The past few weeks, the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) has spread throughout the globe and has forced many of us to stay at home to help quell the escalation of cases.
There’s a lot we’ve learned about this virus, but there’s also a lot we don’t know. I have been receiving so many inquiries this past week, and the most common question I get is, “how do I stay healthy during this pandemic?”
With that in mind, I’ve compiled my top tips on how to stay healthy in mind and body during this scary time.
#1. Keep Moving
Being quarantined indoors at home, one of the biggest concerns I have is that people are not moving enough. The human body is made to move, and being too stagnant can lead to some serious health issues. Gyms are closed at the moment, but there are so many home exercises—like crunches, push-ups, planks, squats, burpees, and mountain climbers—that you can do with just a little space. Also, just getting up every so often to walk around, do household chores, or simple stretches can help with increasing blood flow, improving concentration, enhancing immunity, and lowering anxiety. So, any amount of physical movement you can fit in your day really helps. Just note, keep moving, but please do stay at home.
#2. Eat Nutritiously
Food is fuel for our bodies. The best way to fend off sickness is to make sure our bodies are strong enough to do so. How do we do that? We give our bodies the best fuel it can take—lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats. I understand finding nutritious food can be difficult nowadays, so instead of suggesting specific items to buy, I’m recommending you try to have a balanced diet as much as you can, while avoiding inflammatory foods like the plague (or the coronavirus!). Highly inflammatory foods include those high in sugar, saturated fat, and preservatives. Before you stock up again, take inventory of what you already have, and then plan around these items to create meals consisting of a nutritious starch, protein and produce. Also, it’s important to drink enough water daily to keep you well hydrated.
#3. Stay Clean
Keep both yourselves and your surroundings clean. Like many respiratory viruses, including flu, COVID-19 primarily spreads by tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they cough. The CDC, the World Health Organization and other health authorities have emphasized that both washing one’s hands and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily are key in preventing the spread of this virus. One study finds that the virus can survive on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours. In order to prevent catching and spreading the virus, we must be extra vigilant about cleanliness. One way to get your workout in is to scrub your home clean every day—even a few times a day if you like!
#4. Keep a Routine
Staying at home, with work at a halt, and facing this virus scare can be quite overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. With this in mind, it’s very important for your sanity to maintain a regular routine. It is very easy to mess up your sleep and eating schedule in this situation, and that can have an adverse effect on your state of mind. Have a schedule and a to-do list, even if it’s a loose one just to make sure you stay productive and motivated. If you find yourself bored or disoriented, I highly encourage you to take this time to do a new project, complete a task that you didn’t have time for before, or learn a new skill. For example, I’m finally reading the books I’ve been meaning to read, and I’m finally committing to a strict intermittent fasting diet, which my previously intense schedule didn’t allow me to do. This pandemic may have turned our lives upside down, but it doesn’t have to stop it from moving forward.
#5. Accept and Be Grateful
Our physical health is one thing we need to watch out for, but our mental health is equally important. This is an extremely stressful situation for all. Stress causes our bodies to produce a stress hormone called cortisol, and cortisol causes inflammation. Inflammation hurts and lowers our immunity which makes us more susceptible to illness. Stress and anxiety often stem from us trying to control what we can’t, which is why I recommend that the best thing you can do for your sanity is to accept that this is happening and to be grateful for what we have. Instead of dwelling in a state of indecision, panic, or misery, accept this virus is here and it’s hurting people. That provides some sort of clarity which can allow you to use that focus to do the things you can control or have the ability to do, like take care of yourself and your loved ones, and perhaps if you are in the position to do so, help others who are not as fortunate as you during this time.
#6. Be Kind and Stay at Home!
We are all in this together. This virus knows no age, race or nationality. We are all vulnerable, and the only way we all get through this is to be kind to each other. The ultimate act of kindness right now is to stay at home. This allows you to protect yourself from getting COVID-19, and it also prevents you from spreading it to others. It’s very easy to believe that “braving” the outdoors is heroic, but unless you are one of the frontliners like medical professionals treating infected patients, the true heroes are the ones who stay at home for the betterment of the greater good. If it hasn’t been drilled enough in your mind or someone you know, please practice and encourage social distancing.
Lastly, I know this is an immensely confusing time, so if any of you have more questions about fitness, nutrition or overall wellness, please feel free to message me on Instagram (@lahainamae) and I’ll try my best to help and provide clarity in any way I can.