Sports and staying active has been a part of your life for as long as you can remember. Playing outdoor games as a kid, hitting a game-winning homerun, pushing your body to the max. You’ve continued with your active spirit throughout your life.
Then the country shut down for the pandemic. Even if you’re healthy and don’t think you’re at risk for COVID-19, you're not willing to take the chance of being downed by an infection for days, weeks, or more. Nor are you willing to become a spreader who could infect vulnerable people.
On June 23, Governor Abbott warned that statewide cases hit 5,000 in a single day and it has accelerated since. He recommended everyone stay at home as much as possible. So how do you maintain your cardiovascular, skeletal, and muscular health and also stay distanced from other people?
Through this unprecedented time, David Lintner, MD, an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist and founder of Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Houston wants you to keep your body and immune system strong with regular exercise. Here’s how to do it.
Be your own coach and create your own workout program
Working out at home doesn’t have to be boring. If you have a backyard, you’ve got it made. But whether indoors or out, variety is the key so that you work on all of the components of fitness: strength, flexibility, and balance.
If you already belong to a gym, they may offer “group” fitness classes online via Zoom or another meeting app. Try out something you’d never dare in public, such as salsa or Zumba. Sign up your friends, too, so you can work out together.
Put up some resistance
You don’t need to bench press 300 pounds, but regularly performing arm exercises, deadlifts, and squats with hand weights or other weights can help you maintain or build muscle. Resistance bands force you to use muscle strength throughout your entire workout.
Hit the road
As long as you’re six feet away from non-household members, you’re safe to get your workout in public spaces without a mask. Be sure to wear one ready to go, however, if you suddenly find yourself on a crowded trail or other situation where social distancing can’t be maintained.
Stay safe at the gym
Not sure if your gym is safe? Call first and find out how regularly they’re disinfecting, whether they require temperature checks, and how they’re ensuring that everyone maintains social distance.
As of June 22, 2020, Harris County and the City of Houston mandated that everyone wear a face covering when in any business, including a gym. Make sure your gym enforces this rule.
Keep your distance
If others aren’t practicing social distancing, be sure that you do. The easiest way to spread the virus is face-to-face, so always maintain six feet of distance between you and someone who is not in your household.
Wipe it down
If you use equipment, be sure to wipe it down with disinfectant cloths before and after handling. If your gym doesn’t supply them, bring them yourself.
Wash it off
This can’t be over-emphasized. Whether what’s going around is COVID-19 or the annual flu, the best way to keep sickness at bay is to wash viruses and bacteria off your hands.
Turn on the water to dampen your hands. Turn it off. Soap up and lather for a full 20 seconds, being sure you get between your fingers and under your nail beds, too. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a disposable paper towel or a clean towel that you’ve brought yourself.
Shower at home
Don’t take the risk of using public spas, saunas, or showers right now. Come to the gym in your workout clothes and head home straight after for your shower.
Don’t delay injury care
Whether you hit the gym or create your own workout routine at home, you might over-do it or land wrong during a walk, run, or a dance class. Take care of mild injuries right away by adopting the RICE protocol:
- Rest the injured body part
- Ice the area for 10-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for 48-72 hours, then switch to heat
- Compress the injury
- Elevate the injury
If your injury doesn't improve in a day or two, or if you experienced a moderate to severe injury, call us as soon as possible. Our Houston and Baytown, Texas, offices are regularly disinfected, our staff wears PPE, and we schedule (masked) patients so that you don’t come into close contact with anyone other than your health care team. Treat your injury as soon as possible to minimize the risks of complications.
To schedule a consultation and treatment, call us at the office nearest you, or set up an appointment online.