During the pandemic, more people have become sedentary as they work from home. Gyms, recreational centres and pools have been closed.
This is particularly alarming given evidence from the Dallas Bedrest studies of the 1960s showed that just three weeks of inactivity had the equivalent effect of 30 years of ageing on the cardiovascular system.
In a timely intervention, one of Science & Technology Australia’s member organisations is leading crucial work to help people keep active during COVID-19.
The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has created the Keep It Moving campaign of evidence-based practical information to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Director Professor Tom Marwick said COVID-19 had highlighted how vulnerable many people in our community are – and keeping active is more important than ever.
“Being active is important for maintaining both physical and mental health, it helps to prime our immune system and can reduce our risk of many common chronic health conditions,” he said.
“With so much information online, we want to promote the evidence as to why people need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially now, and provide practical ways they can do this.”
“Early data suggests people with diabetes and heart disease may have an increased risk of COVID-19 complications.”
“There are also concerns that people are missing important check-ups and treatments because they are worried about catching the virus or they don’t want to add to pressure on the health system.”
“We are also concerned about the impact of isolation on lifestyle factors that are critical in reducing our risk of heart disease and diabetes, such as diet and exercise.”
“Maintaining activity is extremely important in diabetes, as weight gain engenders insulin resistance which impacts diabetic control, and physical activity is also a crucial way for people with heart disease to manage their symptoms.”
Keep it Moving material includes videos from experts, exercise and nutrition fact sheets from dietitians and physical activity experts and more.
“Our physical activity experts were concerned about the impact of isolation and the lack of evidence-based information to assist people, including those with chronic disease and the elderly when lockdown began,” Professor Marwick said.
“So they set about producing five fact sheets on safe exercises for different groups of people including healthy adults, people living with heart disease, people living with diabetes, older adults and people living with cancer.”
“Based on our unique range of expertise, we saw the opportunity to expand this and added nutrition fact sheets to fuel your body.”
As well as being a leading medical research institute, the Baker Institute provides diabetes, weight and cardiovascular clinics through to consultations with diabetes educators and dietitians.