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Health Minute: COVID-19's effect on the fitness of Americans

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 00:54:56-05

Americans have been spending more time at home now, and much of that time is spent sitting down.

This lifestyle change is creating some unforeseen effects on people's overall health.

Mandy Gaither explains why it's important to remain physically active in the midst of the pandemic.

One of the side effects of the pandemic is that it has turned many people into couch potatoes.

Social isolation, working from home, binge-watching tv, all factors that have Americans sitting for hours longer a day compared to their pre-pandemic lifestyles.

And this year, people are reporting new aches and pains, which doctors are directly linking to this sedentary behavior.

"Muscles weaken a lot with just a little bit of inactivity. And when muscles are weak, their joints don't work so well. They can't support the joints that are next to them. And then we start getting aches and pains."

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Angela Smith says there are many guidelines that recommend how often you should get up and move around throughout the day, but rather than setting alarms, it's better to just listen to your body.

"Anytime that you think that you are tired or stiff, need a drink. Get up. Do it. Because any motion is better than just sitting around."

Dr. Smith also says the best motivation is making exercise fun.

"We want always, exercise to be fun. Because the fun exercise is the exercise you're going to do."

Being physically active is not only critical for reducing aches and pains but adds to your overall health and well-being.