How to Stay Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The contagious COVID-19 has dramatically affected our normal lifestyle. Things we are used to doing without giving a second thought now require taking precautions or not doing them at all.

For example, simply going to the food store requires that we wear a mask, maintain social distance with other shoppers, and clean your hands either as we leave the store or as soon as we get home. Meanwhile, those who used to go to fitness clubs may have second thoughts on working out with others. Because doing so may expose them to possibly picking up the virus from someone in the club.

Furthermore, technology now allows some to work from home. However, spending so much time around the home may cause some to be less active, sit more, and/or eat more. Over time, the inadequate amount of activity and possibly too much eating may negatively affect their health.

So, if you fall in that category, get up and become active. However, focus on activities that,

  • Help you maintain social distance,
  • Do not need you to wash your hands so frequently, and
  • Do not need you to touch commonly touched surfaces or shared items as in a health club.

Now, there are two types of workouts, you can do around the home, to help you stay fit and healthy. One is aerobics and the other is strength training.

Aerobics

Aerobics is one of the easiest ways to get a good workout. And, one of the most common is to go for a walk. Moreover, you do not need a bike or hiking trail to go on a walk. You can walk in your neighborhood. Or, you can walk around your block several times. However, if you live in a city, put on your mask and maintain social distance from others you may come across. Also, if you come to a traffic signal, stand apart from others to stay safe.

Next, some other activities you can do around the home include:

  • Gardening for those who have a garden
  • Mowing the lawn for those with a lawn
  • Cleaning your house
  • Playing with your children
  • Following along with exercise programs on TV or streaming on your laptop.

Now, the more time spent doing aerobics the greater the health benefits. However, even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. And, you do not have to do it all in one session. In fact, being active for short periods throughout the day can add up to provide health benefits. Some other ideas include the following.

Stair Climbing

If your home has a staircase, go up and down stairs for 15 to 20 minutes. In addition to your cardiovascular system, stair climbing exercises your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads.

Jumping Jacks

If you can do them, do jumping jacks. In addition to your cardiovascular function, jumping jacks exercise your quads. Moreover, they also exercise your shoulders, abs, groin, calves, lower and upper back, hamstrings, and outer thighs.

High Knees

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your knee up to the waist level and drop your feet slowly down. Repeat with the other knee. This completes one cycle. Now, this exercise burns calories and increases metabolism.

Strength Training

As much as aerobics gets your heart pumping, it is also important to exercise your muscles. So, if you happen to have weights such as dumbbells or resistance bands, use them to exercise your arms, chest, and legs.

On the other hand, if you do not have weights, you can use your body weight to work those muscles. For example, pushups exercise your chest muscles or pectorals, shoulders or deltoids, triceps, and abdominals.

Other body weight exercises include:

  • Squats for quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, and calves.
  • Lunges for abdominals, back muscles, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Planks for abdominals, back and shoulders.
  • Dead bug for trunk muscles.

However, do enough repetitions to tire your muscles.

Sitting

When you spend your days at home you are likely sitting. However, sitting too much has health risks. So, avoid spending too much time sitting around watching television, using your laptop, mobile, or simply relaxing.

Also, if you are working from home, take frequent breaks and get on your feet to do chores around the house or workout. Aim to get up and move at least once every hour.

In addition, stand if you are on conference calls, take a walk around the neighborhood during your lunch break, or set reminders to get up and stretch for a few minutes several times during the day.

Munching

Staying at home, likely causes you to eat more than you would normally eat. Moreover, the snacks you munch on may not be good for your health. So, find ways, to stay actively engaged and keep your mind from thinking about food.

By the way, drinking water helps curb the urge to munch. However, if you must, eat healthy foods, such as:

  • Variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains such as healthy home-made whole-grain bread or pasta, brown rice, or oatmeal
  • Low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt
  • Low-fat proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs, or legumes.

Sleep

Finally, it is important to sleep well. Because, getting adequate sleep helps to keep your immune system healthy, which, in turn, helps your body fight the virus if you do get infected. So, do everything you can to ensure you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. And, if you start finding that difficult, increase your activities during the day. Meanwhile, cut back on time spent watching TV or using your laptop or mobile device while sitting on a couch.

Evie Nasir

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