Regular physical activity is essential to physical and mental health. The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) recommends that Jamaicans use the additional time that is being spent at home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to engage in physical activity daily to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity can have several implications for persons who have not contracted COVID-19, those who are recovering from the illness and those who have recovered.
For persons who do not have COVID-19, physical activity is vital for strengthening the immune system, which can help to lessen the effects of the disease if contracted. Exercise can also reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of developing non-communicable diseases, which can increase susceptibility to contracting COVID-19. These include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers.
While recovering from COVID-19, persons who are asymptomatic or who have mild symptoms (loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, sore throat, etc.) can engage in light physical activity. This may include casual walking, bicycling at speeds under eight km per hour and stretching. If symptoms, like fever, cough or shortness of breath are present, such activity should be avoided.
Following recovery from mild cases of COVID-19, persons can engage in light to moderate physical activity. Moderate exercise includes brisk walking, stair climbing and bicycling at speeds under 16 km per hour.
For persons who have recovered from more severe cases, physical activity should be monitored and exertion-related symptoms reported to a medical health professional. These symptoms include palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath. In such cases, additional tests to rule out damage to the body’s systems may be required before more strenuous exercise – such as running, hiking and weightlifting – can be resumed.
For further information, contact:
Ministry of Health & Wellness
10-16 Grenada Way
Telephone: 876-633-8172, 876-633-7771