Staying active and fit is difficult at the best of times. But add the self-isolation rules associated with the current Corona Virus pandemic then keeping physically active becomes even more problematic. Self-Isolation has meant fewer opportunities for physical activity, with individuals spending the vast majority of their time at home. Gyms have closed. Incidental exercise falls away. Physical activity routines are broken. Guidelines have been prepared which include
- Keep minimum of Six Feet Physical Distancing
- Frequent Handwashing
Exercises and diet tips could help you stay safe and stay fit and stay healthy.
Don’t Skip on Exercise
A good diet should be followed by an exercise routine. Remember to exercise regularly; even some simple exercises will go a long way in releasing the toxins from your body. It is recommended to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your stamina. If you have not started exercising yet, then it is a good time to start. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct correlation with body immunity. You may involve in household activities or exercise on your terrace or indoors during this COVID lockdown.
The need for Exercises/ Physical Activity:
Physical Activity (PA) is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. There are two types of physical activities, namely, aerobic fitness and strength & balance. Physical activities like Active recreation, Sports, Cycling, Walking, Play, Dance, Gardening, House cleaning, lifting weights could be classified as different forms of physical activities.
Benefits of Physical Activity:
Physical activities are known to improvise the circulation & lung functions, improve the immunity levels to various infections, increase energy levels, helpful in weight management, decrease the risk of complications in Diabetes, CVD & Hypertension, improvise your self-esteem and confidence level and reduce sleep deficiencies.
Physical Activity Recommendations:
For adults aged 18 – 64 years, it is highly recommended that a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, including muscle-strengthening activities 2 or more days per week.
Benefits of regular physical activity: It is known to reduce your risk of cardiac ailments, lower blood pressure, and lower complications and prevent diabetes, weight management, lower blood cholesterol levels, help to build stronger bones, improvise mobility of muscles and joints and also prevent the risk of osteoporosis and may also prevent some types of cancer
These are testing times, and a prolonged period of staying indoors has its implications on your mental wellbeing. The growing anxiety around the pandemic is another concern that is affecting millions across the globe. While the uncertainty might be overwhelming, there are few steps we can follow regularly to help relieve our stress, stress is known to have an adverse effect on immunity.
Too much stress releases the hormone known as cortisol, which impairs your response to immediate surroundings and makes your body susceptible to infections; you are left feeling constantly anxious. The best way to relieve stress is through meditation, it is a tried and tested activity to calm the nerves. Some simple ways to meditate is to close your eyes and observe the breath.
Benefits of Meditation:
Meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, improves self-awareness, improves concentration, and improves cognitive skills.
Anuloma Viloma pranayama is a breathing technique where inhaling and exhaling is not a continuous process, but one that is interrupted by several pauses. The practice of anuloma viloma involves interrupted inhalation and exhalation.
Anuloma Viloma pranayama can be practiced both in the sitting or lying position. It is a pranayama breathing exercise which is ideal for beginners. The practice of anuloma viloma involves interrupted inhalation and exhalation.
Benefits of Pranayama:
Boosts the immune systems, cleanses the nostrils, improves the digestion and functions of other systems, calms down the mind, relaxes your heart, improvises your nervous functions, improves your concentration.
Protect Your Eyes during COVID closed down
Visual discomfort is a frequent complaint about everyone as the whole world is on virtual platforms. Eyestrain and headaches blurred vision are some of the most common problems that could occur during this period due to the overuse of technological gadgets. Other problems include double vision, burning, and dry eyes, eye fatigue, light sensitivity, and after-images. Neck shoulder and back pain can also be related to viewing the computer keyboard and/or screen. To minimize the effects of these injuries some simple eye exercises could be useful as mentioned below.
How to Exercise Your Eyes
Here are a few different types of eye exercises that you can try, depending on your needs.
Relax and sit comfortably with your eyes open. Now blink your eyes around 15-20 times regularly and as fast as you can. After that keep your eyes closed for say 15-20 seconds. You can repeat this eye exercise to improve vision for a minimum of 4 to 5 times daily.
Blinking keeps the eyes moisturized and prevents dryness. This also leads to the cleansing of eyes and prevent eye strain, especially when you are using laptops, computers, or smartphones. It’s especially advised to students or professional who spend all their day staring at computers or even to an average person as people spend almost 4 to 5 hours in a day on smartphones, the frozen stare on the screen is very toxic to your eyes as it sets many eye discomfort like eye fatigue, red-eye, itching or burning sensation. Blinking offers a break from the consistent stare and stops the constant absorption of blue light rays in your retina.
