Staying Healthy and Fit during Lockdown

Dr. Bindu Chhabra

Professor, IMI-B

When many countries are facing lockdown due to Corona Pandemic, people are forced to stay at home and work from home. This is important to control the spread of Covid-19 but research has shown that the sedentary lifestyle can have disastrous effect on the physical and mental health of people. Staying physically active is important as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart ailments and diabetes significantly. Physical activity helps in maintenance of muscle mass and bone density, reducing the risk of sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Heightened physical activity also flushes bacteria from our lungs and airways, increases white blood cell circulation and raises body temperature, all of which are important for the body to fight infection. This helps to keep our immune system working effectively. Apart from the physical health benefits of keeping active, it is a great way to ward off stress resulting from being stuck in one place for a long period of time. It helps lower stress hormones such as cortisol and enhances the secretion of “feel good” hormones such as endorphins.

Many people exercise in the gym or go for a run in a park, so being forced to stay at home for a long time is posing a problem for them to remain active. Here are some of the ways in which one can remain active and fit during these difficult times.

  • Try walking briskly around the house or up and down the stairs. Rather than remaining seated when you are on phone, you can actually keep walking when you are talking over phone. Another very enjoyable and great way to keep yourself active and to engage your children as well is to dance. You can put on the music and dance for 15-20 minutes. This can be done 2-3 times in a day and can really contribute to your daily quota of physical exercise and is also a great way of breaking the monotony of work.
  • You can take out your long-forgotten fitness, yoga or pilates DVDs or can use many apps and YouTube videos promoting physical activity. Spread your exercise mat in the small corner of your house and start working out. Alternatively take out the skipping rope lying somewhere in the closet and that’s all you require.
  • Resistance exercises can help strengthen your muscles and are a great way to improve your mobility. Some of these can be performed using resistance bands or weights but if these things are not accessible, it should not stop you. Squats or sit-to-stands from a study chair, push-ups against the kitchen counter or wall, and lunges or single-leg step-ups on stairs can all be done easily from the safety of your home.
  • You can even use the tins, bags of rice or flour, bottled water etc. to good use. They can act as great substitutes for your dumbbells or, if you tie them up in a carrier bag, you have an improvised kettlebell. However, if these are not heavy enough for you, you may think of using the heaviest item at home, your children. This will be fun for them as well!

During this time of uncertainty, the one thing you can certainly manage is your own health. So, no matter what your situation is, try to eat healthy and stay active.