Physical Health and Eating Healthy
By Mehar Saini
During this difficult time, people must be aware of their mental and physical health. Having better physical health helps reduce the chances of mental health and symptoms of depression, while mental health can lead to poor physical health. To read more about taking care of your mental health, visit Earagan Nimalan’s article. Dealing with mental health can be a struggle; along with mental health, you also need to take care of your physical health. There are different types of physical activity. Physical activities include any form of recreational exercise, sports participation, cycling and walking; working around the house or even an activity like gardening. Physical movement doesn’t have to be a form of exercise, such as sports, playing or dancing; cleaning the house and carrying heavy shopping is all part of being physically active. But remember when being physically active, if you’re going for a walk maintain the 2 meter or 6 feet distance away from people.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, many people are restricted from going outside, thus the number of people staying physically fit is decreasing day by day. It is very important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. A short break from sitting, by doing 3-5 minutes of physical movement, even if it is just walking or stretching, will help ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation throughout the body. Regular physical movement benefits the body and mind. Regular movement can reduce blood pressure, help manage life long or chronic diseases and illnesses. If you are dealing with mental health complications, physical movement improves mental health and can reduce the risk of long term mental illnesses. For elderly people, physical movement can reduce the risk of injuries and improve balance. For children and young-adults, regular physical activity helps support healthy growth and reduces the risk of illnesses later in life.
The “World Health Organization” has given a recommended amount of physical movement.
Infants under the age of 1 :
Must be physically active throughout the day
Children under the age of 5:
Should be spending at least 180 minutes, being physically active, with 3-4 years old being moderately active throughout the day
Children’s and Teens 5-17:
Children’s and teens should have at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical exercise, including movement’s that help strengthen muscles and bones
Adults aged over 18:
Should do a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of intense physical activity throughout the week
Older adults, with lower or poor mobility skills, should do physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls, 3 or more days per week.
With physical exercise, comes healthy eating. Being in quarantine during this pandemic is a challenge for everyone, and can cause serious mental health issues, which can cause people to abandon their healthy eating lifestyle. But with a little planning and determination, you can continue to make healthy food choices and boost both your mood and immunity.
How can you be mindful when making food choices? You could make a meal plan for the week covering all food groups and vitamins and minerals. Pre-plan your grocery list to buy all the necessary foods you need for 2 weeks. Instead of having cravings for junk food, try to start craving natural sweets such as dates and start loading yourself more on fruits and vegetables than non-healthy alternatives. Throughout the day, remember to drink water, lots of water, the amount of water a person should drink per day is 8 glasses, which is suggested by the World Health Organization. Eating healthy results in a good immune system; having a good immune system reduces the risk of getting COVID or any type of illness. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole-grain foods helps build the immune system, as well as staying active, not smoking, adequate sleep, managing stress etc. If you are lactose intolerant and aren’t able to digest milk, find an alternative or if you are vegan or vegetarian find alternatives, instead of quitting. If you are preparing home-cooked meals, which is the best option during this time, remember to follow proper home food safety.
Proper Home Food Safety:
Clean fruits and vegetables with warm water
Disinfect food items that come in packets
Wash hands, surface and fresh produce
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods
Cook to proper temperatures using a food temperature or until boiling point 100°
Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours
Don’t touch food items for 72 hours or disinfect
10 tips to consider when eating healthy during COVID-19:
Make a plan on your eating intakes and take only what you need
you will be able to reduce/limit your grocery shopping
Be strategic about using the ingredients and consumption of food
use fresh produce within a shorter time and freeze leftover fresh vegetables for another meal
Eat a variety of food, but don't over consume
you might be thinking how is it possible we could eat too much? Enjoy your food taking time to eat, be aware of your feelings emotions thought and behaviour while eating, as these could lead to eating disorders
Prepare a home-cooked meal instead of eating outside
try new recipes
Be aware of your portion size
there are national nutrition recommendations, you might want to check them out at https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/guidelines/
Remember to use the safe food handling practice above
Ensure an adequate fibre intake
this nutrient would reduce the risk of heart diseases colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and more
Moderation tastes so much better
drinking alcoholic beverages doesn't protect us from COVID, it increases the risk of developing health problems
drink water, even if it doesn't taste good it filters junk from the body. Try adding some lemon to water which may help the taste, as well you're getting some vitamin C
Enjoy meals with family and friends
enjoy the time you are around your family if you can't physically be with family or friends due to social distancing try to zoom, google meets etc
Bonus: Get all of your vitamins and minerals daily, even sitting in the sun for 10-15 minutes full fills your vitamin D for a day
Remember you are not alone going through this, we are all in this together and we should stick together. Keeping active and having a healthy lifestyle can improve and change your mindset of this pandemic and start discovering more than you thought you could. For more information on how and ways you could stay active, you could visit http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-technical-guidance-OLD/stay-physically-active-during-self-quarantine?fbclid=IwAR2RQYVYBnmpDCMjBwqmoz0hZxzmit_9yKzXu6ZhjGNywRTEzWOUQefU8V0.
For more information on healthy eating, you could visit: https://www.dietitians.ca/News/2020/Advice-for-the-general-public-about-COVID-19