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Keep The Goal In Sight To Avoid Covid Fatigue

I’d like to finish 2020’s blog posts with a simple message: if the goal is to get back to “normal” keep that goal in sight and please stay with the safety precautions you’ve taken up to this point.

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The Dangers Of The Pregame Meal (The Covid-19 Version)

As we work through the current Covid-19 surge, with hopes for a vaccine in the near future, it’s instructive to dig deeper into how individuals become infected with the coronavirus and how to decrease risk. In the world of sports we’ve seen multiple NFL players infected, and even in F1 three drivers have tested positive. We can be certain that Lewis Hamilton didn’t get the virus by driving himself in his vehicle.

So what’s going on? While it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the risk factors a common thread is emerging. The virus appears to be spread through aerosol particles in the breath, and inhaled by someone else. The higher risk is not on an outdoor field of play, it’s indoors at a team meeting in a small room or at a meal with others. The meal, the car ride, the shared hotel room, and the whiteboard session are likely risker than the game itself.

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“Underuse” In Covid-19 Is A Real Problem

The global Covid-19 pandemic seems to have put a halt to the overuse injuries in adolescent and high school athletes that used to be so prevalent. Fewer overuse injuries is a good thing. The problem is that the pendulum of activity has gone the other way, towards far less activity than in the pre-Covid days.

It’s still too early to have definitive data, but limited survey based data from parents report that kids were less physically active during April and May compared to February. Also importantly, older kids tended to be affected by the Covid-19 restrictions more than the younger kids, with steep declines in physical activity.

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Use It Or Lose It? Exercise Can Be Hard To Do Now.

So many folks are just plain tired now. It seems that many events around us are sapping us of our energy. You did the best you could for the first several months. Your gym was closed, no bootcamps happening, impossible to get home exercise equipment. Now, many people have lost their desire to train.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “use it or lose it”.  How many days or weeks can you miss from exercise and still keep your level of fitness? It turns out that for most healthy adults in their 20s and 30s you can take 2 to 3 weeks off and still retain most of your strength and cardiovascular fitness. The amount of time off can be even longer if you are a teenager, and unfortunately it’s shorter if you are an older active adult.

For all age groups the good news is that you will lose some conditioning when you stop exercise, but fitness predictably will return when you start exercising again.

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Low Vitamin D Increases Covid-19 Risk

This week I’ll highlight two interesting studies linking low Vitamin D levels to increased Covid-19 risk. Both of these studies suggest that low Vitamin D levels are independent risk factors for Covid-19 risk, meaning that there is something about the low Vitamin D level in the body that leads to the increased risk, without other contributing factors.

In my experience, a surprising number of adults have low Vitamin D levels. Given that it’s so easy to increase your Vitamin D level either through a modest increase in sunlight exposure, proper food sources, or through supplementation, this represents an easily controllable way to reduce risk of Covid-19.

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Post Workout Protein: What Your Muscles Need

Continuing our theme of return to sports and fitness after the coronavirus layoff, we’d like to briefly touch on the usefulness of dietary protein after your workout as a key factor in assisting your strength gains.

There’s some difference of opinion on this point, but we believe that taking in about 20gm of protein within the first 30 minutes after finishing your workout is the best time to take your protein.

Further, we believe protein intake after a workout becomes even more important as we age, and there are several natural food options available to help you.

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Why “Load Management” Matters. Ramping Back To Sports After Covid-19 Layoff.

I’ve been writing about trying to keep up with some amount of exercise during our stay-at-home limitations. While many of you have found ways to maintain- and even improve- your fitness levels, the reality for many folks is that there was simply no way to keep up with fitness levels during our recent restrictions.

So now as we start gradually easing restrictions on outdoor sports and fitness you’ve got an opportunity to get some of your lost fitness back. But a few words of caution are in order here: getting back too fast, with too much load, and too soon is a recipe for an injury.

A sensible approach calls for a restart at about half intensity from your previous level, and then ramping up each week. In professional sports the phrase used for this type of limited activity is “load management”. It works for all of us.

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Sunshine’s Magic

The days are getting longer, the weather is generally decent, and many states are starting to ease restrictions necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus. This means that for many of us it’s possible to spend a little bit more time outside now in sunshine.

There are many positive benefits from appropriate amounts of sunshine, including improved mood and likely benefits on your immune system.

By following outdoor precautions it’s possible for many of us to now start feeling sunshine’s magic.

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A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Last week several states announced that they will gradually start reducing the physical and social distancing measures currently in place. That means that there’s the possibility of return to fitness and sport activities. No one has a playbook on exactly how to do this, so you’ll likely find many different state and local regulations on how this will be done.

We should all be aware though that this won’t be like flipping a light switch and turn everything back on the way it was before the virus restrictions. No, much more likely are modified restrictions on physical distancing and strong attention to hygiene.

How fast gyms reopen and team practices resume will be complicated, but for everyone who’s been going a bit bonkers there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Did You Get Hurt In Your WFH Workout? Now What?

It was bound to happen. This week I did a video visit with a woman trying to do the right thing. She was doing a WFH workout early in the morning before her kids woke up, doing some countermovement jumps. What she didn’t count on was the small toy car placed behind her where she hadn’t thought to clean.

What do you do when an injury happens these days? Most doctors’ offices are closed to in person visits. You should avoid ERs if at all possible. So if you’ve been injured, now what?

There are good options. You can start with our Good To Go app, which can guide you through the severity of your injury. If it’s truly serious then an urgent care facility or ER is still a good option. Then there are video visits with orthopedic or sports medicine providers. Finally, it might just need a bag of ice, a little rest, and you’ll fine.

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