By Eduardo Montaña MD, MPH, MBA
The long COVID pandemic has made many of us even more sedentary than we had been! We have many patients coming to the Pediatric Cardiology, General Pediatric and Family Medicine clinics complaining of new symptoms of fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Once we determine that it is not COVID related heart issues, we then address the more common reasons people are more symptomatic now. They include:
- Poor Physical Conditioning
- Pandemic Related Stress/Anxiety
- Chronic Sitting and Sedentary Behavior
- Poor Diet – Out of Routine during Pandemic
While health experts warn that the pandemic is still happening, restrictions to outdoor activities are being loosened. We are recommending to all our patients the easiest exercise of all, Walking. God gave us two feet, use them! Buy yourself a cheap Pedometer to count steps and play a game with family and friends to see who can walk the most steps in a 30-day period. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 300 minutes of exercise weekly, which is equivalent to 45 minutes 5 days a week. The activity should be “moderately vigorously active” which I tell patients means you cannot talk and walk at the same time or at least have difficulty doing so. The idea is to get your heart rate up to 90 percent of its maximum for age. This HR number can be calculated using the following example:
Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the average maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.
Spring activities are in full swing and summer is around the corner. Let us celebrate life and survival of the pandemic by remembering our Preventive Health, which are those things that keep us healthy. We should not only think about our health when we are sick!
It is MORE IMPORTANT to make health and wellness part of your everyday routine, planning all meals and physical activity for the week as you do your schoolwork, job, or any other priority activity.
At Children’s Cardiovascular and Family Preventive Medicine, our goal is to keep and ongoing conversation with you and your family providing your families with easy to understand and sensible advice to eat well and move well! As your community “health advisors” our goal is to several times a month, using social media and our website, come into your home and have a conversation with you, your children and other adults in your home about simple changes you can make that will have significant impact on not only the family’s health but how your family feels, works and plays.
Everyday is an opportunity for change. Our young parents and families that visit our clinics ask the same questions time and time again; “what things can I do at home to help my family be healthy?’ While many families may not have transportation, memberships at fitness gyms, personal trainers or personal chefs, health information is everywhere and sometimes confusing.
Our mission at CCM/ FVPM is to improve your family’s health knowledge. The first choice you must make is to become engaged and participate in that change. As a first challenge, follow this simple message today with your spouse and your children.
“Ask a Fitness Expert”
To provide you and your family with expert fitness and nutrition advice in a manner that is useful to you and that you can try at home, we are providing the answer to some frequently asked questions we get from our adolescent patients mostly and their parents.
Bring your left knee towards your chest, touching your heel with your right hand and return to the start position. Repeat with your left knee, continuing to alternate legs. Remember: The faster you tempo, the more calories you’ll burn.