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How to stay healthy during coronavirus lockdown

Readers Lounge - By Derrick Oluoch
There are a number of things you can do to remain healthy as you quarantine (Shutterstock)

During this unsettling period, it is easy to feel like there is so much that is out of your control. First off, your routines have been thrown into disarray, and the future is bleak. Not even the experts are able to give a definite time when this coronavirus upheaval is likely to pave way for normalcy.

However, other than washing your hands and practicing social distancing, there are still a number of things you can do to remain healthy during the pandemic. Here are some tips on how you can protect your wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown:

Eating healthy

According to experts, it will take about 12 to 24 months to come up with a coronavirus vaccine. While you can’t entirely eliminate the risk of contracting the virus through diet, eating healthily is linked to reduced risk of chronic illness, anxiety and depression.

The healthiest foods are the best for mental health. You can include more fruits and vegetables in your diet as you try and maintain a balanced diet during this period.

Now that you are home all the time, it is easy to find yourself constantly snacking. It could be an attempt to keep your hunger levels low, a way to prevent overeating during meal time, or just a habit born out of boredom and self-comfort.

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To help you eat healthy, alongside preparing healthier snacks, you can consider setting meal times, maybe like the one you had while at work before the quarantine. This way, it becomes easier to ensure that you are eating healthy regular meals.

Enough physical activity

Exercising is good for both our mental and physical health. Physical exercise improves mortality and morbidity.

Exercising helps reduce risks of stroke, heart disease and diabetes among other conditions by almost half. Exercising releases feel-good hormones, and is linked with good sleep, reduced stress and anxiety alongside better memory and cognition.

Your local gym being closed shouldn’t mean you cannot exercise. Now that you are confined to the house, you can make use of exercise tutorials online or tune in to physical fitness programmes.

You can engage in light cardiovascular activities as well as a bit of strengthening exercises. WHO recommends moderate movement for about 30 minutes every day.

Maintaining social connection

We need our friends the most during this pandemic. Just as diet, sleep and physical activity are important to our health, social connection is equally vital to our wellbeing.

As you uphold social distancing regulations, make maximum use of virtual interactions such as video calls. You can have virtual walks or virtually get down on some housebound activity together with your friends.

Having enough sleep

Now that you don’t have to be up early to make it to work on time, it is quite tempting to stay up late at night. However, you should try and maintain a routine as this is imperative for stabilizing your circadian rhythm (your inbuilt body clock) and in turn ensuring that you are having quality sleep.

Sleep is essential for our wellbeing. Our bodies repair cells, clear toxins, process information and even consolidate memories when we are sleeping.

There is adequate evidence that sleep deprivation negatively impacts our health including by affecting our concentration and psychological wellbeing as well as our emotional intelligence.

According to WebMD, lack of adequate sleep can also increase ones risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke among a host of other conditions.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help you maintain some sense of normality as you follow through with your plans.

If you end up worrying a lot at night and you can’t sleep, you can try limiting your consumption of negative or stressing news before your bed time.

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