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If you are anything like us, exercise the ability to stay active is your medicine. On those mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed, the knowledge of the adrenaline high you get after a good workout is enough to pull you from the comfort of your bed. But life right now is different. For many, local gyms have significant restrictions on what is open. There are added health risks of exposure when going into public places, especially when people are exerting themselves and breathing heavily. 

From young to old, people are struggling with the new normal. At Step & Spine Physical Therapy, we’ve been saying how vital motion is for mobility. If COVID-19 has you moving less frequently than you did in the past, you are at an increased risk of injury. Less activity can affect mood and anxiety. Also, less activity means we are more prone to weight gain and obesity. Here are four options to help stay active and healthy that are applicable to all ages. 

  1. Start walking. We have some wonderful hikes here in Central Oregon that are suitable for a variety of skill levels. Apps such as AllTrails allow users to sort hikes by location, difficulty, and duration. A 2020 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that you burn only 20% fewer calories walking than running! Walking also improves brain health, memory, energy, immune system, and cardiovascular health. It can also reduce pain. Don’t have time to get out on the trail? Go for a walk in the park, along the river, or in your neighborhood. The point is to get outside and move. If you are going to be in an outdoor place where social distancing will be difficult, be sure to wear your mask. 
  2. Try online classes. If you are like us, you enjoy the workout and the social aspect that comes from going to the gym. Online classes can help address this partially by giving you a workout that gets your heart pumping from your home. Online classes are available in abundance. Local fitness centers and gyms, such as those offered at Juniper Swim & Fitness, provide a variety of class options to meet the individual’s diverse needs. 
  3. Buy home gym equipment. There is only so much a person can take. At-home gym equipment purchases have skyrocketed since COVID began closing the doors of many businesses. If you are looking for a way to stay active and get your heart rate up without risking exposure, consider your options. From free weights to spinning bikes, trainers, and treadmills, you can enjoy the gym from home. It is essential to find the positives and negatives of this new reality. If your health is suffering because of reduced or no activity, it may be time to buy. Many online retailers of exercise equipment have backorders due to the high demand for their products, so be prepared that you may have to wait for your order to arrive.
  4. Go for a run. Running is a beautiful sport that can do wonders for health. Many people give running a bad rap as causing knee pain and osteoarthritis, but the truth is, running can strengthen the muscles around the knees. One study that followed runners for 20 years found that runners had 20% osteoarthritis, while non-runners had 32%. What can cause pain, however, is improper alignment from the hips to the feet. This is where lower extremity physical therapy can be a huge benefit. If you address any imbalances early, you set yourself up for a good running form for life. An article by Runners World may help provide some clarity as it deconstructs whether running causes knee pain. 

We want to help you stay active and be as healthy as possible. COVID aside, if pain keeps you from doing the things you love, please give us a call for an appointment. We offer both in-clinic and telehealth appointments. Stay well!