Tips for maintaining your health during a pandemic

Yes, today we are going to talk about the ‘P’ word – Pandemic. I think we can say that we are well and truly into uncharted territory when it comes to Covid-19. 

When I think back to the start of 2020, a pandemic wasn’t even considered a possibility. But here we are months later and our lives have been completely changed by it. Covid-19 has had a tremendous impact on our lives and it appears as though this will continue for some time. We are all having to make adjustments to what could be the new normal, at least for a while.

In a lot of situations, these changes are resulting in more physical inactivity, and declines in overall physical health. Thinking about this makes me very concerned. We currently live in a society where video games, iPhones, computers and televisions dominate our attention and already cause significant health complications.

In 2017-18, according to the Australian Institute of health and Wellness, 1 in 4 children and 2 in 3 adults were classed as obese. Physical inactivity throughout the pandemic could see this already high number increase even further.

It is essential, that as a wider community, we do everything we can to at least maintain our physical health while restrictions are in place. So, let’s have a chat about how we can stay physically active during the pandemic and avoid the potential health consequences.

#1 – Break up sitting time

The first thing I want to stress is that sitting is not bad! We all sit every day, and some of us spend more time sitting than we do standing. The issue with sitting is when we remain in the same seated position for prolonged period of time. Our body is designed to move, not remaining stationary in the same sitting position.

Previously, we posted “Sitting – is it really that bad?” and discussed the idea of breaking up prolonged periods of sitting. We also used a lovely water analogy to help explain the problem around this. If you would like to read the explanation, check out the post!

But I would like to spend this time today to focus on what we can do to break up our sitting time and move more. Some options include:

      • Walking while talking on the phone, even inside your house
      • Standing at a bench to work instead of sitting at a desk
      • Leave the remote next to the TV so you need to stand up to change the channel
      • Fold the clean clothes while standing
      • Walk or stand while you read
      • Sweep the floor, rather than always reaching for the vacuum
      • Rake your leaves rather than blowing them into the street 

If you have any other ideas on how to move more and break up sitting time, let us know in the comments below!

#2 – Game based exercise

There are many ways to be active while having fun and playing games. You could play a game like Twister, Hyperdash, Charades, Hide-and-Seek, building a blanket fort or even Duck Duck Goose! All of these can be played within your own home and, let’s be honest, us adults would still enjoy playing these games we loved as kids!

Alternatively, depending on how large your backyard is, you can take the games outdoors. A great option is sports – cricket, basketball, soccer, footy, the list is endless! If you have the equipment, then why not head on out and use it? I know for me personally I enjoy playing downball with my sister, and all it takes is a $2 high bounce ball (or even a tennis ball). Even riding a bike, jumping on a trampoline or pogo stick, or building your own obstacle course are all great options! Your only limitation is your imagination.

If you need some inspiration, check out this obstacle course video. Here you’ll find 10 stations that we created using items you can find in your home, any of which could be used to create your own homemade obstacle course.

#3 – Visit the home gym

Everyone’s home gym will be different. Some of us will have been able to get to the shops before all of the home exercise equipment was sold out, some of us weren’t so lucky. But there is no advantage or disadvantage to this. Just as there are many ways to exercise with equipment, there are just as many options without it.

In our previous post “No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym!“, we discussed various ways that you can exercise outside of the gym. This includes activities that can be done at home with no equipment. Check it out if you need some ideas for home exercise!

Alternatively, if you would like some equipment to use at home, you can hire or buy equipment from Simply Stronger. Check out our website or contact us for more information.

#4 – Enjoy the great outdoors

The great outdoors – I’m sure we think of rainforests, a lake or a nice walking path when we think of this. But, we have our own version of the great outdoors at home – our backyard! 

You don’t even need to do anything too strenuous. Yes, walking around, playing a game or doing some exercise would be the most beneficial thing to do. But, just getting outside into the fresh air is great for our mental health, especially when we are at home all day.

#5 – Step away from the screens

I’m sure we are all aware of how prolonged time using electronic screens can impact us. Many of us spend hours upon hours staring at electronic screens. It has become an integral part of our society and many people rely on this technology.

Although our iPhones, computers and televisions are a great way to access information, stay in touch with friends a family and play games – and I can’t forget it’s importance in working from home and online learning – too much time in front of screens has a negative impact on not only our physical health, but our mental health too.

Thankfully, any of the methods discussed in this post can be used as effective ways to break up screen time. You can stand up and move around, play a game (away from the screen), complete a puzzle, or go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Now I understand this may be difficult for those who are addicted to their screens (yes kids, I’m talking to you!), but it is essential that we don’t spend hours on end staring at a screen. 

#6 – Exercise your mind

Just as important as it is to take care of our body by being active, it is also important to look after our mind. Mental health has been coming to the forefront over the last few years and it has become clear that it is a problem within our society. From depression to anxiety and even stress, mental health cannot be ignored.

Yes, being active and getting outside is great for our mental health. Even reducing screen time is helpful with this. But keeping our mind sharp and in tip top condition is just as important. 

A great way to do this is by doing some puzzles. This could be a jig-saw puzzle, crossword, word search, sudoko or riddles. Anything that challenges your mind and makes you think is going to be good for you, especially if the alternative is watching more TV and letting your mind go to sleep!

#7 – Be social

Although we can’t go out and meet up with friends, it is important o remain social. We crave human interaction! Thankfully, we are in the golden era for social media. There are so many ways to stay in touch with our friends and family. Even if social media isn’t your forte, why not pick up the phone and give them a call? I know the younger generation love texting and social media, but that isn’t for everyone. And hearing someone’s voice over the phone is just as valuable as seeing them on Zoom or keeping touch on social media.

Want to know more?

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

And here is a little sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:

      • Hey kids, did you know exercise can be fun?
      • Exercise for mental health 
      • Strategies to overcome obstacles
      • Strengthening your bones

Please leave a comment below if you have any topic ideas that you would like us to discuss!

We are here to help!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

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References

Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, 2019, Overweight and Obesity, Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, retrieved 20/07/2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/about 

Photos provided by free to use sounds, Joseph Pearson, Ross Sneddon and Zuza Galczynska via Unsplash.com

2 Replies to “Tips for maintaining your health during a pandemic”

  1. I was thinking it would be fun to setup a “challenge” for my nephew by looking around his local streets and building a “check-list” of things for him to find while he walks around the neighbourhood after his remote classes are done for the day.

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