Why exercise is more important than ever – COVID-19 Response
Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is today reminding all Australians that exercise remains as important as ever to help keep our population healthy.
“Most Australians are currently nervous about the potential impact of COVID-19, and we wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone that we should still consider physical activity for two key reasons. Firstly, research does show that exercise can support our immune system and secondly, exercise is proven to support our mental health,” explains Anita Hobson-Powell, Chief Executive Officer of ESSA.
Some contemporary evidence shows that leading a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of communicable (e.g., bacterial and viral infections) and non-communicable diseases (e.g., cancer), implying that immune competency is enhanced by regular exercise bouts.
Other recent research supported this fact by establishing that those who undertake strenuous exercise such as marathon runners tended to report less annual sick days.
“We all understand that exercise supports our physical health, however, during times of crisis such as this, it is the first activity we tend to ignore. Being active can not only keep us healthy, it can also help us fight off infection.”
“Exercise is also unique in that it can boost our mental health, and during this anxious time it’s more important than ever to keep our minds clear and focused.”
ESSA is not only urging young people to move more; people of all ages should engage in physical activity. In 2018, a study by University of Birmingham and King’s College London found that 125 non-smoking amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 still had the immune systems of young people.
“What is important to understand, however, is that balance and undertaking the right exercise is important for each individual. In some instances, excessive exercise can reduce your immune system for a period of time, therefore, as we always promote – exercise right for who you are and speak to a trained professional.”
“Our members are all accredited exercise professionals who can help keep you active depending on your own unique situation. We cannot stress enough how important it is to stay safe, especially if you are training in self-isolation. Trust your health with an expert,” says Anita.
ESSA’s Top Tips:
• Be aware of your own health. If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the Department of Health’s directions and refrain from exercise.
• If you are nervous about attending a physical gym or exercise facility, contact the provider to understand what measures are in place for hygiene.
• If you are in self-isolation, this doesn’t not mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, this is a great time to move more and keep your body and mind healthy.
• Trust an accredited exercise professional who has the expertise and education to help you stay fit and healthy, and can work with you based on your current health and existing conditions.
“ESSA will continue to work closely with the Government and all Australians to help increase options to stay active during times of national stress and self-isolation.”
If you would like to get in touch with an accredited exercise professional in your area, visit the ESSA Search Function to find one in your area.
To find out more about the benefits of exercise in general, visit the Exercise Right website.
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