The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide in the physical, emotional, and financial sense. Being in quarantine has taken a toll on our bodies due to the sedentary nature of staying indoors and limiting gatherings. Now that infection rates have abated, and aspects of our normal lives begin to re-emerge, we may notice weight gain, loss of muscle mass, and irregular eating habits.
Getting back to our routines and incorporating more exercise in our daily activities may be the key to regaining control over our lives. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, going for walks outside can make a big difference in your weight and muscle mass. Something to keep in mind is that walking a mile versus running a mile, will burn about the same number of calories. “Any amount of activity is better than none at all” (MayoClinic). To set a routine, try scheduling exercises into your weekly agenda as you would other appointments. If you’re ready to make lifestyle change, here is what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends for most healthy adults (always check with your primary provider before starting a new exercise program).
- Aerobic activity: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
- Strength training: Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Use a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Dietary changes may be the component of weight loss that presents the most challenges for many of us. If the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine disturbed your eating schedule, work on getting back to the basics and eat 3 meals per day that include vegetables and fruit. As you begin to socialize more and eat at restaurants, refrain from fried appetizers, and choose vegetables instead, like the popular roasted brussels sprouts or caprese salad. It is encouraged to share your goals with friends and family who may join you in efforts to be healthier, they can be a source of support and accountability in your journey (MayoClinic).
For some, battling with Covid-19 infection itself may have been the toughest part of the past 2 years. If you are someone who was affected by life threatening complications and suffered long hospital stays, please be kind to yourself and your body if the aftereffects include unintentional weight gain. Similarly, if you are dealing with grief and loss, it is recommended to seek help from mental health specialists to manage behaviors that contribute to becoming a healthier version of you. Achieving physical goals is a different process for everybody, however taking the initial step to make a change is the common ingredient in the recipe for success.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.
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