For the latest updates, information and advice in New Zealand:
Courtesy of our sports medicine colleagues around the world:
International Federation of Sports Medicine
The International Federation of Sports Medicine is monitoring carefully the situation with the evolution of the Corona-Virus related events in order to get best information through the leading Health and Sports authorities around the world about the development of the situation, in order to contribute to the constant update of the world Sports Medicine Community.
Please find below:
1. The link to the IOC position on #COVID19:
2. The link to the WHO advice:
Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK
COVID-19: Update from the President
We are living at a moment of an unprecedented global health challenge. I know that, at times, the challenges seem insurmountable, but I am confident that we have a medical workforce and infrastructure which will support the country to overcome these difficulties.
Many of my colleagues have asked how we in the specialty of Sport and Exercise Medicine can best support the national effort in overcoming this challenge. Particularly when we are seen as a specialty which will not be on the front-line of fighting the disease. I think there are many ways in which we can provide leadership in this area.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ADVOCACY
We cannot, with any certainty, say that physical activity prevents or reduces the risks of this disease but we do know that physical activity improves health and well-being generally and reduces the risks and complications of many diseases which may complicate COVID-19.
Many of us – including the elderly and infirm – will experience episodes of isolation over the coming months, in many cases for prolonged periods. We know that the social isolation and physical deconditioning will be detrimental to, or even shorten, the lives of our patients and the population in general.
We must strongly advocate the use of physical activity in those who are well and who are isolated. They should be encouraged to exercise in the home and in the parks, streets and countryside – provided they are not in close contact with others. Public Health England rightly wants to encourage people to social distancing. But it explicitly states:
“If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others.”
“If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden”.
Walking or running in the fresh air – if well enough – will improve general health and sense of well-being. Being active in the garden, remaining active in the house, energetic housework, climbing the stairs, standing as much as possible.
Clearly patients who are ill, have fevers or complications of the virus should not be exercising until they are sufficiently recovered. But we should be encouraging others, who are worried and well, to stay active and remain fit and healthy for the future.
Exercise is Medicine Blog | ACSM
STAYING ACTIVE DURING COVID-19
March 17, 2020 by Liz Joy, M.D., M.P.H., FACSM, FAMSSM
Based on currently available recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are recommendations from Exercise Is Medicine in regard to physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents some challenges to maintaining a physically active lifestyle. COVID-19 is spread by droplet transmission – someone sneezing or coughing into the air or onto a surface, and then the virus enters a new host through the mouth, nose or eyes. The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 should be accessed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
Given what we understand about transmission of the virus, the CDC recommends avoiding gatherings of 50 people or more and maintaining a social distance of 6 feet or more. (Updated recommendations from the White House are to limit gatherings to 10 people or less.) That, along with recommendations related to personal hygiene (hand washing, not touching your face) may create concern about exercising in gyms, where hundreds of people are in and out on a daily basis. Those at greatest risk for severe complications of COVID-19 are the elderly (defined as age 60 and older), and others with chronic diseases or compromised immune function. Those individuals should avoid gyms altogether, and exercise at home or in their neighborhood.
For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity remains an important strategy for staying healthy! Compared to being sedentary, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Likewise, regular physical activity is associated with lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress (which many of us are feeling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic).
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and 2 sessions per week of muscle strength training. Fit in 2, 5, 10 or 20 minutes, however and wherever you can. Every active minute counts!
This information has been adapted into an Rx for Health handout that can be given to the public, patients and clients. Below are some strategies to maintain physical activity and fitness:
- Put some music on and walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes 2 or 3 times per day.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Jump rope (if your joints can handle it).
- Do an exercise video.
- Use home cardio machines if you have them.
- Walk or jog around your neighborhood (avoid crowded spaces).
- Be active in a local park. Spending time in nature may enhance immune function. Be sure to wash your hands when you get home.
- Go for a bicycle ride.
- Do gardening and lawn work (Spring is around the corner!).
- Play active games with your family.
Muscle Strength Training
- Download a strength workout app to your smart phone, such as the 7-Minute Workout (no equipment necessary).
- Do a strength training video.
- Perform yoga – deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety.
- Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as:
- Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
- Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
- Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs
Don’t sit all day! For example:
- If watching TV, get up during every commercial (or periodically) and do a lap around your home or an active chore. For example, throw some clothes in the laundry, do the dishes or take out the garbage. Feel productive after just one show!
Here are current answers to frequently asked questions about physical activity and exercise with respect to COVID-19:
- I’m under quarantine but not infected. Should I limit my physical activity?
- There are no recommendations at this time to limit physical activity if you do not have any symptoms. Symptoms that should prompt evaluation by a health care provider include cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
- Will exercise help prevent me from getting the virus?
- Moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with a healthier immune system. However high-intensity high-volume training may suppress immune function especially if you are unaccustomed to it. Balance your workout program.
- Are there precautions I should take?
- The most important strategy to prevent infection is to avoid coming into contact with others who are infected with COVID-19.
- What if my kids are home with me?
- Being active with kids is the most fun of all! Find activities that you can do together – an active gaming video, basketball in the driveway, go for a walk in the neighborhood.
- What if I start to experience symptoms?
- Those experiencing symptoms should follow the CDC recommendations. As these recommendations are changing, below is a link to the CDC Symptoms webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
- I’m under quarantine and infected. Should I limit my physical activity?
- People who are known to be infected, but asymptomatic, can continue moderate-intensity physical activity but need to use symptoms as a guide. They should take care to maintain quarantine to prevent virus transmission to others. If they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should discontinue physical activities and reach out to a health care provider.
Thanks also to Jeffrey Woods, Ph.D., FACSM, and Brandt Pence, Ph.D., ACSM member experts in exercise physiology and exercise immunology who graciously reviewed this blog.