Even during these challenging times, it’s physical therapists’ desire to improve the quality of life for Americans through patient education and prescribed movement. These three PT-recommended strategies are a great place to start.
For each strategy or exercise, choose the level of intensity or length of time that fits your current ability and fitness level. If you’re not sure, start with level 1 and contact your doctor or physical therapist if you don’t know what intensity is right for you.
1. Keep moving!
Moving your body and getting the recommended amount of physical activity for your age is critical to good health. Although social distancing limits our mobility, we need to find opportunities to keep moving.
You should aim for 30 minutes of physical activity each day that increases your heart rate or challenges your breathing. The number of sessions you break the activity into is up to you. Three 10-minute segments can be just as beneficial as one 30-minute session.
You have a wide variety of activity options to choose from. You can walk, run, or ride a bike outdoors. Want to stay at home while you work out? Try an at-home yoga, cardio, or dance exercise video. You can also take extra trips up and down stairs (taking breaks if needed).
Missing the activities you usually enjoy? Try going through the motions of your favorite ones like practicing your golf or tennis swing or pretending to paddle or do swim strokes in the air for a few minutes at a time.
Find what works for you and keep track of your progress. To challenge yourself, add more time, repetitions, or distance every two to three days.
After completing the workout of your choice, move on to step 2.
2. Maintain muscle strength.
Prolonged sitting and inactivity can cause our muscles to lose strength. Now more than ever it’s vital to build or maintain muscle strength.
Physical therapists have designed this 30-minute strengthening program with easy, moderate, or advanced levels.
More movement means better health. There are many options for exercising at home. Videos on demand from your TV provider, streaming services, or mobile apps can bring instruction directly to you. Just be sure to select a program with an appropriate level of difficulty to your fitness level.
Here are some safe and effective video programs led by physical therapists to help keep you and everyone in your family moving:
- Floor/Mat Exercise Video
- Fun Exercises for Kids Aged Six to 10
- More resources for Maintaining Physical Activity During COVID-19 and Social Distancing
- Stretching after a workout can be just as important as the actual workout. The following is a stretching program designed by physical therapists to keep your hard-working muscles healthy!
3. Stretch daily.
In addition to being physically active each day and avoiding sitting for long periods, it is essential to keep your body flexible by stretching daily. This stretching program should be done after getting at least five minutes of physical activity to warm up.
This 30-minute stretching plan provided by physical therapists can be done at three different levels (easy, moderate, or advanced). Your level depends on your fitness, age, and desired challenge.
Tip: Try to fit stretching and strengthening into things that you enjoy, like a daily TV show or listening to music or a podcast.
Physical therapists encourage Americans to keep it moving in or out of their homes, as long as the activities comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s social-distancing guidelines and other government orders.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get moving!