Updated: Jun 18
It’s 3am, you’re lying in your bed, binging that one Netflix show everyone’s been raving about, when suddenly, your stomach growls and you’re drawn to your favourite part of the house- the kitchen. This glorious light reflecting from the tiny door-gap of the majestic machine that is a refrigerator calls to you so as to reveal the delicious, delectable contents it beholds. There you find yourself utterly DESTROYING that box of chocolate cupcakes only to find yourself feeling guilty as you wipe the icing off your polka-dot pyjamas.
Does this sound anything like you? If yes, don’t worry you’re one of the millions and millions of people who are understandably struggling with their overall health and well-being and are falling prey to boredom-related overeating and laziness. The good news is- we’re probably all going to be stuck indoors for the foreseeable future. Of course, in no world is a pandemic-induced lockdown an ideal situation- but this can go one of the two ways. It is a known idea that developing habits takes approximately 21 days depending on the difficulty of the actual habit and your own will-power. So, what better time to kick bad habits and adopt good, new ones than a government instructed quarantine during which time you certainly have a couple extra hours to spare each day. I’m sure you have questions and concerns pertaining to how on earth would you keep in shape and eat mindfully when the world around you seems to be spiraling out of control. You’re probably wondering how you’re going to incorporate workouts and calorie-blasters while being trapped in your house, you’re also wondering why in the world should you care about your physical health when your mental well-being is taking a toll amidst this reclusiveness? This article should help you navigate through all of your concerns!
10,000 steps a day The ‘ten-thousand steps a day to keep fit’ is a very famous ideology and is also the recommended standard by various health organisations. You might not have a treadmill or fancy cardio-machines at your disposal because you live in a house and presumably not a commercial gym! However, literally all you need is your own feet, a pair of sports shoes and just a little bit of motivation, so this truly is something you can achieve at the comfort of your house. Let us say the distance from one end of your house to the other is about 100 steps, you’d only have to loop around 100 times to achieve this goal! If that still sounds intimidating, remember that all you have to do is keep your feet moving- you could be blasting bops off your playlists, or even be playing with your pet if that’s what keeps you going. Let’s also be honest and realize that you still really wanna watch movies and shows- and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t! Believe it or not, I finished all of Netflix’s Tiger King with my phone in my hands on one side and feet marching on the ground on the other! Exercise does not necessarily have to be boring! As a tip, a great way to keep track of the steps you’re doing is using activity-tracking apps that work as pedometers and give you a roughly accurate picture of how many steps you get in a day! This type of general, prolonged walking may be classified as low-intensity cardio, but due to its ease it is also something that is doable for longer periods of time and can help you burn a solid number of calories depending on your body weight.
Meditation, Exercise, and Mental Well-being With isolation comes indubitably, a lingering sense of social disconnectedness. While there are still ways to keep in touch with your friends via video calls and texts and online games- it’s just not the same! While these trying times present the challenge of dealing with feeling distant from friends and those who don’t live with you, they also present an opportunity to reconnect with yourself! Meditation allows for a calming effect on the body and improved breathing patterns. Concentrating on your breathing and spending a couple of minutes doing body scans while meditating may also help ease anxiety! If you’re all about hardcore workouts and consider yourself a gym rat who absolutely cannot function without the sweet-sweet smell of metallic barbells and dumbbells, and find yourself absolutely helpless now that you’re forced to be home- all is not lost! I am definitely one of those people who love lifting and are not the biggest fans of bodyweight training, but here’s a thought for all us gym freaks who love weights and pushing our limits- isn’t the one thing that years of gym-ing and strength training teach us that we must push beyond our limits and get better every day? Though during nicer times this principle would probably translate to pushing through that last repetition or taking your squat maxes to the next level, why not paraphrase this thought to be better suited for the current situation? Perhaps this may be a good time for all of us used to pumping-iron, to see what we can do with our own bodies and forage into other territories us gym bros often avoid- such as that of flexibility, cardiovascular endurance as well as mobility.
Thankfully, the world that we live in today has allowed free access to multiple resources at a click of a button. It’s no secret that hundreds of fitness gurus deliver quality workouts on virtual platforms free of cost- most of them showing only bodyweight exercises that require a mat! While of course it can be tempting to get lost in the glamourous world of insta-models and body-shaming product placements- it’s important that you find ‘fitspirations’ that focus on physical well-being and not unrealistic beauty standards- many of whom exist! Even 15-20 minutes of YouTube workouts is better than not moving at all and doing your body a disservice. If you’re someone who is a seasoned active person, you sure can chalk up your own plan with objects readily available at home- doorway pull-ups, bed-sheet deadlifts, wall-sits and pillow slams (this one’s a real cardio-monster) – just to name a few.
To ask why you should keep yourself moving and active during a time when you feel like doing nothing but lying around the house is a very valid question. While reclusiveness can be taxing- emotionally speaking, physical exercise might actually help inculcate better mental health habits apart from the obvious benefits to the body. It is common knowledge that working out WILL make you happier!
Nutrition and Eating Habits Eating restrictively is boring and unsustainable, and as someone who loves both eating good food and being supremely active- I am definitely not here to tell you that you shouldn’t devour those chocolate cupcakes I referred to at the beginning. What I am here to tell you however, is that it is important to strike a balance between whole, healthy foods and those delectable treats! I am personally an advocate for not labelling foods as innately ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Anything that fits your caloric and nutrient goals (if you want help figuring out your daily energy needs according to your activity level/sex/ age there are plenty of such calculators available online!) for the day without spilling-over can and should be included in your daily nutrition for mental satiety! A great way to do this is by using nutrition-tracking apps just by keeping a log of what you eat to be more mindful of your nutrition habits.
Quarantine or no quarantine- implementing a few of these healthy habits mentioned here can make a big difference in long-term health. The situation the world has been presented with has had a silver-lining in terms of providing precious time to learn new-skills, and becoming a fitter, more mindful-you!
By – Shagun Sachar Artwork by – Brijesh Kumar
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