How to stay fit and healthy during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

 

There is a direct relationship between your diet, physical activity, and health. Your nutrition is a key player when it comes to physical, mental, and social well-being. And it’s important for preventing disease.

 

Lifestyle factors may also determine if you’re going to get sick or remain healthy. One of those factors is physical activity (PA). A sedentary lifestyle is usually associated with an increased risk for chronic disease, loss of movement, and decreased immune health. For these reasons, physical activity and movement are extremely important during the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, this article will cover the benefits of PA, where your focus should be, how to think about exercising, equipment, how much you should be doing, and much more.

 

Who are at risk?

  • Older adults (age 65 and older).

  • Those with chronic disease (diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease).

  • Those with compromised immune systems.

Benefits

Physically active individuals usually live longer than those who are inactive or may have a risk of heart disease. Inactivity is an important risk factor similar to high blood pressure, smoking, or high cholesterol. These are some benefits of exercise:

  • Stress and anxiety relief: Stress and anxiety are rising with the current pandemic, and it can lower your immune response. Exercising releases chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin and endorphins which can help improve your mood, reduce the risk of depression and cognitive decline, and delay onset of dementia.

  • Immune support: Regular PA helps your immune system function.

  • Weight management: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that regular PA paired with a balanced nutritious diet helps with weight management. Excess weight is associated with higher health risks.

  • Reduces health risks and prevents diseases: Regular PA reduces blood pressure as well as risks of serious health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke when it’s paired with a balanced nutritious diet.

  • Bone, muscles, balance, and flexibility: PA also improves bone and muscle strength, and increases balance and flexibility. This is important for everyone, especially older adults because these can prevent falls and injuries. As for children, it aids with growth and development and sets healthy habits for the future.

  • For children, PA can lessen behavioral issues such as ADHD and help with concentration during schoolwork which is important now that they’re at home all the time.

Steps to start being physically active at home:

Focus on weaknesses

As a general rule, you always want to have an intention before starting a workout routine or program. This pinpoints what you’re not good at, and therefore what you are trying to improve. Below is a summary of a few abilities that people at home, both young and older populations, should focus on.

Go through them and analyze which ones you excel at, which ones you are moderate at, and which ones you lack the most. You could start working on the latter, and progressively move towards the rest. This doesn’t mean when you’re working on one, you’re completely ignoring the rest, but rather is a tool to have a specific intent with your PA.

  • Strength and core strength: This is the amount of force a muscle can produce against some form of resistance. This resistance can come from external objects or your body weight. Your core is a set of muscles that play a key role in many movement patterns. Improving core strength may improve motion.

  • Aerobic capacity and endurance: This is the ability of your heart and lungs to get oxygen to your muscles for their use.

  • Flexibility, Mobility, and Stability: Flexibility is the capacity of moving through your full active and passive range of motion. Mobility is moving your joints and muscles properly in an active manner through their range of motion (ROM). Stability is maintaining control of the position and movement of your joints. People usually lack mobility and stability in their joints and lose overall movement.

  • Balance and coordination: Balance is the ability to stay in control of your body’s movement and coordination is being able to move two or more body parts with control.

How much exercise a week?

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following on the amount of PA people should do.

 

Infants under the age of 1 year: Should be physically active a few times a day.

Children under 5 years of age: Need moderate to vigorous activity, 180 minutes a day.

Children and adolescents 5-17 years of age: Need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA, including strength activities, at least 3 days a week.

Adults over age 18: Need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity PA throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity PA throughout the week.

That said, start wherever and whenever you can. Some PA is better than none.

 

How to include exercise in your day

 

Here are some ideas that have worked when trying to set up new habits.

 

Schedule a block during the day for your workout routine: If it’s not on the schedule, it doesn’t exist.

Every hour on the hour alarm: Every hour on the hour perform a certain amount of reps of any given exercise.

 

Pay for stuff with some reps: Before taking a shower or before watching a movie on NETFLIX, pay for it with a certain amount of reps of any given exercise.

Go outside: Going outside is a great tool to start implementing PA in your life. Of course, stay safe and practice physical distancing. Carrying a hand sanitizer with you can be helpful as well. I usually use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

 

I hope this article provided you with some value during this crazy time. And I hope you can take some of the ideas and concepts I shared and implement them in your life. 

 

Here’s to our health and strength.

 

References:

Retrieved from:  https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2_m_i8qF6gIVgiQrCh1TPga1EAAYASAAEgI8x_D_BwE 15 June 2020

 

Retrieved from: https://nutrition.org/how-to-stay-fit-and-healthy-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/ 16 June 2020

 

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