We are living in unprecedented times with COVID 19, that many of our daily routines have been disrupted. But in times of hardships, sometimes moments of ease and a richness of grace and blessings are reflected which gives us more teachings and knowledge.
Many people were used to life on the fast lane such as fast foods, not cooking at home, entertainment and going to the gymnasium to cut that extra fat or for routine exercise. Our lifestyle factors determine our health. There is a direct relationship between our diet, physical activity and health. Our nutritional status plays an important role in maintaining physical, mental and social well being and the absence of diseases.
During this pandemic era, many will and may end up have a sedentary lifestyle. This will increase our risk for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity etc. It can also impact on decrease/loss of movement and decreased immunity for the body. Inactivity is a risk factor similar to a person getting high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a person with smoking habit.
It is extremely important, to have a focus on healthy living in all holistic approach from mental status such as positives thoughts, energy, to physical activity such as exercising and how much an individual should be doing, to social wellbeing especially now due to forced confinement.
There are individuals who are at risk such as:
- The elderly – over sixty five and over,
- People with chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases
- Immune-compromised individuals
- Young children with or without special needs.
- Individuals with disability
- Vulnerable individuals
One such activity in this article, are benefits of physical activity such as:
- Lower risks of obesity leading to lower risks in heart diseases.
- Stress and anxiety relief: Stress and anxiety are rising with the current pandemic, and it can lower your immune response. Exercising releases chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin and endorphins which can help improve your mood, reduce the risk of depression and cognitive decline, and delay onset of dementia.
- Immune support:Regular physical activity helps your immune system function.
- One of the valued benefits is weight management:Regular physical activity which is paired with a balanced nutritious diet helps with weight issues. Excess weight is associated with higher health risks such as hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. Thus regular exercise prevents the risks of such diseases.
- Bone, muscles, balance, and flexibility: Physical activity improves bone and muscle strength, and increases balance and flexibility. This is important for everyone, especially older adults because it can prevent falls and injuries. As for children, it aids with growth and development and sets healthy habits for the future.
- Studies have shown that a certain amount of physical activity has helped in behavioral issues in children such as ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Their concentration levels can also improve while at home.
- For children, Physical activity can lessen behavioral issues such as ADHD and help with concentration during schoolwork which is important now that they’re at home all the time.
The following are Steps to start being physically active at home. The one thing we need to do is focus on our weakness.
Many people will always say they have an intention to start or have a workout program. There should be a tool to have a specific intent to start on.
There are points to consider such as the ability for people both young and old, should be on focus and a goal. The points can be analyzed and the ones which the person knows, he/she can excel, can be acted on and move progressively to recommended ones.
There are many workout programs out, given by trained coaches and exercises trainers. Do check out one suitable for you and start your journey towards a health living and stay safe.
Written by: Arifa Turabali (MPKA, HSM, MPH)
(A practicing Pharmacist/Health system manager in private practice)