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Stay home. Stay safe. But don’t stay weak

When I started this column months ago, because I knew the topic would be everywhere, I wanted to avoid boring the reader with more talk of the pandemic. But there is a twist here, an angle worthy of comment.

Pick something. Arthritis in your knee, back, hip. Problems with balance or dizziness. Movement challenges that come along with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. You name it. Whatever physical issues you have to deal with will always be worse the less you move, always!

So, it stands to reason that because we are all sitting around for what feels like years waiting for this thing to cease, our bodies have suffered from the loss of movement. The less you move, the worse your body functions and the worse it feels!

But there is a revolutionary, life-boosting, supersized new health improvement product that can help. It’s your home.

What? My home is a revolutionary health improvement product? Absolutely!

In my In-Home Physical Therapy program, we use the patient’s home in creative ways to help them get stronger, improve their balance, and reduce their pain. Use your home and get creative while you are stuck there to not only prevent the challenges above, but to get better!

You see, the human body needs to be tested over and over again in order to improve. But the test doesn’t have to be conventional gym equipment. Gyms have stair climbers … you have stairs. Gyms have leg press and squat machines … you have chairs. In balance therapy, some clinics have specialized equipment that makes you wobble … your home has couch cushions to do the same. The good news is the body can’t discriminate between a chest press machine and a pushup.

Take a 12-year-old boy who is on his first day in the fields for his family farm. Scrawny, weak, thin. Now take that same boy 6 years later after the work that is required of the industry and you will have a strong, tough, solid man. His body adapted to being tested because it needed to in order to pass the tests on the farm every day. All this without touching one barbell or machine.

For me, the home is an effective gymnasium if you change how you see it. If you change your thought process, you can change the outcome.

Stand up from your chair as many times in a row as you can. Grab two soup cans and push them toward the ceiling. Put your hands on the wall at shoulder height and do wall pushups. Walk up and down your steps and extra 4-5 times per day or go for a walk outside if you can do it safely. And by all means, do not sit for longer than an hour at a time … yuck!

There are not enough lines in this column to allow a complete list of ideas on how you can use the home to improve strength, balance, and even reduce pain. But I’m hoping to have sparked your interest in how to look at things a bit differently realizing that being stuck at home can be liberating.

Your home, your world is a gym and can benefit you greatly if you take the right action.

Joel J. Digris is a Schuylkill County resident with a master’s degree in physical therapy. He is currently employed by Achieva Rehabilitation as an outpatient provider of physical therapy and serves residents in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

The Times News Media Group do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.