Social Distancing & Your Health: How to Stay Active While Still Following the Rules

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 26-Mar-2020

In recent weeks, millions of Canadians have been forced into a life that goes against our relatively social nature. With schools closed, restaurants shuttered and all gatherings banned — so many of us are wondering ‘what’s next’ in this coronavirus pandemic. 

The WHO stresses that social distancing is the key to stemming COVID-19. That means staying at least three feet away from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing. But other health officials, including the CDC, say best practice requires maintaining at least six feet between you and others at all times. So that would explain why this critically important health intervention has so many of us staying indoors altogether. 

So how do you find ways to stay active as we isolate ourselves for the good of the country? It’s especially difficult if you’re relatively healthy and enjoy being outdoors no matter the weather. Take a look at our tips on how to keep your body moving, while still following social distancing guidelines. 

Step outside

One thing to understand is that social distancing is very different from being in quarantine. Although provinces like Ontario and Alberta have declared states of emergency, you don’t have to be in a full lockdown indoors. This doesn’t mean hit up the malls and host playdates for your son’s friends. But it does mean you can still step outside, as long as contact with others is limited. 

If working from home, take scheduled breaks from your laptop to get some fresh air. A simple walk around the block or an hour of yard work can have tremendous benefits, both physically and emotionally. 

Go for long walks

According to infectious disease experts, you can still keep up your workout routine as long as you maintain some distance. A stroll through the park or long hikes on a nature trail are certainly allowed, since these activities usually take place in wide open spaces. Walking is perfect because you can scale up or down depending on your fitness level. If for whatever reason you can’t get outside, indoor walking is just as effective, especially if you have stairs. 

Tune in to an online fitness class

Many yoga teachers, aerobics instructors and other fitness professionals are still holding classes. But now they’re doing it on social media platforms like Facebook Live. A popular gym in Australia, for example, has been hosting virtual workouts multiple times a day amid the coronavirus outbreak. If you have a fitness class you regularly attend, ask your instructor if they have sessions online.

An alternative to live classes are YouTube workouts. The Fitness Marshall and Pop Sugar Fitness are popular channels that merge physical activity with music and dance. Tuning in for a quick workout will not only tone your muscles, but give you something to look forward to during the day. 

Play tennis

Because participants are already spaced out, tennis is the perfect social distancing sport. Although some parks remain closed, there are outdoor courts still available for public use. If you want to play doubles but don’t feel you can adhere to social distancing rules, then play in the singles format instead. Avoid shaking hands or giving high-fives during games, and remember to sit far apart when resting.

Spend time with your pets

Dogs and cats crave physical activity, too. Whether they need a walk or a few moments of playtime, spending time with your pets will keep you stimulated. You can also stay social when walking your dog by inviting a neighbour to come along. Just be sure to keep yourself and all animals at least two metres apart. 

Reframe your perspective

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do during this pandemic, ask yourself what you can do to stay active. Explore a new hiking trail with your kids, get started on your garden bed or simply practice some self-care. Use this downtime as an opportunity to focus on your physical and mental well-being, and get back to what really matters. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Physiomed community for guidance, motivation or general support. As always, we’re committed to keeping our patients healthy during this difficult time.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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