In this exercise, you need to sit straight and upright. Support your arms by keeping elbows on the desk. Now rub your palms together to make them warm. Place the middle of the palm on each eye simultaneously and fingers touching the forehead. Stay in this position for as long as the eyes feel the warmth from hands. This exercise can be repeated twice or thrice a day. Your eyes will feel the warmth of the palms and at the same time the muscles of the eyes will feel relax after an exhausting day at work, or when you are finished working on laptops or smartphones especially during this period of lockdown.
3) Changing Focus
To start this exercise, bring your thumb in front of the eyes at a distance of about 10 inches away from the eyes. Now focus on the thumb for approx. ten seconds. Thereafter, shift focus to any object that is 10 feet away from eyes, for about 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise for a good two minutes, Follow these steps at least once a day to strengthen eye muscles
This exercise also requires nothing but focusing your thumb. Stretch your arm, make a fist, keep your thumb facing upward. Focus on the thumb and now bring the thumb near the eyes till it is barely three inches away. Repeat the same procedure by bringing the thumb near and far from the eyes for about two to five minutes. This exercise can be done three to five times a day.
4) Figure of Eight
Sit straight and upright on a chair or on the floor. With the help of your thumb or any finger draw a figure of number 8 while keeping a continuous focus on the thumb/finger and keeping the elbow straight. Repeat this exercise for two minutes in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction
Now that you know all these helpful eye exercises to improve vision fast, it’s important that you start doing them from now. Share these to your sibling and friends who often spend time on their smartphones or laptops and prevents them from developing a severe eye condition in the coming years.
Good snooze time for 7-8 hours is the best way to help you improve your immunity; lesser sleep will leave you tired and this could impair your brain activity. The lack of sleep will prevent the body from resting and this will impair other bodily systems and functions which could have a direct impact on your immunity. Lack of sleep adversely brings down your immunity and could put you at a high risk of infections.
Benefits of Eye Exercises:
Better vision prevents eye strain injuries, improve concentration, calm down the mind, improve work productivity.
Diet during COVID
Supplements and immunity-boosting foods
While all the above-mentioned tips will definitely help, the need of the hour is a quick boost to your immunity system to keep it fighting fit. Take care that you are getting the right amount of nutrients from your diet, to boost up your immune system. Here are a few tips on a few food groups that could help.
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Hydration will help you flush out the toxins from the body and maintain optimum health. Other alternatives include juices made of citrus fruits, watermelons, musk melons, and coconut water, to beat the heat.
This particular vitamin is a crucial participant in the army of immunity. It helps prevent the common cold. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and protects against damage induced by oxidative stress. Vitamin C is rich in citrus fruits Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens, tomatoes and tomato juice.
Vitamin D supplements have a mild protective effect against respiratory tract infections. As the season is hot outside, people are confined to indoors and due to lockdown, there is a high risk of n Vitamin-D deficiency. The best way is to have a sunbath early in the morning. Best before 9.00 AM during the summers. Sunlight has been a natural source of Vitamin D and some other sources include dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
Zinc is a vital component to WBC (white blood corpuscles) which fights infections. Zinc deficiency often makes one more susceptible to colds and other viral infections. It is advisable to take a zinc supplement, especially for older people. Natural sources of Zinc include legumes, cereals, seeds, nuts, whole grains, etc.
Elderberries are full of nutrients including minerals like phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, and vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, and C, proteins, and dietary fiber. Elderberries have antibacterial and antiviral qualities that help fight respiratory tract infections like cold and influenza.
Turmeric and Garlic
Turmeric bright yellow kitchen spice which contains a compound called curcumin, which boosts the immune function. Garlic has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties which enhances body immunity.
Apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking supplements, the following self-care guidelines as preventive measures and to boost immunity with special reference to respiratory health.
- Drink warm water throughout the day.
- Practice Meditation, Eye exercises, and Pranayama.
- Increase the intake of Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, and garlic.
- Drink herbal tea or decoction of Holy basil, Cinnamon, Black pepper, Dry Ginger, and Raisin.
- Avoid sugar and replace it with palm sugar or jaggery if needed.
- Apply Ghee (clarified butter), Sesame oil, or Coconut oil in both the nostrils to keep the nostrils clean.
- Inhale steam with Mint leaves, Eucalyptus or Holy Basil or Tulsi leaves which could be useful to clean your nostrils
It is recommended that youngsters develop a healthy routine that best matches the needs of their academic schedule and outside commitments. It might be encouraged to take care of the basics, including keeping a regular sleep schedule, fitness activities just as they would a class, something simple as a 15-minute walk. It must be encouraged that youngsters stay well hydrated, consume healthy meals, and keep healthy food habits to keep themselves fit, healthy, and safe.
Dr. Sangeeth Somanadhapai
Prof & Dean
Faculty of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences,
SGT University Gurgaon