With the impact of COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the Pine Belt, many residents have opted to practice social distancing in hope of avoiding or spreading the virus. While the health benefits to doing so are clear, experts believe it is also important to make sure other areas of health are not being neglected.
Derek “Spike” Richards, director of the South Central Regional Medical Center Sports Performance Center, said there are many ways to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle without having to visit gyms or nutrition centers, most of which have shut down.. Putting in the effort to do so could pay dividends during such stressful times.
“Workouts relieve stress by releasing endorphins,” said Richards. “They also help you to be more productive in times that you feel you’re being unproductive. It also helps you find different styles of workouts to incorporate into your routine.”
The same goes for local athletes who typically work out with Richards at SCRMC’s Wellness Center. As their trainer, Richards said this time could be used to focus on areas that will enhance the work they do together in the gym.
“They should work on the plyometrics, coordination, and mobility aspects," he said. "We, as a whole, don’t do enough to get mobile. The more mobile they get, the more they can use their strength. As a whole, athletes do a great job with their strength work, so they should use this time to concentrate on combining that strength with speed and conditioning.”
As for the everyday person wanting to stay active, Richards said there are countless ways to do so both inside and outside of the house.
“Walk, jog, lunge or do push-ups and pull-ups,” Richards said. “Walk around the track or the trails at the park. Enjoy the things you won’t have time to do when you go back to 50 or 60-hour work weeks. If you have kids, spend the time with them doing activities. They’ll be glad they shared those times with their parents or siblings.”
Along with physical activity, Richards said it is equally important to make sure mental wellness is not neglected either. Keeping a positive mentality can pay dividends during stressful situations.
“Stay away from the negativity of social media,” Richards said. “Times like this have tested this area before, and we always came back stronger and united. Stay positive, and stay in control of your thoughts.
"Listen to podcasts rather than the news. This is as much about mental fitness as it is about physical fitness.”