COVID-19 health battle: Tamworth allied healthcare goes online in battle to maintain gains | The Northern Daily Leader

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It’s Andrew Mahony’s job to make sure the coronavirus cure isn’t worse than the malady. The veteran Tamworth allied health worker is determined the COVID-19 quarantine won’t blow up Australia‘s waist line, exacerbating a national obesity problem. And for many people with chronic mental or physical conditions, exercise isn’t optional. But with the Commonwealth ordering people to stay home for all but the necessities, we’ll each miss out on doing thousands of hours of exercise over the next few months, he said. READ MORE: “You’re going to see increased sedentary-type behaviours,” he said. “If they were doing something physical 4 to 5 times a week, let’s say for half an hour or an hour – that’s 4 to 5 hours a week. “If that spreads out over 3 to 6 months, 4 to 5 hours a week all of a sudden adds up to a lot of hours that they’re not doing that exercise.” Allied health providers have been forced to adapt. From ramped up telehealth, to helping patients do exercise at home using photos of their backyard or steps, Rural Fit Tamworth is keeping “innovative and agile” to keep people healthy, Mr Mahony said. It’s important that people have the opportunity to keep up a regime, he said. For some people exercise isn’t a choice. Diabetics, people recovering from recent surgery or with heart conditions often require physical rehabilitation. MORE NEWS: And exercise can have mental health benefits as well. “There’s plenty of clients of ours that have mental health conditions, whether it’s PTSD, whether it’s depression, anxiety,” said Mr Mahony. “Many of them are using exercise and fitness as medicine as part of their treatment.” He’s determined every patient should be able to continue exercise treatment. Rural Fit remains open with extreme social distancing practices, but many patients aren’t happy to come out. “We’re doing things like private YouTube channels; there’ll be exercises for our clients that they access for them to do at home. “Things like telehealth, we’re getting SMS’s of what equipment they’ve got at home and their backyard, how it’s laid out.” It means they have to do a lot of extra work without much greater compensation, but Andrew Mahony said it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. “Allied health is open for business, and not just from an in-clinic type appointment. “Doctors and nurses support our business, it’s now time for us to put our hand up and say how we can play a role in helping them and their patients to manage and prevent mental and physical chronic conditions.”

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