APN News

  • Sunday, September, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 09:02:54
  • For many of us, lockdown has been a challenging time, as we battle with boredom inside the limiting four walls of our homes and apartments. There are those who hit the weights and exercised constantly, but for the majority, the time spent in isolation consisted of binge-watching TV, binge eating and binge sleeping.

    Now, as lockdown restrictions ease up in many parts of the country and the world, plenty of people find themselves a few pounds heavier, perhaps a little weaker, and struggling to throw off bad habits picked up during what can only be described as a traumatic experience. Returning to a routine that resembles something healthy can be hard, but thankfully there are simple things everyone can do to help improve fitness levels after lockdown; here just a few suggestions to help you get that little bit healthier.

    Sleep well

    According to a Myprotein survey, lockdown has affected sleep quality, most severely in those aged between 16-24 years old, which can negatively impact health. In fact, one of the best ways to improve our overall health is to sleep properly. Now, this doesn’t mean to sleep a lot, as too much sleep can actually be equally detrimental to our health, but it instead means to sleep correctly, which comprises following accepted practices. Sleep is beneficial as it can help your body repair itself, such as heal bruising or aches faster, and it also enables your brain to recharge, which can affect your memory, focus and mood.

    To ensure that you’re sleeping well, you want to aim at between 7-9 hours of rest a night regularly, even more for teenagers and children. You also want to be going to bed at similar times each night, as this helps establish a routine that helps your body better prepare for sleep, meaning that you’ll find it easier to drift off after time.

    There are things you can do to help improve sleep, such as avoiding screens and cellphones an hour before you plan to go to sleep as well as staying away from food too late at night, as this can irritate your stomach and keep you up.

    Go outside

    Now that most people are allowed to leave their homes in most places, it’s recommended that you take advantage of those lifted restrictions and get some much needed fresh air. Of course, you still want to avoid large crowds and gatherings, so the best options for going outside is to hit up your local park, forest, hiking trail or wildlife reserve, as these vast open spaces will give you the opportunity to keep your distance from people.

    Getting out in nature is also beneficial because these environments are thought to boost brain function and improve your mood, due to the abundance of green, a color that’s deeply associated with calmness and peace. The great outdoors also exposes you to much-needed sunlight, which the body needs to produce vitamin D, which goes a long way into keeping your bones healthy and boosting your mood.

    Exercise regularly

    Much like pre-lockdown, one of the best ways to stay healthy is to exercise more and get your body moving. You can exercise either outside, at home, or at a gym if one near you is open and if you feel comfortable going. When beginning exercise again, make sure to create a plan that isn’t too challenging but not too comfortable, as you want to make sure you’re able to complete it, as you don’t want to discourage yourself. Creating a plan that focuses on every part of your body is a good way to improve your health, but also ensures that your organs such as your heart and lungs are working well too.

    Exercise is also a great way to create some routine in your life, which can be very helpful after lockdown. Dedicating certain times during the day for working out can help you build a fulfilling and rewarding routine that can help keep your brain healthy too.

    Stay hydrated

    Hydration is a vital aspect of healthy living, yet a lot of people have seen a reduction in their fluid intake during this period of isolation. It’s important to drink water regularly throughout the day, as this can help fuel us and give us energy, making us feel healthier. It can also greatly affect our mood and reduce feelings of grumpiness and tiredness too.

    It’s recommended that we aim to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day to maintain optimum hydration, so it’s worthwhile to keep a bottle with you at all times so that you can get a little top-up.

    Eat well

    Many people have seen an increase in bad eating habits during the worst stages of this pandemic, and that’s a usual response to trauma and fear. Now that things are looking to be improving, it’s important that we take stock of our diet and try to improve that too. Many people may have fallen victim to the convenience of regular takeaways, so now is a good time to substitute back in healthy, homecooked meals. Be sure to follow a well-balanced diet, add in more green vegetables to get you the nutrients you need, and gradually start to reduce the amount of snacks you consume. Following a good diet will help boost your immune system, improve fatigue as well as keep your body properly regulated.

    Invest in self-care

    It’s worth remembering that this pandemic is a scary time, and for some a traumatic time, so it’s worth taking steps to ensure that our mental health doesn’t take a huge hit. The best way to do this is to set some time aside for self-care. This is usually a time where people unwind, switch off and relax and can be done in the form of a candle-lit bath, a good book, or something else to clear your mind, such as meditation or yoga.

    Take time out from TV

    During lockdown, many of us have seen an increase of screen time, be it watching the news, binging-watching television, scrolling through our phones, or spending time on computers and laptops. The truth is, screens have been hard to avoid, but it’s important to try and cut down on that blue light that screens radiate, as it can seriously affect your eyes and also disrupt your sleep. It can also reduce your concentration and make you feel even more tired, so try and read a book or listen to music or engage in some other form of activity that doesn’t require a screen.