The Importance of Exercise Surrounding COVID-19

27 Mar, 2020

By now, you have probably heard of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). It has impacted our work, our personal lives, our health and our ability to move freely in our communities.

We are truly living through unprecedented times. A side effect of increased social isolation & distancing as well as the incremental scaling-down of our society – is that our health is suffering.

The population is no longer able to adhere to exercise recommendations to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. People currently are also more likely to delay or completely cancel getting the health input they require. There has been an increase in treatment delay and/or cancellations, preventing patients from receiving the help they need. A stronger and healthy population is important for fending off the threats, costs and impact associated with this virus.

What is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is a cousin of the ‘SARS’ virus and belongs to a family of ‘coronaviruses’ that are common in animals but infrequently make the transmission to humans. The virus will usually make people sick, resembling a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness. This will look like a cold, with symptoms including cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever and fatigue.

It is important to note not everyone will get all these symptoms. For a smaller portion of the population, this will develop into a lower respiratory tract infection (pneumonia) which does not respond to antibiotics. Respiratory (breathing) support is a key part of treatment for a hospital-admitted coronavirus patient.

Exercise Surrounding COVID-19

 Based on limited data available on this condition, common risk factors associated with severe cases of COVID-19 included high blood pressure and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Both conditions can be managed via an accredited healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist.

Why is it important to maintain your healthcare interventions surrounding COVID-19?

First and foremost; physiotherapy acts as a primary contact practitioner. This means you do not need to see your GP for a referral to see a physio. Physiotherapists act as a ‘front line’ service which in part works to reduce the rate of hospital admissions.

There is contemporary evidence that a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of communicable diseases (i.e: virus).

  • This is reinforced by another study which found long distance runners who undertook frequent cardio training took less sick days per year
  • Training needs to be appropriate. Otherwise, you get the opposite effect – a short term ‘dip’ in your immune system.
  • Therefore, an assessment followed by a graded program by a healthcare professional is your best strategy

Strong lungs & good fitness increases your airway clearance

  • Coronavirus results in lower lobe pneumonia
  • Cardio training improves your total lung volumes as well as your force of breathing
  • Strong airway clearance and appropriate breathing techniques can assist to reduce any secretion build up in your lower lungs

Psychological benefits of exercise

During this stressful time, it is more important than ever that we are looking after our mental as well as our physical health. Exercise does the following:

  • Acts as an internal anti-depressant – reduces stress & anxiety
  • Enhances your memory and focus

What we are doing to ensure your safety

Here at Generation Physio, we are doing everything in our ability to continue to deliver essential healthcare services to the community during this time. This is being carried out in the safest manner possible, adherent to all the guidelines and recommendations passed down the Department of Health. These include:

  • Increased screening of new/returning clients for symptoms or relevant travel history – Clients presenting with relevant symptoms or travel history will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days before one of our health professionals will attend their home
  • All our health professionals, even before the introduction of COVID-19, adhered to strict hygiene standards. As most of our staff comes to us with a degree of hospital background and experience, this is integral to the way our service is delivered
  • All equipment entering & leaving your home will be thoroughly disinfected between clients to prevent transmission
  • Through the delivery of home visit services, we can limit the exposure to fellow persons that is required for you to keep getting the treatment you need
  • Where possible, social distancing guidelines of 1.5m will be adhered to
  • Telehealth consults are now available! Please contact our friendly support team to find out if your funding is eligible for telehealth consultations

What to do now?

If you or someone you love is delaying their physiotherapy or allied health input for fear of the COVID virus – please direct them to the information on this page. The costs associated with delaying your healthcare could be more than you think. Always monitor & adhere to Department of Health guidelines. If in doubt, call your GP. All our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.

For further information regarding coronavirus and to stay updated with the latest Department of Health policies, please review the following resources:

Press conferences on COVID-19 and other global health issues | WHO

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