I don’t have to be the first to tell you that this has been a tough year for everyone emotionally, mentally and physically. Sticking to a healthy routine has never been more important. Throughout the last year, running has always been an outlet for me. Through tough, lonely, and cold days where it was an effort to even get out of the house, running has always put my mind and body at ease, providing stress relief and happiness, even if for a short period of time.
A common misconception is that strength training is only beneficial for young adults. This is simply not true! Strengthening can be beneficial at any age; in fact there is no age limitation to gain strength. We know that muscle strength can be increased by progressive loads at any age. There is also evidence that suggests muscle strength can help with mobility, such as gait speed, and improving function for tasks, such as standing up from a chair. Increasing strength in the older population is beneficial to decrease risk of injury and has other health benefits as well.
As physical therapists, the physical component of health and wellness is easily understood and commonly discussed around injury prevention and rehabilitation. However, every day we treat patients that have also been affected by depression, anxiety, increased levels of stress, and low self-esteem due to injury and decreased functional ability. We strive to maintain a holistic approach to patient care and effectively serve the communities around us, remaining well acquainted with the benefits of exercise on mental health and wellness. Here are a few ways that exercise has been proven to boost our mental health.
Routines are easy to stick to when they’re something you’re used to doing. When we fall out of our routines, it is much harder to get back into it versus staying the course and keeping the momentum going. Working fitness into a daily routine can be hard. For the most part, it’s an uncomfortable experience, especially if it’s not an activity that you particularly enjoy doing. Through my experience, I’ve seen three groups of people in regards to the experience of exercise:
The pandemic showed many of us that we had to get creative with our fitness outside of a gym or group workout setting. When gyms and fitness centers were closed, many people were left wondering what they were going to do to stay fit and keep working on their health. Many ingenious methods were created to combat this problem, and it helped open up a new realm of home fitness that I personally loved seeing. Fitness is an important part of our lives, or at least should be, and it’s vital to keep moving for both our mental and physical health. Even though restrictions for gym and fitness centers have lifted, I want to highlight some of my favorite ways to add in extra movements throughout the day to keep yourself physically fit.
As a runner, I have been extremely fortunate to not have any major injuries over the ten years that I’ve been participating in this recreational activity. It’s become a passion and recently, a form of therapy to help curb stress and keep me active during the COVID-19 pandemic. This past summer, I completed many virtual runs – from 5Ks to half marathons. In November, I completed a 15K and was shocked when I started to feel pain and a “popping” in my hip.
Fast forward to the New Year, I’ve committed to investing in my health and decided to get this long-standing problem checked out and more importantly, not wanting to re-injure myself the next time I take off on a long run. Knowing Athletico offers a Free Assessment at no cost and not needing a doctor’s referral to start, I went to my local clinic and this is what happened.
While most of us will say a welcome farewell to 2020, 2021 will unfortunately carryover many of the same challenges we are currently faced with. Altering the means and ability to exercise is one impact that the coronavirus has had on many people. Many gym-goers are still either unable to attend their local gym due to closures or unwilling to travel to the gym due to health concerns. Even without a gym membership, there are many unique ways to continue to stay in shape in 2021. Here are 7 tips from a physical therapist on setting resolutions for health in 2021:
Physical activity is important now more than ever with trends in COVID-19 cases being related to chronic illness. Physical activity not only helps with preventing chronic disease, it also improves daily life and mental health. By staying active, you are able to maintain and improve your range of motion and strength to perform the activities that make up your day. Here are three recommendations to help increase your health and well-being while staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.