Staying active at home is as important as ever

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The COVID-19 outbreak has left essentially everyone in a position they have never been in before. High school spring sports are in question, while local parks, gyms, and YMCAs have been forced to shut down. There is also a possibility of local golf courses being temporarily shut down.

During times like these, it can be difficult to remain active as most are confined in their homes until life begins returning to normalcy. Alyssa Lombardi, an exercise physiologist at Hartford Healthcare, said that there are still plenty of ways for those of all ages to remain active, and it takes a bit of resourcefulness and creativity. Lombardi is also an exercise specialist at the Southington YMCA and helped give advice to runners leading up the Apple Harvest road race in October of 2019.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that adults aged 65 and older are at a higher risk for severe illness, and has urged those adults to stay home as much as possible. Lombardi said there are still ways for this age group to remain in shape even with these guidelines.

“I would say the older community will be doing their exercises inside, seated mostly,” Lombardi said. “I would recommend taking soup cans and doing bicep curls. You can bring your arms up over your head and kick your legs our straight. Moving all limbs is important because we can’t get outside and enjoy the weather, so our muscles can get achy and stiff.”

Gov. Ned Lamont stated on Tuesday of this week that schools will likely stay closed until the fall semester. While students will continue to take classes online, they will be left with a lot of free time as well. Lombardi said high school or college students could still find ways to stay fit outside by themselves, but also encouraged them to be resourceful.

Alyssa Lombardi,

“The younger generation can always go out for a run by themselves,” Lombardi said. “They can maybe take a friend but guidelines say the less, the better. You can keep your six feet of distance and still run with each other. There are also things to use around the house. Running up and down stairs is always very good for cardio. Even body weight exercises are great, like squats, lunges, or pushups. If you want to add weight, you can also pull a backpack on your chest or grab a basketball and throw it up in the air while squatting.”

Hiking is also still an option for those of all ages. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection left an update earlier this week that “the trails and grounds of Connecticut State Parks and Forests are open for solitary outdoor enjoyment. If you plan to visit a park, it should be for solitary recreation, not group activities. Please plan ahead as many amenities and indoor facilities are closed, and visitors must practice social distancing.”

In a press release from Hartford HealthCare, physical therapists Ken Bruno and Shawn Tuthill of the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network said that sitting still can also lead to many health problems, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, reduction in bone health, muscle strains and limitations in the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, abdominals, elbows, wrists, and hands. They also noted increased risk of injury due to progressive weakness of legs and circulatory deficiencies.

“Plan to take routine breaks from sitting—set yourself reminders on your computer or phone,” they said in the release. “Stand up every 30 to 45 minutes and move around for at least two minutes. Easy activities like doing heel raises, marching and doing wall pushups can be worked into the two minutes.”

They said to follow the 20/20/20 rule to stave off headaches from eye strain and chronic poor posture.

“Every 20 minutes, correct your posture by sitting up tall, and focus for at least 20 seconds on a distant object at least 20 feet away,” they said in the release, urging homebound workers to take phone calls standing, walk during breaks, and take the stairs. “Get others involved to help with consistency of healthy habits. This will help you keep each other motivated and make exercising more fun.”

For more tips from Hartford HealthCare, visit healthnewshub.org. For more information on coronavirus, call their 24-hour hotline at 860-972-8100 or 833-621-0600. Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.

As of this week, there is still no timetable on when non-essential businesses will be allowed to re-open.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.