be more achievable and sustainable for people who do not exercise than more drastic changes in physical activity. If you are already moderately active, we would like to invite you increase your activity level to achieve additional health benefits

Whether it is from the comfort of your home or in outdoor spaces such as parks, waterfronts, or lakes, physical activity will nourish your body, mind, and soul. Below you will find some apps that can help you exercise indoors or outdoors, and even some apps that will coach you on how to achieve your personal fitness goals. Most of these apps have free access to basic functions, but some of them will charge an additional fee for accessing an upgraded version of the app.

We want to hear from you and invite you to share your pictures as an active person on our social media @AckermanCancerCenter! Let’s all enjoy this spring of 2021!

Exercise anywhere, even on your bed:

Stretch reminders and exercising at work:

Workout music and coach apps

  • Sweat deck app
  • Weav Run app
  • 5K runner: Couch to 5K Trainer

Exploring the outdoors

  • Avenza Maps
  • Footpath Route Planner
  • AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run‬‬‬

References:
1. https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12995-020-00278-9.pdf
2. https://www.isglobal.org/documents/10179/7943094/4_ISGlobal+COVID-19+y+actividad+fisica+EN.pdf/705ac058-6c41-4e56-b555-cc43c6a5a407
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33246009/
4. https://www.cdc.gov/NCCDPHP/SGR/pdf/chap4.pdf
5. https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/healthy-living/exercise-during-cancer-treatment#:~:text=Benefits%20of%20exercise,mobile%20and%20independent%20as%20possible
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338401718_Using_Physical_Activity_to_Enhance_Health_Outcomes_Across_the_Life_Span

 

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