How to stay fit during the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic brought many challenges to us including the long-term lockdown period that changed the way we live, work, and spend leisure time.

Now that many of us work from home and can’t enjoy usual social activities, we tend to sit more, move less, and fight stress and boredom with overeating. All these lifestyle changes don’t do any good to our bodies. Now it’s easier than ever to put on extra weight, develop a bad posture, and get various health problems, such as heart disease and depression.

But the good news is that you don’t need to wait for the pandemic to end to get back in great shape, even if you currently can’t go to the gym. We prepared easy tips for you on how to stay fit (and healthy) during the lockdown.

Physical activity

Let’s start with what you can do to keep your physical activity at the proper level while mainly staying at home. That way, you will not only be able to control your weight, but also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and mental health issues.

1. Stand up and move regularly‍

First, ensure that you take regular breaks from sitting – stand up, walk around the house for a couple of minutes, and do some basic stretching.

This simple routine will improve your blood circulation, shake up your muscles, and help in keeping your weight in check.‍

2. Go jogging / ride a bike (if possible)

If your local area is safe and it’s permitted to go outside, then going for a run or riding a bike in the fresh air could be great exercises for burning calories and toning up your body.

Both running and cycling can help you burn fat and lose weight along with providing cardiovascular benefits. But note, that riding a bike is more effective for building muscle and causes less damage to your muscles than running.

3. Do yoga

Yoga can be a universal solution for various physical and mental health issues, especially during these turbulent times. Start practicing yoga at home, and you’ll notice that your body becomes more flexible, muscles tone up, mind calms down, and mood improves.

Yoga supports metabolism and helps lose weight too. And don’t forget about general health benefits that come along, such as chronic pain relief and reduced risk of heart disease.

4. Do stair climbing

Just walking up and down stairs for 10-15 minutes is a great fat-burning and strength-building cardio activity that will help shape up your legs and glutes. You can also find plenty of stair-based exercises online which can be turned into a complete workout for the whole body.

This actually brings us to the next tip…

5. Use online resources for training at home

Now that some of us can’t visit gyms, we have to switch to training at home and improvise by replacing gym equipment with everything we can find in the house.

Thankfully, the internet offers limitless fitness resources for us to organize workouts at home with no special equipment.

Firstly, you can find tons of free basic exercise videos on YouTube and other social media. Then, you can turn to your gym’s website and check if they have any training-at-home resources.

You can also get a fitness app and start your customized fitness program. Finally, you can find a professional fitness trainer who will have online workout sessions with you.

In either way, training at home can bring as good results as training at the gym if you choose proper exercises, stick to your schedule, and back it up with proper nutrition (we’ll come to that in a minute).

We prepared a simple exercise for your weight-loss workout routine at home:

10-minute weight-loss workout

‍For each exercise, set you timer for 45 seconds workout and 15 seconds rest. After all 10 exercises, get 1-2 min rest. Complete 2-4 rounds depending on your fitness level.

1. Jumping Jacks (speed up)
2. Deep sumo squats
3. Wide Push ups
4. Superman pull down
5. Double Crunch
6. Glute Bridge walk out
7. Plank walk out
8. Legs kick out 8 to 4 triceps dips in table position
9. Step back alternating lunges
10. Mountain climbers (speed up)

Don't forget to warm up before each workout.
Watch a simple warm-up routine here.

Nutrition

Having a healthy diet is key to getting and staying fit. Even if you train extra hard, you will not get in your best shape without also watching what you eat.

Besides helping us control weight, proper nutrition can also improve general health and even slow down aging.

1. Choose foods with a low glycemic index

Enrich your diet with a variety of healthy foods that bring vital nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants to your body:  

- Vegetables (yellow or red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots)
- Fruits (avocado, green apples, tomatoes, apricot, grapefruit)
- Soy products (tofu, soy milk)
- Whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal)
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach)
- Peas (chickpeas, black beans)
- Fatty fish (salmon, herring, tuna)
- Nuts and seeds (walnut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds)
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Extra virgin olive oil

2. Avoid unhealthy foods & drinks

Ideally, your diet shouldn’t contain products with unhealthy ingredients – such as trans fats and excessive sugar and salt – which may increase inflammation, cause dehydration, and raise LDL (bad) cholesterol level.

Foods & drinks to avoid:

- Deep-fried foods (french fries, potato chips)
- Processed meats (bacon, pepperoni, hot dogs, sausages)
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, energy drinks)
- Sweetened beverages (soda, ice tea, juices)
- Sugary pastry (cookies, pies, biscuits)
- Alcohol

3. Switch to healthy snacks

During the lockdown, we spend more time binge-watching drama series than ever, and what could be a better companion for that than a crispy snack? A healthy crispy snack!

It’s totally ok to have some bites between your meals during the day, just make sure to replace your unhealthy snack options with these alternatives which would facilitate your weight-loss efforts:

- Nuts
- Dark chocolate
- Grapes
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Carrot / celery sticks with hummus
- Dried figs / dates
- Roasted chickpeas
- Avocado slices
- Fruit salad

4. Drink enough water

Keeping your body hydrated is crucial for your health, appearance, and even mental wellbeing – for example, studies show that dehydration can negatively affect cognitive performance and increase fatigue and anxiety.

On the contrary, drinking enough water can help you reduce weight, keep your skin healthy and younger-looking, and improve general wellbeing.

In these uncertain and stressful times, it’s especially important to stay positive and concentrate on what we can actually control – and that is our lifestyle choices. Stay active, eat well, and practice yoga and meditation to keep your mind calm and clear.

By following these simple recommendations, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight, tone up your body, and keep your stress in check even during the global lockdown.

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