Research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health. This means that people who do not move very much during the day and spend extended periods of time sitting or lying down have an increased risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression. This is because the human heart, cardiovascular system and digestive system are equipped to work best when the body is upright. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause you to lose muscle tone and lower your overall energy levels.
Health professionals recommend getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day, so a good rule of thumb during this quarantine might be to get on your feet and moving around for 10 minutes for every hour you are seated or lying down.
Another thing to keep in mind during lockdown is how we are fueling our bodies. I know my own diet has changed since social isolation began, but it is important to keep in mind what we are feeding ourselves because our immune system functions better when we fuel it with healthy foods. I recommend planning what you’re going to eat so you can minimize the number of trips you take to the grocery store. This will help limit your exposure to other people as part of your social distancing practice and will also allow you to have healthy food available at home when you want something to snack on.
I would also like to remind you of the power of thinking positively. Although I’m sure you’ve been bombarded with similar messages over the past weeks, it’s still true that the only things you can really control in this situation are how you act and how you think. Practice healthy stress management strategies, try to stick to a daily routine and stay engaged in stimulating activities. If you are feeling particularly anxious about the situation, think about limiting your media intake and reaching out to loved ones or a counsellor for help.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of you who have been reading this column. I have greatly enjoyed writing Talking Wellness and being your student health intern this past year, and I am so appreciative of all the positive feedback I have received.
If you have any questions or would just like to chat, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]. I wish you all the very best. Thank you and stay healthy, Mounties!