There’s no doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s day-to-day lives. Quarantining and social distancing have impacted everything from our work and school routines to social gatherings and summer outings. But has COVID-19 also had an impact on your diet and exercise routine?
Life before the coronavirus may have included getting in at least a couple thousand steps going to and from the office and limited snacking to certain times of the day. But now, your desk may be just a few steps away from your bedroom and those tempting kitchen cabinets.
In addition, many of us have had to adapt our exercise routines, and others are feeling the impact of prolonged stress or emotional eating. All of that can easily add up to feelings of sluggishness and low-energy.
But, now is the time to make the best of your situation and improve some of the bad habits that may have developed in the last several months. Use these tips to turn your health around today.
Find fresh food inspiration
While many of us have been relying on takeout or fast food to cope with feeling overwhelmed, those are not always the most nutritious options. In your kitchen, you’re in control of what goes into your food. You can make all the swaps you want for taste preferences, food allergies, and healthier ingredients. Plus, if you don't already, it's possible to learn how to enjoy cooking at home. Just try these five tips.
Find fresh foods
Have you ever thought about starting your own garden? It may not be too late, especially if you find yourself with extra free time. Radishes and broccoli are great options for late summer and early fall planting; you'll have your own produce in no time.
There’s no downside to extra produce, and you can even try your hand at homemade salsas or canning. If gardening isn’t your thing, reach out to local farmers to see what they have to offer. With some local farmers' markets closed or altered this summer, there’s a chance they have a surplus to offer.
Get back to basics
Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated — or expensive. Head to your pantry and follow these tips to make healthy meals with pantry staples you likely have on hand.
Limit the distractions
Eating while distracted can lead to overeating and sluggishness. So, avoid eating in front of screens and pay attention to your body’s cues of hunger and fullness as you eat. Stop when the physical feeling of hunger is no longer present, or you are at a comfortable level of fullness, instead of feeling stuffed.
Move when and how you can
Take your workout outside
With gym closures or altered schedules, you might be left wondering where you can exercise — especially if you're in an apartment. Head outside for a good, old-fashioned walk.
Get creative with your routine
Has your routine changed or are you working from home? Take your next conference call while you’re on a walk or go for a bike ride over your lunch hour. Try and find the positive side of your new normal.
You can also try activities that might be out of the norm for you like dance, kickboxing, barre, or Pilates! YouTube is full of creative exercise videos to get your heart pumping.
Sneak in more movement
All hope isn’t lost if you can’t make it to the gym. Find small pockets of your day to move more, it will make a difference! Try walking in place while waiting for your lunch to heat up or stretch while you are on hold during a phone call.
Invest in at-home gym equipment
This doesn't mean going out and buying the latest treadmill or elliptical. Buy a mid-weight pair of dumbbells and a yoga or exercise mat. These simple pieces of equipment could be just what you need to feel motivated for your next at-home workout.
If you're a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield member, browse the healthy deals and daily offers available through Blue365® External Site. Not only does Blue365 offer savings on gym memberships and athletic shoes, you can also find at-home equipment and online health and wellness classes.
Don't make your wellness routine too complicated
The pandemic is stressful enough, don't add to it by creating unrealistic goals around nutrition or exercise. Instead, create a plan that will allow you to achieve some wins that will boost your mood and well-being.
But if you’ve been in a rut and want to make a change, don’t feel like you need to tackle all of these on day one. Focus on 1 or 2 changes until they become good habits for you. Your body will thank you.
Ready to take it to the next level?
Blue365® is a discount program available to members who have medical coverage with Wellmark. This is NOT insurance.
Blue365® is a registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.