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Living a healthy lifestyle can be tough under normal conditions. During months of quarantine, many found it even tougher.

As stay-at-home orders are being lifted, we all want to figure out how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep us healthy and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes daily movement, proper hydration, balanced nutrition, and the correct amount of sleep is one of the most important tools we have to help protect ourselves from disease,” says Cody Clinton, DO, Sports Medicine Specialist at Cooper University Health Care. “There are a few simple things you can do immediately to ‘get yourself back on track’ as the quarantine ends.”

 

Exercise regularly

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week. Try to aim for 30 minutes for five days per week of light exercise or 50 minutes for three days per week of more moderate intensity exercise. As always, consult your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.

Even if you’re not going into the gym regularly, you can still work up a sweat every day. If you have a few free weights and a yoga mat, you can do a variety of strength training exercises.

“Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss – and may even help build new bone,” says Dr. Clinton. “There are a number of free apps that have a variety of exercise classes which can add more motivation and diversity to your day.”

Outdoor exercise such as running, walking, and hiking are still very safe if done with caution. According to the CDC, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself while exercising outdoors, including:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times. This might make some open areas, trails, and paths better to use than others. Do not go into a crowded area.
  • Avoid gathering with people you don’t live with.
  • Wear a cloth face covering as feasible.

Stretch at least three days per week with each stretch being held for 10 to 30 seconds. Tai Chi is considered a good low impact exercise to enhance one’s balance.

 

Hydration is key

Drinking enough water throughout the day can have a positive impact on your health and well-being. Proper hydration regulates body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections, delivers nutrients to cells, and keeps organs functioning properly.

Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. Aim for 64 to 84 ounces of water daily or half your body weight in ounces. You can add flavor to water using a lemon or fruit. It is also helpful to keep caffeine to a minimum, especially in the afternoon.

 

Eat whole foods

Try to incorporate whole foods into your diet such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and seafood. Work on eliminating foods with a lot of processed ingredients such as granola bars, chips, and anything with high fructose corn syrup in it.

If you can, cook and prepare your own meals to ensure the ingredients are healthy. To keep you and your family from unhealthy snacking, don’t stock too many sweet or salty snacks in the house.

 

Get enough sleep

“Sleep is perhaps the most undervalued part of our health,” says Dr. Clinton. “Most healing occurs while you are resting.”

Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. It is also beneficial to be consistent with the time you fall asleep and arise in the morning.

If you snore, or your partner notices you wake up a lot and are chronically fatigued, consider speaking with your doctor about a sleep study to rule out obstructive sleep apnea. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and do not drink an excessive amount of alcohol, as these both interrupt sleep cycles.

 

Don’t put your health on hold. Please call us at 800.8.COOPER (800.826.6737) to make an appointment with one of our sports medicine experts.

September 2, 2020
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