COVID-19

Exercising and eating right when "locked down"

April 3, 2020

How to eat right and exercise when "sheltering in place".

How to exercise when ‘sheltering in place’

Many states and local governments have issued various stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Additionally, gyms and other workout facilities are likely to be closed in your area. This makes your usual ways of exercising difficult.

There are ways to maintain an exercise routine at home. Exercise is important not only for your physical health, but also for your mental health and your ability to deal with stress during these uncertain times.

Outdoor walking is a great way to change your scenery and get some fresh air while improving cardiovascular health. Walking with pets or a family member can also reduce stress and improve the well-being of those close to you. It is still recommended that you maintain a 6-foot distance from others, even while outside. Avoid trails or other areas where it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance.

Many yoga and other exercise studios are offering online classes, sometimes for free, that you can perform in your home. If you are a member of a studio or gym, contact the facility or check out its website to see if it’s offering online classes that you can do from home. There are also many free online exercise programs offered through media platforms that you can stream through your TV or other devices.

Now that it’s spring, make the most of your time at home by preparing flower beds and gardens.

As always, you should check with your doctor before you begin any strenuous exercise program.

How to eat right when ‘sheltering in place’

Similar to exercise, eating right is also important for both your physical and your mental health. And while many of us were adhering to certain ways of eating prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, those ways may have become more difficult or impossible in the current environment.

Healthy eating pattern recommendations during a pandemic are the same as those for non-pandemic times. Healthy eating is good for your immune system and can help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.

Key recommendations for health eating include:

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits, grains (at least half of which are whole grains)
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Protein foods (seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes)
  • Oils.

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated and trans fats (less than 10% of calories per day)
  • Added sugars (less than 10% of calories per day)
  • Sodium (less than 2,300 milligrams per day – about one teaspoon of salt)
  • If you drink alcohol, limit it to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to not drink at all if you are under the legal drinking age; pregnant or may become pregnant; have health conditions that could be made worse by drinking; or driving or doing something else that could be dangerous with alcohol. If you are taking prescription medicine, check with your doctor to see if it’s safe to drink alcohol.

Meal planning can be a great way to ensure that your family eats healthy. By planning meals in advance, your family can better prepare for cooking with available ingredients and reduce food waste. Also, preparing and cooking meals as a family can provide an engaging activity when social distancing.