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Staying active during a pandemic

Posted at 4:21 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 11:18:02-05

Americans have been spending more time at home now, and much of that time is spent sitting down. This lifestyle change is creating some unforeseen effects on people's overall health.

Social isolation, working from home and binge-watching television are all factors that have us sitting for hours longer a day compared to pre-pandemic lifestyles. This year, people are reporting new aches and pains, which doctors are linking directly to this sedentary behavior.

"Muscles weaken a log with just a little bit of inactivity and when muscles are weak, their joints don't work as well," said Dr. Angela Smith, an orthopedic surgeon. "They can't support the joints that are next to them and then we start getting aches and paints."

Dr. Smith says there are many guidelines that recommend how often you should get up and move around throughout the day. But rather than setting alarms, it's better to just listen to your body.

"Anytime that you think that you are tired or stiff, need a drink. Get up. Do it. Because any motion is better than just sitting around," said Dr. Smith.

She also says the best motivation is making exercise fun.

"We always want exercise to be fun. Because the fun exercise is the exercise you're going to do."

Being physically active is not only critical for reducing aches and pains, but adds to your overall health and well-being.