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Advice for athletes during coronavirus cancelations

Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 17:48:46-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — With the competitions canceled and the practices put on hold the medical professionals want to make something clear: don’t let this time off set you back.

"Exercise is extremely important," said Dr. Richard Hinton, Regional Medical Director for MedStar Sports Medicine.

Dr. Hinton adds that regular exercise can, among other things, boost your immune capacity. For athletes who are faced with this unexpected down time, you need to keep at it.

"The key thing is maintaining an aerobic base and a general core strength during this time," he said.

Dr. Hinton spoke to WMAR-2 Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner from Union Memorial Hospital.

MedStar physical therapist Rebecca Schumer helped demonstrate some of those core exercises to do at home - like forward planks, side planks and Russian twists.

"It’s not a time to sit on the couch," she said. "You have to keep moving. You have to keep your energy up because when we are allowed to return to all of these activities, you don’t want to be behind."

Dr. Hinton stressed that with any exercise frequency, intensity and duration have to increase slowly. As for the college, high school and youth athletes - don’t forget who you are.

"For the kids I think the number one message is you’re still an athlete. You’re still a teammate. You’re still involved with your sport," he said. "Stay connected with your teammates on social media talking about this situation, sharing your thoughts, sharing your hopes and aspirations to get back to your sport."

Loyola University Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Charley Toomey is in constant contact with his players. They have scattered all across the country.

"There are things you can do," said Toomey from his office at Loyola. "You can jump rope. You can get a good cardio workout every day if you choose to. You can get a great body weight workout, push-ups, sit-ups, squats."

He urged all athletes to continue to work on their skills but also realize, at this point in time, they are on a new team.

"As a coach, I’m challenging them to be great teammates and right now their team is their family," he said. "Right now they’ve got to take care of their parents and their grandparents. They’ve got to make the right social decisions. That’s the team."

It's a team we are all a part of.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook