Worried about Coronavirus? Feeling a bit flabbier, more unfit? Try these 7 ways to stay healthy in lockdown!
By Chere Di Boscio
There can be little doubt that many people are living in fear for their health. Much of that fear is ungrounded – according to the Lancet, the fatality rate from COVID-19 is not as high as experts have predicted, or have even reported. The Lancet states that the fatality of COVID-19 cases is estimated to be 1.38%, while the overall rate, which includes estimated unconfirmed cases, is calculated at .66%.
In other words, you’re far more likely to die in a car crash than from Coronavirus.
Nonetheless, the reality is that due to lockdowns, people’s health is declining. They’re not exposed as much to Vitamin D, essential for building immunity, in countries where people aren’t allowed out to exercise, like Peru. They’re also not exercising as much, and of course, hearing exaggerated, fear-inducing newscasters round the clock does nothing good for stress levels.
So what are the best ways to stay healthy in lockdown?
7 Ways To Stay Healthy In Lockdown
1. Stick to a routine
When you’re at home, whether you are working or not, it’s important to create a routine.
- Dr Falconer recommends trying to get up and go to bed at the same time every day, aiming for 7–9 hours of sleep per night.
- She also advises scheduling in lunch breaks, movement breaks, and time for relaxation.
If you’re not considered an ‘essential worker’ and have been stuck at home with not much to do all day, it’s so easy to slip out of our routines. So do ensure you continue to get up at the same time, get dressed for the day, and eat normal meals at the usual times. Structure is good for us both mentally and physically.
2. Get enough exercise
If you’re ‘allowed’ to get outside, do so! Go for a long walk, a jog, or play a sport in your local park. If your lockdown is particularly strict and you are still under ‘medical house arrest,’ then now is the time to learn how to do a home workout! Exercise not only clears the mind and strengthens the body, but it helps to manage anxiety and stress levels.
Dr Falconer recommends the following:
- Try online videos like HIIT, yoga, Pilates or Barre.
- Dust down that exercise bike in your garage or the treadmill that is currently serving as a clothes horse.
- Try some squats, lunges or planks when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.
- If you have a garden or patio, get moving outside.
- Get up at least once an hour to move.
If you are not permitted to go outside or don’t feel comfortable doing so, purchase a skipping rope or a trampette, or invest in other exercise equipment if this appeals to you. Just remember that doing some activity every day is one of the best things you can do on lockdown.
Many people have already noticed weight gain creeping in, as well as a general loss of their fitness level. Don’t be one of them!
3. Eat well
This is fundamental to your wellbeing. We would suggest home cooking as many of your meals as possible from fresh, organic ingredients. And if you’re worried about your health, why not focus on creating some tasty, immunity boosting dishes, like these?
Dr Falconer recommends you do the following:
- Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to make sure you’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals. Fresh, frozen, dried and tinned options all count.
- Have regular meals and stick to healthy options such as fruit, a small handful of unsalted nuts and seeds for snacking.
- Take a daily supplement of Vitamin D (10 micrograms). This is usually recommended in the winter months but as we are all indoors more, consider taking this for the next few months too.
4. Don’t put off health checkups or emergencies
In some countries, general doctors, dentists and opticians are not permitted to work. But that being said, if you’re feeling unwell, it’s essential seek some medical help.
Don’t be afraid to hit the emergency room if you feel you need to see a doctor: many hospitals are reporting that accident and emergency centres are quieter than they’ve ever been. And yet many people with genuine emergencies are often avoiding seeking the help they need due to fear of the virus.
If you have a less pressing concern but are afraid to go to A&E, consider calling or emailing your doctor’s surgery, in many cases, they can diagnose over the phone or even by looking at photos attached to email. Your doctor can also send any necessary medication directly to your local pharmacy for you to pick up.
If you have regular medication you need, don’t neglect to take it as prescribed! Companies like Simple Online Pharmacy offer repeat NHS prescription services that can be delivered right to your door, so there’s no need to even go to the chemist.
This could be particularly useful if you’re in a vulnerable shielded group, or are unable to leave the house because you’re self isolating.
5. Control stress
We all know that stress is a killer, but it is insidious. It just creeps up on us! It’s really hard to avoid anxiety about COVID 19 when there are pop-ups about it all over YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and of course, when it’s all over the news.
The best solution? Turn off the TV and avoid your computer!
But if you do find yourself still feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, try:
- going out in nature
- doing some deep breathing exercises
- calling a friend and have a laugh and a chat
- taking a long, hot bath
Do whatever it takes to help you unwind and find a centre of relaxation and peace.
6. Get some sunshine
This is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy in lockdown! As mentioned above, sunshine not only makes us more relaxed and happier, but it’s a huge contributor to supplying your body with the natural Vitamin D it needs to stay healthy.
Just 15 minutes of unprotected (i.e. no sunblock) exposure a day is all it takes to give your system a major immunity boost!
7. Sleep well
For me, this is one of the most important ways to stay healthy in lockdown! If I miss even one night’s sleep, I feel grumpy, run down, and am unwilling to eat well or exercise. And it makes sense: according to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
To ensure you get a deeply restful sleep, try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and follow these tips!
8. Spend time in nature
Dr Falconer things it’s really important to take time to be in nature. If you can, go outside. Even in a city, you’ll find some nature: birds, trees, flowers. If you can’t go outside, at least spend time looking out your window. Dr Falconer recommends taking a minimum of five minutes daily to notice five different aspects of nature, even if you’re locked inside.
For example, you could:
- look at your house plants
- observe the cloud patterns in the sky
- listen to birds singing or the sound of rainfall outside
- feel the warmth of the sun shining onto your skin
- smell the scent of your house plants or herbs on the windowsill
What tips do you have for us to ways to stay healthy in lockdown? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section, below!