How to keep your spirits, and fitness levels up
There is no doubt that we are living in strange, and trying times.
With the Coronavirus showing little signs of slowing down and with the world on various degrees of lockdown, it's easy to get scared and panicked by what we are seeing.
So how do we keep our forms of normality in times like this? And most importantly, how do we keep up our fitness goals while social distancing from the crowds?
The World Health Organisation have just released their tips on how to stay healthy both mentally and physically for those on quarantine around the world.
These include giving up smoking due to the fact it increases your risk of getting sick, limiting sugary drinks and alcohol, changing your position every 30 minutes if you are working from home and playing a game to take your mind off the situation.
What To Eat
While it's easy to opt for deliveries and quick snacks to chomp in front of the TV right now, what we eat will also keep us healthy meaning there's never been a more important time to focus on food as fuel.
Try and opt for immune boosting ingredients including citrus fruits, ginger, yogurt and nuts.
Over at UFIT, nutritionist Wendy Riddell has a whole host of ideas to keep your body running optimally and supporting your immune system. These include:
- Eat the Rainbow
Plants are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
This is one of the best ways to support your immune system. The more colour on your plate the better variety you will get in terms of vitamin intake, so get those pretty colours in - they are good for you.
- Drink that Water
Get in around 3 litres of water in a day - Singapore is super-hot and we sweat A LOT. Dehydration weakens the immune system as water is critical for all bodily functions.
Don't underestimate the importance of H2O!
- Drop the Sugar
Eating refined sugar can dampen our immune response for several hours after consumption.
So, avoid processed foods that are high in sugar especially sodas, processed fruit juices, candy, cookies and cakes.
- Herbs and Spices
Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne pepper, garlic and cinnamon… This list goes on.
These have so many fantastic benefits for the body's immune system.
They make your food taste good too, which is always a big plus!
You can find Zinc in a variety of food such as shellfish, legumes (Chickpeas, lentils, etc.) and red meat (consume in moderation).
Zinc is a great way of boosting our immune system, and if you feel that you might not be consuming enough Zinc from food a Zinc supplement may help to fill the gaps.
- Happy Gut, Happy Immune System
A healthy gut microbe is very important for multiple reasons, with the immune system being one. We need to get the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut.
Probiotics are key to this.
You can take probiotic capsules, but we can also get probiotics from fermented food. Some foods you can try are, Kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, cheese and kombucha.
Nutrition "Cheat Sheet" for Immune System Support
UFIT Nutritionist Pamela Ibarra also provides a handy list that we can easily refer to help support our immune system:
- Avoid very low-calorie intake: Your body needs energy to keep your defensive system working effectively
- Eat enough protein: Aim to get at least 30g in each meal
- Fruits and/or vegetables every-single-day, every-single-meal.
- Avoid micronutrient deficiencies, it's okay to supplement with a multivitamin.
- Take a daily probiotic. Seriously, if you don't, start now.
- Get your daily D vitamin from sun exposure or supplementation.
- Prioritise sleep! 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep a day keeps the doctor away.
- Don't over-train and if you have long training sessions planned, make sure you fuel with an appropriate amount of carbohydrates.
- Eat well and rehydrate after workouts.
- Avoid binge drinking
- Manage your stress levels and avoid being too stressed out
So that's the food covered.
How do we stay fit physically during this time?
Well, there is no evidence saying that we can't go to gyms at this time, especially during non-peak hours and most gyms have stepped up their screening and cleaning to ensure everyone's safety.
But, if heading down to the gym doesn't quite do it for you at the moment, there are many ways you can still stay fit from the comfort of your own home.
Most of us will have heard of Kala Itsines' fitness app, SWEAT.
The paid for subscription has four workout programmes, all designed to give you your best body.
Great added extras include a community area (there's one in Asia) where you can talk to your fellow SWEAT devotees and low-carb, high taste recipes.
There's also the ability to link it to your iphone to track your progress and send you reminders.
Then there's the Be.come project devised by fitness influencer, Bethany C. Meyers which takes a 'love yourself' approach to working out.
Available for all levels, each routine changes weekly and is designed to be done each day.
8Fit will help you keep track of your goals even if you are stuck in the house thanks to its super customisable format which will help you log your nutrition and workout plans.
HIIT Workouts by Daily Burn is one of the most popular workout streaming services and it's not hard to see why.
Thanks to the app you can follow your favourite trainers and do 10,20 and 30 minutes of high intensity interval training all from the comfort of your own home.
What's more, there's even audio cues to help you maintain good form while you workout.
More of a yoga lover, well yoga.com has over 300 poses with detailed videos and instructions for you.
Such a great title for today's times, You Are Your Own Gym, is perfect for anyone at SAHN that doesn't have access to weights etc.
Designed to help you make use of your own bodyweight, it features 200 videos to help you keep fit using just your own bodyweight.
Over at UFIT, they have a state of the art platform that combines their trainers, nutritionists and physiotherapists to track progress remotely.
What's even better about this system is that each set of advice is totally bespoke to you and works directly with your goals and lifestyle.
It gives you access to their 45 personal trainers, 16 physios and 4 nutritionists.
Anyone who is interested in personal training also gets a free health consultation to start you on your road to fitness.
It's not just the outside we need to work on, keeping our spirits up has never been more important than during this trying time.
The WHO recommend avoiding news sites for those who have been suffering from anxiety and solely relying on subscribing to daily updates from individual governments for news.
Mental Health Europe also recommends setting limits around the topic and limiting the amount of time you talk about it daily.
Deborah Serani PsyD of Adelphi University recommends keeping to as much of a routine as possible.
"Studies in resiliency during traumatic events encourage keeping a routine to your day. This means eating meals at regular times, sleeping, waking and exercising at set times, and maintaining social (socially distant) contact. Unstructured time can create boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression, which can lead to unhealthy patterns of coping" she explains.
Research has also found that meditation, or guided breathing, can also be affective in keeping you from getting overwhelmed by the global situation.
Headspace and Calm are two apps that will slowly guide you into the world of calm, guided breathing.
Although it might be easy to think the world will never be the same, Mental Health Europe encourages people to focus on things that are positive in our life regardless of the pandemic and look to the future and all the good things that lie ahead.
Staying connected with friends and loved ones has never been more important, or easier than at this time.
With people all in one place currently, experts suggest setting up regular check-in times to help you feel connected to the outside world.
And if you do find yourself facing a panic attack, Anxiety UK suggests using the 'Apple' technique:
- Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
- Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.
- Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
- Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
- Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.
For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.
This article was first published in BLLNR.