During this time of uncertainty it is important to continue to stay committed to your health and wellness. COVID-19 has changed many of our daily routines in a way no one anticipated. Here are some things you can do to maintain a healthy routine and active lifestyle while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to COVID-19.
1. Set Goals!: Goals are a huge component to any successful plan. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Practice the process goals that will lead you to achieving the outcome goal. Write them down and have them in place where you will see them frequently. Enforce the goal. On a daily basis evaluate and track your progress. What will you do for achieving your goal (reward)? What happens if you don’t achieve your goal? However, don’t let one set back interfere with your focus. Determine the cause of your set back, how you can correct it, and keeping aiming for the bigger picture.
2. Structure a plan: Is it fitness related? Eating a balanced diet? Incorporating strength training or a flexibility/yoga regimen? For fitness follow the FITT principle. Frequency: How often will you exercise? Intensity: How hard/what type of effort will you use during exercise? Time: What will be the duration of each session? Type: What type of exercise will you perform?
- CDC recommendation: For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
3. Online Nutrition Tracking: One of the best free apps for online tracking of activity and calorie consumption is MyFitnessPal . It allows you to set your daily metabolic needs based on your activity level. You can track what you eat (it even breaks down the nutrients!) and what activity you perform on a daily basis. It also provides charts to view your progress.
- Stay within your macronutrients goals: fat, protein, carbohydrates
- Track your water intake- The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
- Learn new recipes using fresh foods and whole grains: https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes
- Eliminate sugary beverages and substitute a healthy alternative: sparkling water, zero sugar Powerade or Gatorade, electrolyte tabs (such as GU Energy or Nuun for hydration), fruit infused water
- Eat at regular times, choose a light, balanced and varied diet that keeps your energy levels stable and boosts your immune system.
4. Give your day purpose: Researchers agree that purpose in life increases overall well-being, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency and self-esteem and decreases the chances of depression.
- Connect with your family and friends, mend relationships, and offer support to those in need
- Volunteer in the community
- Donate unused items to your local charity
- Learning a new skill
- Pick up new material to read and limit media exposure
5. Follow health related social media pages: There are many credible sources online. Follow nationally recognized organizations and you will be sure to find some great, safe tips that will help you stay motivated. Also seek out blogs that offer healthy recipes. We know taste is important. Many will offer lower fat and sugar, reduced sodium and cholesterol recipes that are just as tasty!
6. Find virtual events: Several race organizations are now holding virtual events. Participate in a 5k or 10k, send in the results and still be eligible prizes and the race swag. This would also be a fun family activity to do!
7. Adequate sleep: Good sleep is essential to our overall health. According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the nation’s leading medical research agency: “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body's defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 years get seven or more hours of sleep per night.
We hope you continue to remain strong and healthy during these unprecedented times. Stay positive as they don’t have to be a setback to any health gains that you’ve made!