Staying Healthy During a Pandemic
While hospitals fill up with patients suffering from the Coronavirus, regular people still need to to take care of their own health. Preventative care keeps our bodies prepared to fight illnesses. Beyond eating healthy, it’s important to make sure your body gets the level of activity and range of movement necessary for survival.
You Don’t Need Supplements
With the current status of quarantine, finding time outdoors has become a much more purposeful action. We didn’t realize how often we went outside in our day to day lives. We’d walk to the car and through parking lots and from store to store. Now, the only way to get vitamin D is to go outside for the sake of going outside. In today’s world, many have resorted to taking supplemental vitamins to satisfy their body’s need for this nutrient, but you can stock up on it by simply going outside. Additionally, vitamin D enhances the function of immune cells, important in the time of a pandemic.
So what can you do during this outdoor time? Exercise is an often overlooked aspect of preventative health. We stock up on medicine and food, but we don’t often think to prepare our bodies to sustain themselves. You don’t need to have chiseled abs and a supply of protein shakes to be prepared for what the world might throw at you. You just need to keep your body moving and you’ll be more ready for anything the world throws at you.
Depending on the kind of environment you live in, there’s different options for how to exercise out in nature. Hiking is the simplist option. Varying terrains offer challenges to your muscles. Inclines are good for your legs, and descending from mountains engages your core muscles.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with access to swimmable water, take advantage of that. Practice treading water for longer periods of time. Now is a good opportunity to experience beaches without crowds of sunbathers.
Even simple walks on flat land can be beneficial. Taking in the soothing scenes of a pond or a quiet tree lined street can provide a space for the mind to slow down. While walking, take a backpack filled with the essentials along so that you can get used to carrying extra weight. Check out this post for some ideas on what to pack. It comes out to about fifteen pounds, but while practicing it’s good to test your limits.
Lucky enough to have access to a flat, sturdy surface that you feel comfortable getting close to? Take your workout outside. With the absence of gyms, many are turning to at home workout routines. Instead of staying inside to do this, try to make the effort to go outside and get some fresh air.
The most important aspect when starting to workout is creating a routine of it. While self-motivation is important, it’s smart to include others in your fitness goals. Having a sense of community creates accountability, and you’ll be more likely to follow through on your progress. Once you create a habit of working out, you can be more self-sufficient with reaching your health goals. It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to have all the right food and all the right supplies, but none of that will be helpful if you’re in no shape to use any of it.
Cardio is important, even if it’s just walking. After cardio, do as much strength training as you’re comfortable with. Some prefer to use weights and at-home machines, but knowing how to take care of your body without all those bells and whistles is important for self-sufficiency. Make a habit of going back to those classic workout moves, like burpees, pushups, planks, lunges, and squats.
Make it Fun
Think playing frisbee is for bored college kids? It improves coordination and gives plenty of opportunities for sprints. Playing sports requires minimal materials. You can toss a basketball, hit a baseball with a bat, or challenge a friend to a tennis match. In addition to physical activity, playing games with others is a good way to make emotional connections with those around you.
While outdoors with no equipment, try high intensity interval training (HIIT) to build your stamina. Try running or swimming as fast as you can for two minutes, then slow your pace for one minute (or however long feels comfortable to you). This trains your body by allowing you to ultimately spend more time exerting your maximum amount of effort.
Making time to get away from computer screens and work and to enjoy fresh air is more important now than ever. Don’t forget to treat your body to sunshine, and make a habit of exercising regularly. Even after this pandemic, you should continue these habits for life, because your body is the most valuable tool available to you.