The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled all of us to face a huge amount of uncertainty in continuing our daily routines. In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, staying at home has become the norm these days and it has heavily reduced our overall mobility. In addition, closures of gyms, fitness studios, parks, and other public places are leading to reduced physical activities that are triggering lots of health issues like increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, among others.
And if you’re working from home now, you may find that you’re sitting for much longer periods than you normally do, which is also one of the key reasons for many medical conditions. These often include neck tension, abnormal cholesterol levels, back pain, etc.
All these have made staying healthy and physically active even more important during the pandemic. With that in mind, we decided to come up with this post about five simple yet highly beneficial ways that would help you maintain optimal health.
Top 5 ways to maintain overall health
While under normal circumstances, regular exercising is always advisable for everyone, during the pandemic, it has become particularly crucial due to some key reasons. The first and foremost is regular exercise improves the functionalities of our immune system which may help us fight off infections. Secondly, exercise is a proven and well-known mood-booster that can help adults to develop emotional resilience and lower stress levels. Try these ways to continue doing physical activities even when following the social distancing guidelines.
- Eat but wisely
One of the biggest negative aspects of staying at home is that we tend to eat a lot of unhealthy foods like fatty and sugary items that can contribute to poor mental health and weight gain. If you’ve to eat junk foods, make sure to mix healthy items with them. For instance, you can incorporate veggies and fruits into each meal. These low-calorie and high-fiber foods also offer lots of germ-fighting potentials, which is one of the key factors that would help you stay healthy during the pandemic. You should also focus on eating foods having immune-boosting properties. For example, vitamin A, which is available in spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc, can ward off infection. Strawberries, red bell peppers, citrus fruits (like tangerines, oranges, etc) contain vitamin C that stimulates the development of antibodies to safeguard you from infection.
- Maintain proper posture while working
Did you know that apart from poor circulation, soreness, lower back pain, etc, bad posture can trigger negative mood? Unfortunately, many of us struggle with maintaining good posture in the workplaces and that makes it even harder to practice while working at home. You can adjust your workstation slightly to prevent musculoskeletal issues, eye strain, and mental fatigue. Make sure that the top of the monitor remains at your eye level. It’s also important to keep your thighs and arms parallel to the floor while sitting. To support your back properly, a pillow or folded towel can be used, if required. Try to keep your wrists relaxed and straight when keeping the fingers in the middle row of your keyboard. In addition to these, make sure to work in a clutter-free area, which will help you maintain overall wellbeing and stay in a positive mood.
- Exercise outdoors but follow social distancing guidelines
If your local authorities allow it, try to get outside and involve in some physical activities. And if you’re thinking of doing them with some friends, there’re lots of activities that allow for maintaining at least six feet of space between each other – think of tennis, hiking, biking, etc. It’ll help you steer clear of the boredom, anxiety, and stress that generally arise from being indoors all the time. However, there’re certain things that we want to remind you of. If you’re planning for a bike ride, be sure to avoid high-risk areas because now is the time when we must consider safety with the highest priority. If you haven’t gone for running in a while, you should ease into it gently to familiarize yourself with the old intensity. And finally, if you’re participating in a group activity, save your high-fives for another day and do your best to avoid direct contact.
- Exercise at home
Physical activity not only improves your overall health but releases endorphins that reduce stress and improve your mood. Therefore, don’t let gym and fitness studio closures stop your workouts. Simply make a list of 4 to 6 exercises that you’d be doing for 30 to 60 seconds with one-minute rests in between. Some easy yet effective exercises include jumping jacks, squat thrusts, sit-ups/crunches, body weight squats, push-ups, among others. If you’ve got access to elastic exercise bands, resistance-based options can be added to them too. However, it’s important to start slow and easy, especially if you haven’t tried these exercises before. Try to do these activities for 30 minutes in total a day for 5 days each week. It’ll help you reach the recommended minimum time of 150 minutes of physical activities each week. There’re lots of fitness apps available that can help you follow an effective at-home exercise regimen. Here’s a good collection of workout apps that are worth taking a look at.
- Do yoga
Yoga is something that can be done anywhere and practically without any gears. Just grab a mat or some clean space on the floor, wear comfortable attire, and start following a program if you’re new to it. Again, we’ve searched the internet to find out resources for yoga. You can check this website, these apps, and of course YouTube to get started. Choose any of these suits your preferred intensity and skill level, and set out to attain good health.
Whatever physical activity you choose to follow to maintain health, try to stay connected with your teammates and friends through appropriate channels. Be sure to share your thoughts about this pandemic and hopes for normalcy to return as soon as safely possible. And if you’re experiencing loneliness, remember that we’re all in this situation together, so none of us are actually alone.