How to Stay Healthy During COVID: 5 Good Health Habits
Physical exercising is not the sole basis of being healthy. Being healthy is a lifestyle which includes healthy eating habits, moderate exercising, maintaining good hygiene habits, and staying mentally and emotionally fit.
COVID-19 lockdown has changed our lives and routines to a degree where it’s becoming more and more challenging to adhere to healthy lifestyle habits.
We try to minimize exposure by staying at home which oftentimes results in sprawling on the couch, watching TV, drinking alcohol, and eating junk food. In this perfect illusionary world that are creating in the comfort of our own couches, there is no coronavirus, no social distancing, no feeling of insecurity, and no need to think about how to stay healthy during COVID-19.
But have you thought about the long-term consequences of such lifestyle?
Obesity, heart disease, poor blood circulation, hormonal imbalance, loss of muscle strength and endurance, depression – the list goes on and on…Because no matter how calming it may SEEM, the truth is: unhealthy habits have detrimental consequences on your health, and the lockdown is not a good excuse to stop caring about your health.
The study on sedentary lifestyle published by International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity suggests that adults who adhere to a passive lifestyle have anxiety symptoms, loneliness, stress, low self-esteem, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
If this sounds like enough reasons to comply with good health habits, let’s consider the things you can do to get yourself out of that self-destructive swamp. Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 lockdown.
1. Stay ActiveGyms have started re-opening these days, and most of them follow the social distancing rules by placing the exercise equipment 6 feet apart. Lightweight face masks like cloth or 3 Ply disposable masks can serve as a good protective tool in the crowded places like gyms and provide you with sufficient comfort for exercising. And if you’d like to know how safe it is to work out in a mask, you can read Exercising with a Mask and Going to the Gym During COVID-19: What You Need to Know published on our blog.
Going for a brisk walk or jogging can be a good alternative to exercising in a gym and are considered relatively safe. Combining them with push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping-jacks can also be a good idea in terms of keeping your muscles toned. So, be it a gym or an online workout session – anything will work as long as you stay active.
2. Maintain Proper Hand Hygiene
Washing hands may seem like a very obvious preventive measure, but it cannot be underestimated. Should you ask a hospital worker “How to stay healthy during COVID-19?”, the first thing you’ll probably hear is “wash your hands often”. Here are a few facts about washing hands that might be interesting for you:
- 95% of people don’t wash their hands very well. Researchers from Michigan State University camped out in public restrooms and found that only 5% of people washed their hands properly;
- According to CDC, you should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. That’s how much time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice;
- A 2008 study shows that hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infection by 21%, which means the chance of contracting the coronavirus is reduced as well;
- Experts say that the hardest protective measure to follow is not to touch your face. A 2015 study observed students at the University of New South Wales, and came to find out that each of them touched their face 23 times per hour on average.
It is crucial to avoid face touching, since germs like COVID-19 can get into the body though the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. And if your hands are contaminated, the virus can be easily transferred while you rub your eyes, scratch your nose or ears.
Sometimes soap and water aren’t available. In this case, the best thing to substitute them is 60% alcohol hand sanitizer.
3. Sleep at Least 8 Hours per Day
COVID-19 has definitely given us a lot of reasons to have insomnia, which these days has become known as “coronasomnia” – the insomnia associated with the stress and anxiety due to the coronavirus.
Good sleep is crucial for our immune system. When we are deprived of sleep, it increases the levels of many inflammatory mediators and infections like COVID-19, which in turn affect the amount and patterns of sleep. In short: sleep deprivation may decrease the ability of the immune system to resist the coronavirus.
So, how to stay healthy during COVID-19 if you have insomnia? This is something that will not come to you on its own, you should work on it by practicing mindfulness and awareness. But here a few sleep tips for you:
- Don’t stay up late watching TV or scanning the Facebook or Instagram posts. Our brain is not capable of handling huge amounts of information from news and social media;
- Don’t use your bedroom as your office if you work from home, as it is important to train your brain that you rest, not work in this place;
- Don’t keep any screens in the bedroom, as blue light from gadgets will prevent your brain from producing melatonin (a hormone responsible for sleep);
- Go easy on alcohol, as yes, it can help you fall asleep, but not necessarily stay in a deep sleep.
- Meditate. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the patients suffering from chronic pain and depression were reported to have 3.7 points (on a 27-point scale) depression drop due to meditation routines.
These are just a few examples of good health habits that can help you fight against the coronasomnia. And even though, most people prefer an extra glass of wine or sleeping pills which worsens their medical condition, try to be one of few who don’t!
4. Adhere to Healthy Diet and Nutrition
Stress related to COVID-19 causes drastic changes in our eating habits, as instead of eating healthy food, most people plunge into “emotional eating”.
The study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that during the lockdown period, emotional eating was reported by more than half of the population of Norway. The individuals concerned about potential consequences of COVID-19 on personal economy and job security are the ones suffering from emotional eating disorder most.
Eating unhealthy foods lowers down the efficiency of your body protective mechanism called the immune system and enhances the risk of contracting COVID-19. That’s why it’s important to eat nutritious foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, animal source of protein, and whole grains. Healthy food is rich in vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining your physical wellbeing.
5. Always Wear Your Face Mask
The efficacy of wearing masks has been supported by several strands of evidence. One of them is based on an experiment showing that hundreds of droplets from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated while participants were saying simple phrases. But when the mouth was covered with a piece of cloth, nearly all of these droplets were blocked.
It is important to find a mask that provides a high level of protection, such as 3M Aura Masks N95, 3M VFlex 9105 masks, and KN95 masks for sale, as these types provide 95% filtration efficiency, are NIOSH-approved and FDA-registered.
Remember, it is crucially important to stay positive during these times of hardship. There is a direct correlation between getting sick and having negative thinking pattern: when we stress, we get sick.
In conclusion, if you want to know how to stay healthy during COVID-19, consider this: these may not be the best and most cheerful times ever, but this is just the right time for emotional, mental, and spiritual transformation. So, use this time to develop healthy lifestyle habits, new, better routines, and a new, better, and more positive YOU!