Why and how to be active in a COVID-19 world
March 19, 2020
The changing world we live in because of the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean that you have to give up your activity. In fact, doing what you can to be active and help reduce stress is important during these disrupted times!
How it stress affects your body and your gut
Stress can affect your immune system. It certainly can result in weight gain or weight loss, affect blood pressure and blood glucose levels. If you’re dealing with gut health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), being active can be very important. Even if you aren’t dealing with IBS or other gut health issues, you may find stress affects your gastrointestinal (GI) system.
One common stress response is an increase or decrease in gastrointestinal motility. What that means is that stress can either increase or decrease the amount of time between when you eat something and when you flush the remains away. That could mean you find yourself dealing with a need to find a bathroom urgently. Or you may find yourself a bit “backed up” and being uncomfortable.
How to help decrease these effects
A good solution is to move as much as you can during these disrupted days.
Depending on where you live and taking into account your circumstances and health, take a walk outside and enjoying the calming effect of nature. The moving air can be great for you even if you are walking in a city. Just remember to maintain the appropriate social distancing.
I enjoyed a lovely walk the other morning in an area that I frequently drive by, but had not recently walked in. I’d forgotten how lovely and how relaxing it was!
Going outside may not be an option for you. Do you have some equipment in your home such as a bicycle, an elliptical, or a treadmill? Why not get back to using it as long as it is safe for you to do so. Even a few minutes can help!
You don’t need to have equipment at home to get walking or to get moving!
Here are some other options that can work even if you don’t have equipment at home or can’t get outside:
Put on a favorite song and dance! If your kids are home from school, or your housemates are, encourage them to join in or at least get a heck of a laugh out of watching you dance. Teach them some of dances you did in your younger days or ones that they may encounter at social events in the future. Funky chicken anyone?! Macarena?! There are even YouTube videos that get you all moving!
Even with as little as a three foot by three foot space, it is possible to get a good walk in. Just search on YouTube for “in home walking” or something similar.
If you’d like more cardio activity or are missing your yoga class, search your app store, Facebook, the internet, or even the channel listing from your cable TV provider.
There are a wealth of options out there
For strength training or yoga, if you don’t have equipment at home, there are options available through the internet and apps. Since I’m not a physical trainer or yoga teacher, I’m not going to make any suggestions for you except to say there are resources even if you can’t get to the gym.
Whatever you do, keep moving! It can help your mood. It will reduce your stress. If you are like some of us who are prone to eat more during stressful times, moving can help this as well. The science behind this happens is something I frequently share with people during nutrition counseling sessions.
I’ll be sharing more tips and recipes in the future on this blog, but the best way to make sure you don’t miss them is to sign up to receive emails from me.
Do you have questions about how to eat to improve or maintain your health? Set up a free discovery call and let’s talk to see if I can help you!
Virtual appointments (sometimes called telehealth appointments) with me are currently available and your insurance may even cover part of all of the cost. I am also keeping a list of people who would like to see me in my office when I resume in person appointments.
Having personally struggled with weight and gut health issues, I understand how easy it is to think that food is the enemy especially with the changes our bodies undergo as we age. It doesn’t have to be that way!
I love using my extensive education and coach approach to help people realize it is possible to feel better and be healthier while still enjoying their life and food.