The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading to more countries, territories and regions of the world at an alarming rate and physical and social distancing practices are becoming commonplace to stop the spread of the disease.
The closure of gyms, sport facilities and stadiums, public pools, dance studios, and playgrounds mean that many of us are not able to actively participate in individual or group sporting or physical activities, nor watch live sporting events.
As a result, the global sporting community is facing serious challenges due to measures imposed in countless countries around the world.
But that does not mean we should stop being physically active, nor should we disconnect from the coaches, teammates, instructors and fellow fans who not only help us to stay physically fit, but also socially active.
There is an abundance of free and accessible online and digital tools targeted at encouraging people of all ages and abilities to stay active and mobile while remaining at home.
Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace as well as solidarity and respect.
Through our unique individual skills and collective power, we can come together and share creative ways to improve our health and well-being through sport and physical activity even from the confines of our own homes.
In the lead up to and on 6 April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, it is significant for everyone to be active, stay healthy and demonstrate solidarity during this period of physical and social distancing. This team spirit will help us all get through the current challenges together.
WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.
The term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategoryory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. Beyond exercise, any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, has a health benefit.
Regular physical activity of moderate intensity such as walking, cycling, or doing sports has significant benefits for health.
Regular and adequate levels of physical activity:
Take your workout online: On YouTube, there are endless free exercise videos to try, regardless of your fitness level or the size of your living room. From yoga and strength workouts to Pilates, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and more.
Personal trainers, dance instructors, and other qualified fitness professionals are getting savvy and moving their classes online. So, you can join a class virtually, and get the social connection benefits of exercise too.
Go freestyle: If a structured routine is not your style, get creative and build your own workout – instead of weights, use household items like filled water bottles and cans or jars of food (if you can find some!), walk or run on the spot for 30-second intervals, do some star jumps, planks, sit ups, push ups, or even burpees. Anything to get your heart rate up a little.
Go solo outside if you can: Walking, cycling and running are great solo activities and safe if you’re feeling well and haven’t been asked to self-isolate. I suggest going early in the morning or late in the day, and avoiding streets and parks with high foot traffic, to minimise your risk.
Remember to pack some hand sanitiser containing at least 60 per cent alcohol and stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you return indoors.
Even 10 minutes of movement a day can help your body and mind feel better. Encourage your loved ones, who you’re no doubt spending a lot of time with right now, to take a moment to move their bodies too.
If you’re not feeling well, follow the advice of your health professional – including some rest. It’s vital that we prioritise the health and safety of ourselves, family, friends and the community.
By: Princeton Kwabena Wiredu | universnewsroom.com