This crazy time can be an opportunity to reboot and recover

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented health challenge with the coronavirus, and I don’t want in any way to minimize the serious impact this is now having on individuals, families, and businesses.

But I also want to point out that amid all the upheaval around us is an opportunity to rest, recover, and reboot. I have frequently addressed the negative effects related to year-round play, overuse, and specialization. During this period of forced time off, if your life circumstances allow then take the time to get some rest, then get back in to building baseline fitness and individual skills.

I truly hope each of you make it through this period safely, and when you get back to your normal sport and fitness activity perhaps your body will actually be better off.

The Serious Impact On Families

For many kids, school is their best source for essential meals and guidance. I want to recognize that this time away from normal routine is by no means a “vacation."

Keep Your Head Up

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a kid or an adult, it’s easy to let fear creep into your head and focus on the worst possible outcome. This is especially true if you’re sitting around at home. Everyone will respond differently but if you’re feeling overly anxious seek out professional help from your primary care doctor.

There are also many online resources available, including excellent meditation apps. Here are a few suggestions:

Watch this 2-minute video on three simple steps to manage anxiety. There are many, many videos online about anxiety management. Tip: choose the source wisely. Try to find highly credentialed content producers, such as with major universities or health systems.

Practice meditation once daily. I prefer and use daily Inscape’s app. Other excellent meditation apps are Headspace or Ten Perent Happier.

Exercise, Nutrition, And Sleep Boost The Immune System

Exercise at home. Do not leave your home to exercise without confirming public health orders and public health recommendations.

This is a great time to focus on maintaining fitness and not engaging in unaccustomed high-intensity workouts that leave you feeling exhausted and immune compromised.

For all people (if possible within public health orders): light aerobic activity such as brisk walk or light jog 20-30 minutes, 5x per week.

For all people: core strength and flexibility. Doing a plank or a side plank is boring as heck, but incredibly effective and you can do it anywhere!

Many of the FIFA 11+ injury prevention exercises don't require much space and can be done indoors.

• Eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, with a focus on brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

Work on individual skills. Be creative, regardless of your sport. My colleague Mike Woitalla recently published this excellent piece on soccer skill building.

Further reading:

How Exercise May Affect Your Immunity (New York Times)
How You Can Use Sleep to Fight Back Against Coronavirus (Psychology Today)
Tom Byer: 'This is an opportunity to focus on individual technical skill development' (Soccer America)
When in-person training and games are not possible, the coach can still coach (Soccer America)
FIFA 11+ injury prevention exercises video (FIFATV YouTube)
FIFA 11+ exercises for kids (FIFA medical Network)

* * * * * * * * * *

Key points:
If your personal circumstances allow, use forced time off from school or work to get some rest, and start building back a baseline fitness level.

Use professional resources to help maintain a positive attitude.

Focus on core strength, basic aerobic fitness, and individual skills.

(Dr. Dev K. Mishra, a Clinical Assistant Professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University and Medical Director of Apeiron Life, is the creator of the online injury management course and the Good to Go injury assessment App for coaches, managers, parents and players. Mishra writes about injury recognition and management at blog, where this article originally appeared.)

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