Covid 19: A Toronto Physio's guide to coping with self-isolation
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
During this period of self-isolation and uncertainty taking care of our mental health is paramount. Remember physical distancing doesn’t mean “social” distancing. Try to connect with your family and friends daily through text and video chat. How you feel emotionally is going to affect how you feel physically. Our wonderful city of Toronto, and our country as a whole, is resilient. Take care of your mental health by connecting with your family, friends, and colleagues and we will get through this together.
Remember to eat well during this period of time. The Canada food guide recommends 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for adults. Also, aim to drink 8 tall glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated helps with boosting your energy and concentration. Consider decreasing the portion size of your meals slightly to account for the decrease daily walking and exercise that you would otherwise do.
Perform short full body workouts three times per week. There is wonderful assortment of exercise videos on Youtube that can be performed with body weight. You may not be able to make new “gains” but they are great at maintaining your physique. Full body workouts are great at decreasing the physical and mental tension during this period of self-isolation with Covid 19.
Sitting with proper posture during your work day is key in preventing neck and lower back pain. Setting up an ergonomic home office is very important to help with your posture. Set up your office at a desk or dining table where you can sit up straight and your feet can touch the floor. For additional back support use a lumbar support, rolled up towel, or a couch pillow. If possible plug in your laptop to an external keyboard and external monitor. If you would like to switch things up and work from your couch sit up straight. Use a pillow to provide additional back support. Place a pillow on your lap to rest your laptop and elevate it slightly.
NECK AND BACK STRETCHES
With this period of self-isolation we are certainly doing a lot more sitting and lying around. We are all spending a lot more time looking down at our phones, tablets, and laptops to connect with friends or stay up to date on the news. All this puts a lot more stress on our spine. In order to alleviate this pressure I would recommend doing one set of each of these two exercises 2-3x/day.
-start by sitting up with good posture
-place your hand on your chin to guide the movement of sliding your head backwards
-your neck will make a “double chin” action
-perform 1 set of 10
STANDING BACK EXTENSIONS
-stand with your feet shoulder width apart
-place your hands on your back and just above your butt
-arch backwards as far as you feel comfortable
-perform 1 set of 10