Covington, Ga. – The recent COVID-19 outbreak caused a major disruption to the lives of many, but it has also shown us how important overall health is to fighting disease. The exercise physiologists at Piedmont Newton Hospital’s cardiac rehab department are offering some simple tips to begin improving your overall health.
Drink More Water
Our bodies are made up of more than 60 percent water and general guidelines suggest that adults should drink eight 8oz. glasses of water per day.
“A lot of people think that if they drink more water, they will retain water,” said Lyndi Bitts, exercise physiologist at Piedmont Newton. “In fact, the opposite is true. Your body needs water and if you are not drinking enough, it will hold on to, or retain, the water it does have. If you are drinking enough water then your body uses what it needs and eliminates the rest.”
Drinking water can prevent dehydration, helps the body remove toxins, can lessen headaches and muscle cramps, and has even been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Monitor Mental Health
“When we say overall health, we are talking about physical, mental and emotional health,” said Haley Flynn, exercise physiologist and manager of Piedmont Newton’s cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs. “It is like a domino effect. If you are struggling in one area, you will struggle in all others.”
Many people are experiencing new or increased anxiety, depression or feeling isolated due to social distancing measures. Flynn suggests finding ways to connect with others. She calls it maintaining your social health.
“We are having to explore new ways of socializing using technology,” said Flynn. “If you like to read, contact the library and see if they are offering online book clubs, or find a group with similar hobbies or interests on social media.”
Ease into Exercise
Brandi Richards, exercise physiologist at Piedmont Newton, explains that the benefits from exercise come from stretching your body beyond its normal activity levels.
“For someone that is just starting to exercise, I recommend they start with walking three times a day,” said Richards. “Walking 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes before lunch, and 10 minutes before dinner helps you increase your activity levels and is sustainable.”
According to Richards, having an exercise buddy to hold you accountable also helps to keep you motivated to finish your exercise sessions.
“Finding someone that also wants to exercise and calling each other to check on one another’s progress is a great way to connect with someone else, while also holding each other accountable for finishing your scheduled exercises,” said Richards.
Before beginning any new exercise program, talk to your physician about what level of exercise is right for you.
Exercise physiologists study how the stress of exercise affects the body and the changes the body goes through during exercise. Piedmont Newton’s exercise physiologists lead comprehensive, medically supervised programs that teach patients with cardiac-related illnesses or who have recently had a coronary procedure such as stents or pacemaker placement how to exercise safely while building stamina and reducing risk factors. They also supervise a similar program for patients with pulmonary diseases such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Making small changes to diet and exercise, as well as managing stress can positively impact your overall health. It is important to understand your health and how diet and exercise may affect you, so schedule an annual physical with your doctor.
Piedmont Healthcare offers safe and easy virtual visits allowing you to see your provider remotely from the comfort and safety of your home. We accept insurance and self-pay, making virtual visits convenient and affordable. To schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a specialist, visit www.piedmont.org/medical-services/virtual-visits.