[Ask Dr Chiu] Combating COVID-19 with exercises? Three things parents can do for their children

[Ask Dr Chiu] Combating COVID-19 with exercises? Three things parents can do for their children

[Ask Dr Chiu] Combating COVID-19 with exercises? Three things parents can do for their children



5  Mins Read

In the face of the fierce onslaught of fourth wave of COVID-19, Hong Kongers are back in alert mode, especially for those who have young children. The current wave sees some patients deteriorate quickly, and being young is not exempted from severe conditions anymore. To combat the pandemic, what elsemore  can we do for our children? Is exercising effective for the purpose? Indeed, it is important to promote physical and mental health of children as we brace for the fourth wave. Here are three ways to achieve this.

1.    An hour of moderate exercise boosts immunity

Exercising is an important way to boost one’s immunity. At present, most school age children are confined at home and are compelled to learn through a computer. This is less than ideal. It is pertinent that they are given time to run around to release their excess energy, give themselves a good stretch, and maintain balance physically and mentally.

Studies show that exercise of moderate intensity that last for about an hour is effective in improving blood circulation, enhance metabolism and strengthen heart and lung functions. Furthermore, body temperature rises during exercise, which in turn increases the activity of white blood cells and antibodies, both of which are the first line of defense for our body.

That said, to avoid the crowd, keep in mind to carefully choose the time and venue for outdoor exercise. If you choose not to go out, there are a number of indoor activities to choose from, such as fencing and yoga. Parents working from home can exercise with children together. It is also conducive to intimate familial relationship.

2. Balanced diet to maintain immunity

The diet is an important element as much as exercising. Children should also receive balanced nutrition including protein, vitamins and minerals to help maintain health.

On the other hand, impulse control is still under development for children. They could be tempted to snack too often during the lockdown. Excessive intake of sugar and additives may cause obesity and affect concentration. Parents should pay attention in purchasing heathier alternatives such as dried fruit and nuts. Try making snacks with children so they are more willing to change their eating habits.


3. Take vaccine in time

Finally, to improve one’s immunity against specific illness, parents should also take their children to receive vaccination at appropriate times -- such as taking the seasonal influenza jab before winter comes. This will help them to get maximum protection during this year’s winter flu surge.

Acquiring immunity through germs?

If a child is brought up over-protected, with the parents not exposing them to any hardship or having them experience any failure in life, the child will grow up with poor resilience. Likewise, if a child is brought up in an excessively hygienic environment, and everything the child touches is sterilised, then the child’s immunity to combat the invasion of bacteria and virus will also be impaired.

With the pandemic hitting hard, it is obvious not wise for us to relax infection control measures and subject our children to unnecessary risk of deadly diseases. When the COVID-19 threat is over, let us loosen up and let them build their immunity in a laissez-faire manner!