The Jakarta Post
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay at home and forgo most outdoor activities, experts and musicians are encouraging the public to stay active and be creative.
Speaking with the national COVID-19 task force at a discussion on Saturday, sports medicine expert Arie Saminarto Sutopo urged people to perform all kinds of physical activities at home amid calls to reduce non-essential out-of-home activities to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
With more people working and spending time at home, Arie stressed the importance of maintaining muscle and joint health by doing at least light stretching routines, especially for people aged 45 years and above.
Arie, who is also a sports sciences lecturer at the Jakarta National University (UNJ), also recommended exercises to maintain cardiovascular and respiratory system health and prevent other illnesses that could risk comorbidity in cases of COVID-19 infection.
The national COVID-19 task force said in September that up to 92 percent of COVID-19 patients in some regions had comorbid factors. The most common comorbidity was diabetes, followed by hypertension, heart disease and lung and respiratory disorders.
Aside from light exercise at home, Arie also recommended outdoor exercise, such as jogging and riding a bicycle, with adherence to health protocols such as wearing a mask, regularly washing hands and keeping a distance from others.
Joggers, he said, should maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from each other, while cyclists are advised to keep at least a 10-meter distance as the higher speed might allow for respiratory droplets, the main transmission medium of the coronavirus, to expel farther.
Arie also advised the general public against playing team-based sports, such as basketball and soccer, because it would be harder to follow health protocols, particularly physical distancing.
Light and moderate exercise routines could also boost natural immunity by increasing the number of lymphocyte white blood cells, Arie said.
“Nowadays, exercise is important to increase immunity and endurance,” Arie said. “If we are exposed to COVID-19, it’s important for our body to have an ‘army’ that can fight it off.”
In addition to exercise, he suggested getting at least six to eight hours of sleep a day, consuming food with a high vitamin content and avoiding stress to boost natural immunity.
In the discussion, Singer Maulana Ardiansyah and guitarist Idris Vanes also shared their experiences in maintaining creativity as musicians during the pandemic.
With the pandemic putting a halt to tours and concerts, Maulana and Idris said they maintained productivity by producing singles in the studio or song covers for social media.
“Looking for inspiration is indeed the most difficult part [during these times],” Maulana said. “I mostly look for things in life that I have yet to really express, we have to examine them thoroughly.
He added that other musicians had turned to the digital space to maintain interaction with fans, such as holding virtual concerts or hosting Instagram Live shows, the latter of which he regularly does.
“It makes you excited because when you are feeling down, interacting with your fans can lift your spirits again. [It] made me realize that there are many of them waiting for my new creations.”
The government has launched several aid programs to help artists and cultural workers. The Education and Culture Ministry planned to distribute Rp 1 million to more than 58,000 artists impacted by the pandemic while the Social Affairs Ministry had disbursed aid to 37 struggling arts and culture communities.
Maulana said he appreciated the government’s help as concerts and tours were the largest source of income for musicians.
“For all art workers and musicians, keep your spirits up,” Maulana said. “Don't use this pandemic as an excuse to stop creating. Keep looking for inspiration and keep improving what is in us so that we can create even better works.” (mfp)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force (Satgas COVID-19) to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.