Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
As we remain isolated at home due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first casualties is our health. Lack of physical activity and a diet gone haywire due to lack of routine will soon begin to tell on our body as well as mind.
There is a direct relationship between your diet, physical activity, and health. Your nutrition is a key player when it comes to physical, mental, and social well-being. And it is an important factor in preventing disease.
Lifestyle factors may also determine if you are going to get sick or remain healthy. One of those factors is physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle is usually associated with an increased risk for chronic disease, loss of movement, and decreased immune health. For those reasons, physical activity and movement are extremely important during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Practicing social distancing, staying at home, and sanitising our hands alone is not enough to fight the virus. We have to remain healthy and build up our immunity to ensure that we do not contract the virus.
In this situation, our lifestyle - what we eat and what we do - matters.
Most of us are locked down at home with very little prospects of any physical activity, so we need to find a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle, workout at home and burn some calories.
First, we need to understand what is meant by calorie. It is the energy that comes from food we eat in the form of heat that allows our body to function properly. The number of calories depends on the type of food and its macro-nutrient components.
Macro-nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Each gram of carbohydrate and protein contains 4 calories each, whereas a gram of fat calories has far more - 9 calories.
We need to choose the right number of calories our body requires through the right sources which is key to ensuring a healthy nutritious lifestyle. For example, regular white bread as well brown bread both contain carbs. So, why are we told brown bread is healthier?
The reason is that brown bread contains more fibre and takes more time to digest, which helps regulate the body’s metabolism.
There is a vast science behind complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrate is present in food such as rice and potato, while simple carbohydrates are found in sugar and syrups. Simple and complex carbohydrates also differ in the way they are digested and absorbed by the body.
So, we need to make smarter decisions on choosing our macro-nutrients. We should also choose lean sources of protein like egg, chicken breast, lean beef, broccoli, and beans.
Avocado, olive oil, walnut, almond and coconut oil are healthy source of fats. Having oats for breakfast and brown rice or brown bread for lunch would be the healthier choice. Around 100 calories (28gm) to 150 calories (42) gm is approximately the ideal amount of carbs required daily for a healthy young individual.
Increase your activity
The current situation of staying at home has resulted in many of us gaining weight. However, there are many ways you can keep fit at home. Many sources, including Fitness First, are providing live online personal training classes via services such as Zoom.
You can also work out using whatever is available at home, such as a water bottle packet. You can use a six-pack of 9-litre water bottles instead of weights to work out. You can try out different kinds of workouts based on your fitness level. Make sure to monitor your heartbeat and calorie burn with any available device like MyZone or Apple watch.
A simple activity such as climbing stairs can substitute for the cardio exercise you usually do in a gymnasium. Cardio activity is most effective when practiced for the optimal period.
Research studies at McGill University found that just 15 minutes of cardio is enough to increase brain connectivity and efficiency. Daily cardiovascular activity enhances the function of lungs as well.
In conclusion, we need to lower our calorie intake during this period and consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits like orange, lemon, and green apple, as well as celery, kale leaves and ginger help in strengthening our immune system to fight against all kinds of diseases, including COVID-19.
Adopt these easy steps and stay healthy and fit during the lockdown and beyond.
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