Don’t Let Physical Inactivity Be a Side Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Get Out and Walk!
By Ken Reed
Like a lot of us lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on Zoom. Invariably, whether it’s a work or personal Zoom session, someone will say “I really need to get more exercise during this pandemic.”
Undoubtedly, it’s tougher these days to exercise. Health clubs, recreation centers and gyms have been closed. In some areas, parks aren’t even open.
But for the most part, all of us can get out and walk; if nowhere else then around the neighborhood.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle, in conjunction with the stress of a potentially deadly pandemic, along with pandemic-related financial stress, not to mention the personal stress of not being able to hug friends and relatives, is a recipe for physical, mental, and emotional health problems.
Walking is a simple activity with tremendous benefits, including helping you fight off the coronavirus. Moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function, according to the website exerciseismedicine.org. Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine. Regular physical activity, including brisk walking, can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, three fairly common side effects of this coronavirus.
In a piece for CNNHealth, Lisa Drayer wrote:
“In fact, research shows that ‘fit individuals’ — defined as those who partake in regular physical activity — have a lower incidence of infection compared to inactive and sedentary individuals. What’s more, being physically active may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that could further weaken your immune system, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.”
It’s important to stress that to get the tremendous benefits of exercise, you don’t need to partake in high intensity running, biking or swimming. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that consistent lower-intensity physical exercise, like walking, can lower the risk of death from any cause by 18%.
Walking is also great for the brain, which will make you more effective while working from home. Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara says the brain evolved to support movement and if we stop moving the brain doesn’t function as well. He points out that based on scientific literature, people who engage in physical activity before they engage in a creative activity are more creative.
“One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened,” says O’Mara.
So, click out of that Zoom meeting, bust out of COVID lockdown for awhile, and go outside and use one of your superpowers: walking!
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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