Keeping Cork Healthy: Stay home, stay active, for the good of your health

2nd November 2020

The Echo/Mardyke UCC Arena weekly exercise column, Keeping Cork Healthy, is back for the lockdown – this week, why it’s important for mind and body to be active, and tips on how golfers can stay in shape.

Stay home, Stay Safe but also Stay Active!

Physical activity may not be at the forefront of our minds as we contend with keeping ourselves, our families and communities safe during this global pandemic, writes Conor O’Mullane, Chartered Physiotherapist with the arena clinic at the Mardyke Arena UCC.

The important message of ‘stay at home’ is synonymous with ‘lazy days’, ‘light the fire’, and ‘sit on the couch’.

At present, there is much outside our control, but we can control our actions while at home and take action to improve our general health through physical activity.

Prevention is always better than reactive treatment. Physical activity plays an integral part in illness prevention. Exercise is medicine! The healthiest and strongest version of you will navigate this crisis the easiest!

So, why remain physically active in the context of Covid-19?

General Health and Fitness

The healthier you are, the more likely a quicker and more positive outcome if fighting the virus.

It’s not too late to benefit from modest increases in daily physical activity. Older adults should aim to be active daily and include activities which enhance strength, balance and flexibility at least two days a week.

If you have concerns about falling, such exercises will improve strength and confidence on your feet. If unsure, contact your GP or chartered physiotherapist before undertaking a new exercise regime.

Respiratory Health

Covid-19 may target the lungs and affect breathing. While studies showing the impact of physical-activity on coronavirus are yet to be completed, we do know physical activity has a positive impact on other viral respiratory infections.

When active, our muscles create compounds that improve the function of your immune system, helping to reduce inflammation impacting lung tissue, making it harder to breath.

We need to be up, moving and using our muscles to reap this natural benefit. Moderate activity such as brisk walking, dancing, or cutting the grass will have an impact.

Mental Health

Many will encounter symptoms of stress due to reduced social contact. Daily activity is proven to help with ongoing stress and can also prevent stress from escalating.

For those already experiencing mental health difficulties, research shows physical activity can reduce symptoms like anxiety and low mood. If looking to get active, walking is an ideal place to start. Its low impact, low risk, free, and accessible to most age groups whilst lending itself well to social distancing.

The priority is to remain safe and decrease the spread of Covid-19. Do this by following government/HSE guidelines on social distancing, hand washing, avoid touching your face and good coughing etiquette. With the duration of restrictions expanding and no definitive end in sight, physical activity also must become a priority in our daily routines.

Stay at home, stay safe but also stay active!


Flexibility for golfers

The recent Covid-19 resurgence has resulted in the closure of golf courses across Ireland. Hopefully, these restrictions will soon be over and courses will reopen, but with the current measures keeping us indoors for now, there’s no guarantee that we will be dusting off our clubs and bags any time soon, writes Joe Normoyle, Chartered Physiotherapist with the arena clinic at the Mardyke Arena UCC.

We can, however, use this opportunity to maintain and grow our golf fitness.

One of the biggest risk factors for injury is restarting sport while we are ‘under-cooked’. Take the Bundesliga soccer league in Germany. On the opening weekend there were 14 soft tissue injuries as a result of the period of de-training then ramping back up their load. Football and golf are very different sports with different demands. However, the same principles apply.

We need to consider that golf is an explosive sport that requires power to hit the ball far. It is a unilateral sport (one swing direction) with the average golfer taking between 75-100 shots/swings per game. This can lead to muscular imbalances.

Golf requires freedom of movement (range of movement) to generate power through the swing. Endurance is also an important factor often overlooked. We require this for a number of reasons; firstly, we require endurance to get us from hole 1 to hole 18 without needing to be airlifted off the course, and also to maintain our concentration levels through the course which gives greater consistency to the game.

A recent study in Royal Country Down Golf Club found that the average golfer walks 69% longer than the scorecard average distance! A 7,000-yard scorecard which equates to approximately four miles of walking actually results in approximately 6.6 miles, or over 10Km. A considerable distance which doesn’t factor the influence of an undulating course.

Therefore, it is vitally important to stay fit for when you do eventually return to play, to improve your game play and reduce the risk of injury.

These home exercises will help to maintain mobility, reduce the risk of injury and (hopefully!) improve your game. Google each of the exercises below:

  1. Seated Thoracic Rotations
  2. Hip Rotations
  3. Lumbar Rotations
  4. Golf Posture Shoulder Rotations
  5. Shoulder “Y” Broomstick Stretch
  6. Glute Bridge


Aim for 10 repetitions of each exercise and three sets. All exercises should be performed pain free. If you do experience pain during any of the above exercises, stop immediately.

Joe Normoyle (Chartered Physiotherapist, MISCP) is the Lead Clinician at the arena clinic and is certified with the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).

If you require a TPI physical screening and individualised home exercise program please contact the arena clinic at 0214904760 or to book an appointment with Joe.


Mardyke’s Physiotherapy Clinic remains open as an essential service

The arena clinic based at the Mardyke Arena UCC, a centre already recognised for excellence in its facilities, will remain open during this period as their physiotherapy services are deemed an essential health service.

The clinic will continue to operate under Government and HSE guidelines.

The arena clinic is unique, incorporating physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and specialist rehabilitation. To book an appointment contact the arena clinic at 021 490 4760 or visit to book online.


Join in with Free Fitness Classes Online

The Mardyke Arena UCC will be re-commencing Fitness Classes online via the Mardyke Arena UCC YouTube Channel from Monday, November 2 – Click Here.

Fitness classes will include Pilates for all, general aerobic classes, HIIT classes, Energise Your Life classes for the Over 55s and more.

If you are doing a fitness class from home, Let us how you get on by using #KeepingCorkHealthy and tagging ‘Mardyke Arena UCC’.


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