As COVID-19 continues to make an impact across the globe, we find ourselves living very different lives than we did a year ago. To limit the impact of the virus, we now have stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols. As a result, we are no longer able to get out of the house as often as in the past.
Changing to a more sedentary lifestyle can lead many people to gain unwanted weight. However, we are here to tell you that just because you cannot go out into the world like you used to doesn’t mean that you can’t live a happy and healthy life. Let’s look at the importance of staying in shape and how to do so while social distancing.
The Importance of Staying Healthy
No matter what is going on in the world, it is important that our health stays a priority. When we stop making healthy food choices and become sedentary, we face the risk of becoming obese. Some 93 million Americans are considered obese, and by adding on unneeded fat, we could face many negative side effects.
Most of us have heard of the common chronic health conditions associated with obesity: high blood pressure, diabetes, and an increased chance of stroke. There are also lesser-known conditions associated with excessive weight gain including asthma, arthritis, and kidney disease. When someone puts on additional weight, it can add strain to the vascular system and also lead to vein disease. This condition can create spider veins and, if left untreated, it can be life-threatening.
You want to avoid putting on excessive amounts of weight because it can be difficult to lose the pounds once you have them. It is crucial that you practice preventive health so you can live your healthiest life. Preventive care means visiting your doctor for regular checkups, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting some form of activity on a weekly basis.
The Connection Between Stress and Eating
No matter who you are or what you do, the coronavirus is probably having a negative effect on your life. You could be out of work, missing out on your favorite sports, or just feeling lonely due to the fact that you can’t see friends. Whatever the case, it is important to be proactive to avoid feelings of stress, loneliness, and depression.
Stress can lead to weight gain in multiple ways. For one, when you stress out, you release a hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream. The more cortisol you have in your system, the slower your metabolism works, so even if you don’t eat a lot of bad food, you will still have trouble burning what you have. Increased levels of cortisol are also responsible for the emotional eating associated with stress. When you are stressed out, many will often forgo their health plan and instead go for something quicker like fast food.
It is important that you find a way to deal with your stress. While you are social distancing, you may not be able to relax at the park, but you do have other options. At home, you can clear your mind by reading your favorite book or writing some of your thoughts and feelings down in a journal. You can also watch a yoga video and try some relaxing stretches. Finally, remember to get your recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Another way to avoid stress is to engage in a healthy diet. Many whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates that lead to increased serotonin production. This will help to stabilize your blood pressure. Eating nuts and seeds can help to reduce stress hormones by injecting your body with Omega-3 fatty acids which can protect against depression. Take the time to plan out healthy meals. Reducing stress and eating right are big steps for avoiding weight gain during these strange times.
Staying Fit at Home
Many depend on going to the gym to get their exercise, but social distancing and lockdown protocols have made gyms a no-go. Just because you are advised against leaving the house, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still get the exercise you need to fight weight gain, however. In the past, we have discussed a great nine-minute workout that you can do in your living room, which involves several quick cardio moves that are fun and engaging, but that is just the start.
You may not have a lot of workout equipment at home, but if you have a mat, you can work on your midsection with crunches, pushups, and planks. For cardio, you can do jumping jacks and knee-high jogging, or you can go out for a run around the neighborhood as long as you keep your distance. If you have free weights at home, you can work on your strength with chest presses, hammer curls, and one-arm rows.
When you set up your home workout routine, set goals that you want to reach, whether that is to run a certain number of miles or just to work out at least three times per week. Keep track of your progress on a whiteboard. Seeing it in front of you is a great reminder that will keep you motivated.
We are living in very unique times right now, but it is important to make the best of it. Doing so will keep you in good spirits and help to keep off that unwanted weight in the process.