President, Sideline Sports Doc
Medical Director, Apeiron Life
Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University
March 17, 2020
- If your personal circumstances allow, use forced time off from school or work to get some rest, and start building back a baseline fitness level
- Use professional resources to help maintain a positive attitude
- Focus on core strength, basic aerobic fitness, and individual skills
We’re in the midst of an unprecedented health challenge with the coronavirus, and I don’t want in any way to minimize the serious impact this is now having on individuals, families, and businesses.
But I also want to point out that amidst all the upheaval around us is an opportunity to rest, recover, and reboot. So many of our posts at Sideline Sports Doc have covered the negative effects related to year round play, overuse, and specialization. During this period of forced time off, if your life circumstances allow then take the time to get some rest, then get back in to building baseline fitness and individual skills.
I truly hope each of you make it through this period safely, and when you get back to your normal sport and fitness activity perhaps your body will actually be better off.
The Serious Impact On Families
As of today, public and private schools are closed for more than 30 million students, which is more than half the enrolled population. For many of those kids school is their best source for essential meals and guidance. I want to recognize that this time away from normal routine is by no means a “vacation”.
Keep Your Head Up
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a kid or an adult, it’s easy to let fear creep into your head and focus on the worst possible outcome. This is especially true if you’re sitting around at home. Everyone will respond differently but if you’re feeling overly anxious seek out professional help from your primary care doctor.
There are also many online resources available, including excellent meditation apps. Here are a few suggestions:
- Watch this 2-minute videoon three simple steps to manage anxiety. There are many, many videos online about anxiety management. Tip: choose the source wisely. Try to find highly credentialed content producers, such as with major universities or health systems.
- Practice meditation once daily. I prefer and use daily Inscape’s app. Other excellent meditation apps are Headspaceor 10% Happier.
Exercise, Nutrition, And Sleep Boost The Immune System
The point of social distancing and frequent hand washing is to not get sick. It’s also proven that regular exercise boosts the immune system.
Exercise and nutrition tips:
- Exercise at home or outdoors if possible, as opposed to public gyms where there is increased risk of exposure to the virus.
- If heading to the gym, avoid peak hours. Wear weight lifting or running gloves and wipe down equipment before and after use. Wash and dry your gloves after each use.
- This is a great time to focus on maintaining fitness and not engaging in unaccustomed high-intensity workouts that leave you feeling exhausted and immune compromised.
- For all people: light aerobic activity such as brisk walk or light jog 20-30 minutes, 5x per week
- For all people: core strength and flexibility. Doing a plank or a side plank is boring as heck, but incredibly effective and you can do it anywhere!
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, with a focus on brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
- Work on individual skills. Be creative, regardless of your sport. My colleague Mike Woitalla published this excellent piece on soccer skill building yesterday.
Read more on the benefits of sleep and exercise to fight the coronavirus: