Due to COVID-19, many of us are confined indoors, only leaving home for quick and cautious trips to the grocery store. For most of us, couches, kitchen tables, and any other quiet nook in our homes have become our offices. We have increased our sitting, snacking, and we are spending more time indoors. It can feel hard to maintain the healthy habits that were worked into our regular routines, but there is no reason to despair! Here are ways to keep yourself on track with your fitness goals.
Adopt Healthy Eating
Depending on your level of activity, your body requires a certain number of calories. These are burned by the body during physical activity. When your healthy habits change, so do the number of calories your body requires. On average, a grown woman needs 1,900 to 2,200 calories per day and the average man between 2,300 and 2,700. If you were to look at the requirements of those who part take in strenuous physical activity, it would be more, and those with a more sedentary lifestyle would require less. It is safe to agree the majority of us are in the sedentary category right now. Consider reducing your caloric intake by 200 to 300 calories to balance things out. Use caution, though. If you are already on a reduced-calorie diet, do not go even lower. You may end up doing more harm than good.
Healthy Cooking with Vitamins
Your body needs vitamins and minerals, but there are two that we all could use a little bit more in our health habits. Vitamin C alone cannot protect you against COVID-19, but it will give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off nasty viruses and bacteria. To add more vitamin C into your diet add fresh fruit and vegetables as many are coming into season. Add to your plates: apricots, pineapples, avocadoes, rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus. Vitamin D is also essential for our immune systems, and most of us were getting our fix through the time we spent outdoors. Sit by a window to work, drink your morning coffee on the balcony or take this time to do all the yard work you have been putting off. You can also add vitamin D to your diet by eating foods like avocados or mushrooms.
The Curse of Being Overinformed
Until now, the opportunity to be glued to the news may not have been an option with regular workplace distractions. It is time to add a new healthy habit to your day that you may not have needed before: stop overconsuming the news. The stress and fear that may stem from continually reading and hearing about how dire things may be can have impacts on your wellbeing. Keep it to one, maybe two news sources to stay appropriately informed and then spend the rest of your day partaking in activities that make you feel good.
Be Your Very Own Personal Chef
We are not eating out as often as we were before, and those multiple trips to pick up coffee throughout the workday have disappeared. These could be considered positive changes to our health habits. Take this as an opportunity to make further adaptions by forgoing the premade freezer meals at the grocery store and experiment with cooking from scratch at home. This will reduce the number of additives and preservatives you consume. If you find yourself struggling with meal inspiration, try a meal service like Fresh Prep. This Vancouver-based company delivers delicious, perfectly portioned recipes and all the ingredients right to your door!
Active & Healthy Homebodies
We have all agreed that our lifestyles have become a little more sedentary than before. We used to dread having to get to the gym after a long day at work. We are now longing for the chance to get there. Keep yourself moving by getting up to stretch and walk around every 30-minutes or even makeshift a standing desk set up. If you are looking for something more active and are not one of the lucky few with all the necessary equipment at home, try working out using things you have at home. If you need more weight, squat your laundry basket, wear a heavy backpack or lift heavy objects like a bag of rice or potatoes. If you like to have a coach to follow along with tune in to an online class, like the ones Orange Theory has been sharing.
Stop the Snack Attack
We have heard the jokes around quarantine snacks and eating them all in the first few days. A snack is not inherently wrong, we all deserve a treat sometimes, but it is easy to go overboard. Avoid boredom snacking by calling a friend when the feeling hits. When you need a tasty treat for your snack, opt for nuts or berries. Change up your snack game with vegan jerky, like from Canadian brand Noble Jerky.
Now that we are spending all our time at home, it can be tempting to stay in bed longer and start our workdays later. This can make a mess of a crucial health habit, your sleep schedule. Maintain your regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
A healthy immune system needs rest. If your natural sleep schedule involved going to be late, it is time to change that and hit the hay a little earlier. Check out SleepCountry Canada‘s selection of non-toxic ‘bed-in-box’ options.
Stressful but not Hopeless
While these are stressful times full of fast changes, there is no need to despair. It may feel like it is impossible to keep up with the healthy habits you had in place before, but with only a few small alterations, they quickly become possible! With a little work, a few adaptions and continued positivity, you can come out of this time of social distancing and quarantine feeling good, or even better than before!
- Mona Butler is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, BC.
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