As we find ourselves once more in lockdown it’s important to do whatever we can to stay healthy and well, both physically and mentally.
As orthopaedic surgeons, our particular concern is people’s orthopaedic (bone and muscular) health. The fact that we are spending more time at home, with limited opportunities for exercising and the possibility of routine appointments being cancelled, is clearly going to have an impact. This is especially true for people who may already have orthopaedic issues, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, or for those patients who have broken a bone and are recovering.
Follow the government guidance
Clearly, the most important advice for everyone is to follow the government rules to minimise the risk of contracting Covid which can have serious implications, particularly for people in high risk categories such as older people and those with underlying health conditions or who are immunocompromised. You can find the latest lockdown rules at the gov.uk website but, with one in three people who have the virus showing no symptoms, the most important message is not to leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary and to make sure you wash your hands and keep a safe distance from other people.
Our lockdown tips
So, how can you stay fit, healthy and well during the latest lockdown? Here are our top tips:
- Eat healthily: A healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables with a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, nuts, seeds and legumes can help to boost your immune system and support you to maintain a healthy body weight. This is particularly important for people with degenerative diseases like arthritis as it avoids putting pressure on joints that are already damaged.
- Exercise: Although you may not be able to do your normal types of exercise if you are used to attending classes, going to the gym or swimming, it’s essential for your musculoskeletal health (as well as your lungs and heart) to remain physically active. A daily walk will be beneficial for both your physical and mental health as it gets you out in the fresh air and sunlight on your skin is an important source of vitamin D. There are also many online classes that you can do, including yoga, pilates and cardiovascular workouts.
- Know your limits: This is good advice at any time but particularly at the moment because NHS resources are stretched and if you sustain a trauma-related injury you may face a longer wait than normal for treatment. Unlike during the first lockdown, private health providers like ours are currently able to provide consultations and are running normal clinics during lockdown, nevertheless treatment options may still be restricted so avoiding getting injured is advisable. If you are aiming to get fit, build up slowly and stick to exercise that carries a lower risk of injury.
- Sleep well: It’s easy to underestimate how important sleep is to our physical and mental health. Whilst sleeping our bodies repair themselves and our brains recharge. Avoiding using your phone, laptop or TV close to bedtime will help you sleep better as the blue light emitted by electronic devices such as your phone affects the production of melatonin which is the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Excessive blue light may also damage the retina in your eye.
- Stay hydrated: Not drinking enough water can make it hard to concentrate and may give you headaches, affect your mood or cause tiredness. The recommended amount is six to eight glasses of water a day and don’t forget to replace lost fluid when you sweat during exercise.
- Create a routine: It can be very disconcerting when your normal daily routine gets disrupted and, with everyone around us in lockdown too, the impact of this can become magnified. Developing a new routine for yourself can help to normalise things and give you back a sense of structure to your life. This can be helpful for children, too, who may be adversely affected by the loss of their normal school routines.
- Take things a day at a time: It is challenging to cope with uncertainty, particularly as none of us knows how long the current restrictions will last. One of the most helpful ways to deal with this is take things a day at a time rather than trying to think too far ahead which may result in overwhelm.
- Take time for yourself: This might be easier said than done right now but it is important for our wellbeing to be able to have some time for mental and physical self-care. If you can, make a space in your busy week to read a book, go for a walk or have a bath. This kind of re-set will help you cope better with the ongoing stress and physical demands of living in lockdown.
Carrothers Orthopaedics Consultations
Carrothers Orthopaedics is still here for our patients during this time. Whilst treatment options have been restricted in previous months, we are still providing online consultations via Zoom or telephone, as well as face to face if the condition necessitates.
We are here for you to talk through your symptoms, provide diagnosis with imaging modalities and discuss the full range of treatments available to you.
If you are experiencing new musculoskeletal symptoms or require support or advice about an existing condition please contact us.