Staying Healthy Without Leaving Home: Tips and Exercises
April 9, 2020
Most of us have never before had to stop doing our day-to-day activities at the scale it is happening at the moment due to the coronavirus. The closest we can compare it to is when we are sick and have to rest at home or be hospitalized. This has an immediate impact and is seen in a deconditioning and loss of muscle mass. Immobilisation can lead to 3-4% reduction in muscle strength per day during the first week and there is a 40% decrease in isokinetic muscle strength after 3 weeks of immobilisation.
Today we find a lot of guidelines to prevent contagion, and more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of social responsibility in this matter. But we want to go one step further and point out that the lockdown and the state of inactivity can weaken our health, both physical and mental and therefore make us more susceptible to infections. That is why this article is indicated for anyone who wants to know alternatives to keep our health in its best condition, while still being responsible to society and complying with the quarantine.
IMPLICATIONS IN MENTAL HEALTH
Being "forced" to stay at home can overwhelm us much more than the spread of any virus. This is due to the fact that staying at home reduces our sociability and in many cases it can mean not seeing your loved ones in a while. Therefore, it is important to keep in touch with them on a regular basis, even if it is on the phone, as this can give us a great feeling of compionship. On the other hand, we should try to keep our minds active, it is very good that we take time to relax on the sofa watching a marathon of our favorite TV shows, but this can be a good time to study, learn a language, do some crafts, play a instrument or anything that our busy daily life does not allow us to do due to lack of free time. Without set schedules or obligations, it is very easy to lead a disorganized life that does not help mental health. Define a schedule, set a routine for this period and above all do not forget to sleep well.
Tip: Try the houseparty app, it is like Skype for parties / gatherings of friends and can be used to do something different and get excited.
IMPLICATIONS IN PHYSICAL HEALTH
It is essential to maintain a balanced diet at all times but especially now. It is easy to go for junk food or ordering food online, but given that we have the time and we are at home it is the perfect opportunity to cook. To deep dive into the nutrients to include in your diet to boost your immune system visit our article "Immunonutrition: What to include in your diet to strengthen your immune system" where we delve into the subject and suggest recipes, but if you have to keep something, don't forget to keep your Vitamin D levels high! It is key to stimulating immunity.
Tip: Vitamin D posts innate immunity and although we get most of it from the sun, if you expose mushrooms to the sun before cooking, they absorb Vitamin D and serve as a source of vitamin D at levels similar to those of food supplements.
There is no better remedy than prevention and physical exercise triggers a series of beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative chain reactions with this effect on health. Some of the mechanisms of action of the benefits of physical exercise on the immune system are the following:
Moderate physical activity promotes the elimination of bacteria from the lungs, reducing the chances of contracting viruses such as the flu or colds.
Physical exercise promotes the best circulation of white blood cells, which are the antibodies responsible for fighting pathogens that can cause disease in our body.
The practice of physical activity has a double hormonal response, on the one hand it decreases the hormones of "stress" such as cortisol, and in turn increases the hormones of "happiness" such as serotonin and dopamine. And a high level of stress increases the likelihood of disease occurring, because the body's physical and / or mental balance is disturbed.
Furthermore, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, inactivity has devastating effects on our muscle mass and can lead to sarcopenia, a progressive and generalised disease of skeletal muscle, based on the loss of muscle mass, power and strength, and which It occurs mostly during aging or in people who have led a sedentary life throughout life or who have been forced to stop their activity.
The effects of inactivity can be reflected in hospitalised patients and although it is not equivalent, this graph can open our eyes to what could begin to happen in our body in the coming weeks if we do not move:
*The Association Between Sedentary Behavior and Sarcopenia Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years in Low-and Middle-Income Countries Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17
To avoid this, strength training will be our best ally, given that it favors the increase in mass and muscle function (along with a balanced diet with adequate protein intake). Several studies have shown that strength training can counteract sarcopenia-related morphofunctional deficiencies due to inactivity or age.
Regarding strength training factors, it is important that we work with moderate or high training loads, such as training with weights, tires or resistance, in this adaptation period, if we do not have sports equipment on hand, we can try using the own weight of our body, or water bottles, resistant rubbers, springs or any element that can offer us an external load or resistance. On the other hand, it is important to maintain a minimum training frequency of 3 days a week to benefit from the effects of the activity.
Tip: Join our training plan to stay healthy. Choose your level of difficulty according to your previous activity level, being Level 1 indicated for people who do not do much physical activity or / and of advanced age.
AT HOME TRAINING PLAN
LEVEL 1: Light workout. They should intersperse a training day with one of rest and perform "full body" exercises in all their sessions, especially with their own body weight and sometimes with materials that we can find at home that can serve as support for some exercise. Being the first level, you will have a lower level of rounds and repetitions than the following.
LEVEL 2: Medium level. Here we propose inserting upper body training-lower body-rest and repeat again. In this way, by performing a greater number of upper body or lower body exercises in a single session, we will increase the intensity of the training thanks to producing greater wear and muscle tension. Here we have already started to introduce all kinds of sports equipment such as tires, weights, weights, etc. In addition, it will have a number of rounds and repetitions greater than the previous level.
NIVEL 3: High intensity. We propose inserting push-pull-leg-rest exercises. It is intended for those people who spent 5-6 days training before the lockdown. Here we further increase the specific work of the musculature, the number of sets and we continue to use all kinds of materials as in the previous level, but with slightly more complex exercises.
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