With many states consistently reporting thousands of new cases-and a wave of cancelled races including the Boston, Chicago, and New York City marathons-one might wonder what’s the best fitness regime to do. The new year is the best time to take resolutions and what better than running as a resolution to ramp up the mileage for a big race ahead.
A fitness resolution is a great opportunity to make a healthy change, and in such times, revamping an old workout routine can help, says health coach, holistic nutritionist and fitness expert Pooja Bhargava. “A well-rounded exercise programme has endurance through aerobic activities, through functional exercises and muscle training. Several gyms and certain apps like Asana Rebel, Nike training focus on a blend of different workouts and have helped people lose weight. It’s imperative to change workouts in order to avoid muscle stagnation and boredom. Likewise, a runner will benefit with a stronger strike rate if the muscles are stronger,” she says.
Running alone is the best way to reduce risk. Timing your solo run for when you know your route or trail will be less crowded, is the first and the best thing to keep in mind. Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help the immune system keep viruses at bay.
Runners can also suffer from anxiety. If one has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or anxiety, running and exercising can minimise symptoms.
As guidelines rapidly evolve, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a national public health institute in the United States, recommend ‘people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
Masks only help reduce spread if used and worn correctly. A cloth face covering may not be necessary when out for solo exercise or if you know you won’t be surrounded by people. But carry one in case of an emergency. A face cover can contain spread from the ill and prevent inhalation in the healthy. Even taking a mask on and off incorrectly can be risky and increase your hand-to-mouth exposure.
Dr Rakesh Kumar, orthopaedic surgeon, Apollo Spectra Delhi, says, “Running solo can eliminate the risk of virus. Maintain safe distance from people while running solo. Carry a hand sanitiser, a water bottle, and avoid touching any surfaces or things. While running you should wear a mask properly. Your running speed should be in limit and should be comfortable to you, in case you feel any discomfort stop running and take rest and take out your mask. See to it that you do not run-in crowded areas. Do not run if you are sick, and limit your contact with people. You will have to start slow, and then gradually increase the speed. Going overboard on running will invite injuries.”
The World Health Organization recently said in a live session that asymptomatic spread is still a concern. So, when running with others, one must know about the size of a gathering. It also depends if you live where the community spread is low, it may be safe to run with two or three other people that you trust and will be honest about any interactions. Some hard exercise sessions can help to elevate the next level of performance. Tough sessions can be enjoyed with other runners.
In fact, the best running apps can help you more from your workouts. A running app installed on your smartphone taps into that device’s built-in sensors to track speed, distance travelled and calories burned. Like Nike Running is one of the most popular health apps. The simple interface informs about pace, routes, and other details. You can also use its Coach feature to get trained for a marathon. The app has in-run audio feedback to give the much-needed motivation to achieve fitness goals. A few speciality running apps focus on different areas of the running experience. Like Weight Loss Running includes diet and fitness logs to tackle getting healthy. It aims to be the whole package, serving as a running coach, diet aid and fitness log. Active.com’s Couch-to-5K can ease casual runners with a training course of 20 to 30 minutes to build stamina.