As Myotherapists we do our best work when one on one with our clients. With the clinics closed due to Stage 4 Melbourne lock down restrictions, we have needed to find new ways to help our customers improve their health and feel better at home.
One of these initiatives is our Myo-at-Home Skype consultations. Another, is to promote our customers to find at least 30 minutes every day to walk to improve well-being, increase fitness, reduce anxiety and depression and improve social connectedness (Brito et al., 2019; Kelly et al., 2019; Oliva & Johnston, 2020). Our hashtag #Find30 will help us promote this healthy initiative via our social media channels and promote our customers efforts to keep active during lockdown.
Walking is easy to do and completely under-rated. It can improve one’s physical health, reduce disease risk, and improve well-being (Brito et al., 2019). By taking 30 minutes every day to walk and explore the neighbourhood, a person can improve their health outcomes reducing anxiety and depression which is so often coupled with loneliness (Kelly et al., 2019; Oliva & Johnston, 2020).
Moderate walking can be highly beneficial as opposed to strenuous workouts (Koselka et al., 2019). Why? When a person exercises to exhaustion, they may lower their immunity immediately after the exercise bout as they recover (Ferreira-Junior, Freitas & Chaves, 2020; Shirvani, 2020). This can put them at greater risk to become sick (Ferreira-Junior, Freitas & Chaves, 2020; Shirvani, 2020). An important note in the time of Covid19.
Pet owners have the advantage at times of isolation as pets seek immediate attention through wanting a pat, food or for a dog, whining for their walk (Oliva & Johnston, 2020). This can ensure pet owners are more mindful and living in the present moment instead of overthinking thoughts that are contributing to anxiety (Olivia & Johnston, 2020). Dog walking can improve social interaction with other people who might stop to chat or share a smile or greeting as they pass (Olivia & Johnston, 2020).
Neighbourhood walking can improve social loneliness particularly if people greet each other with a ‘Good morning’ or ‘Hi’ (Oliva & Johnston, 2020). Verbal greetings are so much more important now that masks are mandatory when outside so take courage, speak up and greet people passing.
Excellent hygiene protocols including washing hands with soap before and after walking, wearing a mask and social distancing are important (Shirvani, 2020). Anyone with cold and flu symptoms should avoid exercise until they feel better (Shirvani, 2020).
Green space walking has greater benefits to urban street walking (Brito et al., 2019; Koselka et al., 2019). Researching a greenspace or parkland in your area to walk to or drive to if within your local community can assist to reduce anxiety and depression (Koselka et al., 2019). If there is a lack of green space areas in a person’s neighbourhood, focusing on birdlife or looking at flowers in local gardens can be a way to focus on nature.
De Brito, J.N., Pope, Z.C., Mitchell, N.R., Schneider, I.E., Larson, J.M., Horton, T.H., & Pereira, M.A. (2019). Changes in Psychological and Cognitive Outcomes after Green versus suburban walking: A Pilot Crossover Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(16). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162894
Ferreira-Junior, J.B., Freitas, E.D.S., & Chaves, S.F.N. (2020). Exercise: A Protective Measure or an “Open Window” for Covid-19? A Mini Review. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 2. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.00061
Kelly, P., Williamson, C., Niven, A. G., Hunter, R., Mutrie, N., & Richards, J. (2019). Walking on sunshine: scoping review of the evidence for walking and mental health. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(14), 903-904. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-098827
Koselka, E.P.D., Weidner, L.C., Minasov, A., Berman, M.G., Leonard, W.R., Santoso, M.V., de Brito, J.N., Pope, Z.C., Pereira, M.A., & Horton, T.H. (2019). Walking Green: Developing an Evidence Base for Nature Prescriptions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(22). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224338
Oliva, J.L., & Johnston, K.L. (2020). Puppy love in the time of Corona: Dog ownership protects against loneliness for those living alone during the COVID-19 lockdown. International journal of Social Psychiatry, 20764020944195. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020944195
Shirvani, H. (2020). Exercise and Covid-19 as an Infectious Disease. Iranian Journal of Med Sciences, 45(4), 311-312. https://doi.org/10.30476/ijms.2020.86010.1566