STAYING HEALTHY AND FIT DURING ISOLATION
As I am sure we can all agree, staying home is not the norm for most of us. In fact, this recent change in our lifestyles has not only created a bit of a panic, but it has also caused many of us to be restricted to our homes. Since we all live in different parts of the country, as well as, other countries, it is important to use this time to reflect on ourselves, work from home, and spend time with our families, or in some cases get to know ourselves a lot better.
FOUNTAIN HILLS, ARIZONA
I am fortunate to live in Arizona, where our weather makes it easier than other states in the United States, as well as other areas outside the United States, to enjoy the outdoors. Even though I already work at home, my husband is now working from home, which presents its own challenges. But, like all changes, especially those out of our control, we need to adapt to the changes and focus on the positive and make the best with the situation at hand.
As far as our lifestyle is concerned, our gyms and health clubs have closed, and we are encouraged to stay in our homes unless we need to go to the grocery store. The grocery store, although available, is yet another daily challenge to anyone attempting to buy food. Obviously, that also is a change from the norm, but we all have to eat.
And, with eating and isolation, sometimes comes overeating and making poor choices. In recent weeks, and weeks ahead of us, I think it is really important to focus on our health and well-being, and with that, comes the realization that our normal routines, exercise, and eating habits, need focus.
EXERCISING, STAYING HEALTHY AND FIT DURING ISOLATION
Personally, I exercise daily at my health club, taking spin classes, lifting weights, pilates, and using the treadmill. I also walk as many possible places as I can, in order to get my steps in for the day.
Since I have no intention of ordering a Pelton bike and having it delivered immediately, I had to come up with a new routine for exercise as well as eating.
No matter if you are vegan, vegetarian, transitioning to a vegan or a meat-eater, less exercise, change in daily routine and increased anxiety create for a terrible platform for making poor decisions.
Regardless of where you live, and what your routine, I can likely say we are all a little preoccupied with the current crisis, and sometimes, stress and anxiety lead to overeating, not making healthy choices, and possibly not moving as much as we used to, or need to, to stay healthy.
Hopefully, this post will give you some helpful advice, if you need it, to use this time to become healthier both mentally and physically, while we are patiently waiting to go back to our lives.
START THE DAY OUT THE RIGHT WAY AND TAKE CARE OF YOU!
One of the first suggestions I have is to start your day the way you used to start your day before working from home. For instance, we get up for work at 5:30 a.m., which is the exact same way we wake now. At some point, we will all have to return to our regular jobs and routines, hopefully, sooner than later.
Then I shower, get dressed and make our bed. For me, making our bed starts the day fresh and gives me some organization. I also like getting into a fresh bed at the end of the day. My advice is to do everything the same way you did before working from home. A fresh start begins with a regular routine, and whatever that routine is, it should remain as close to normal as possible.
HOW TO EXERCISE AT HOME WHEN THE GYM IS CLOSED AND YOU ARE ISOLATED INSIDE
Fortunately, in Arizona, we can walk, ride bikes, and hike, following the social distancing rules in place. But, that isn’t necessarily true for everyone depending on where you live and climate. I strongly suggest if you can, get outside for some fresh air every chance you get. Even if that is restricted to a balcony, a patio or your garage with the door open, fresh air is important regardless of your living situation.
EVEN IF IT'S COLD, GET SOME NEEDED FRESH AIR TO STAY HEALTHY AND FIT IN ISOLATION
Even if its cold outside, bundle up and go for a walk or a run. This is an activity almost anyone can do regardless of your geographic location and exercise experience. Since being isolated to our home, we take 3 to 4 long walks a day. Not only does it clear my head, but I get exercise, and I can make phone calls while I walk.
Another suggestion is to use the area in your house to walk or climb stairs where you live. We live in a ranch-style home, but we have stairs in our backyard. Yesterday, I climbed the stairs 50 times while I made calls.
Also, the internet has a variety of free exercise opportunities for everyone, with different levels to meet a variety of exercise abilities.
Our gym, Mountainside Fitness, which is closed until further notice, has also made video workouts available for members to do in our homes. Today, I did a pilates workout with the instructor who’s class I usually attend. No, it’s not the same as being in a group class, but it works.
HOW TO FIND WORKOUTS YOU CAN DO AT HOME WITHOUT ANY EQUIPMENT
Even if you don't have a gym membership, there are several free, at-home workouts online available to everyone.
- Planet Fitness, for example, has exercise videos available daily for anyone, even if you aren’t a member. Just go to their Facebook page, and click on videos, and anyone can exercise for free at home.
- Fitness Blender is free and has full-length no equipment needed exercise videos.
- Tone it up is another site, more focused on women working out at home.
- Spark People, is yet another at-home workout, but this work out is all seated. If you have an injury, small living space, or you need to sit down while working out, this work out is for you.
- Gym Ra also has a variety of videos that are 15 to 40 minutes in length, and free for in-home use.
PREFER YOUR OWN WORKOUT? HERE ARE SOME CHEAP WAYS TO WORKOUT AT HOME
If you don’t normally exercise, because you are “too busy,” now is the time to start a new you. With more time on your hands, nothing is better for stress than exercise. As a matter of fact, exercise is not only good for your physical well being but your mental well-being as well.
USE YOUR TIME INSIDE IN A PRODUCTIVE WAY AND MAXIMIZE YOUR BENEFIT
Since most of us are isolated to our homes, make use of the time you have inside your home. Recently, Dr. Oz suggested married and those with significant partners should use this time to reconnect with our partners by having more sex.
Obviously, if you are single, dating is complicated in the current state of the pandemic, but that just means you get the opportunity to rediscover yourself, recreate yourself, and prepare for when you are able to date in the months ahead. What better time to focus on a healthy, happy you!
Just think of the possibilities! If we all put our focus into doing everything we have been procrastinating, think of the freedom you will experience when this is over. And it will be over!
MAKE LISTS OF THINGS TO DO AND CHECK THEM OFF ONE BY ONE
PLANT FLOWERS IF IT IS TIME IN THE AREA YOU LIVE
First, make a list of all the home projects you have been procrastinating. There is nothing more rewarding than accomplishing tasks you haven’t had time to do. At my house, for example, the weeds need to be picked outside, as well as a variety of outdoor yard work I have been putting off to do something more fun.
I also need to go through my closets and switch out seasonal clothing as well as donate clothing we no longer need. Of course, I have also made my husband a “honey-do” list, not only to keep him occupied but to give us a little space and independent time.
I also have time to make a list of home projects I can make appointments for, as well as, schedule appointments for work I can have done while we are at home.
PLANT AN HERB GARDEN TO USE FRESH HERBS WHEN COOKING; THIS CAN BE DONE IN OR OUTSIDE
Now is the time to schedule appointments a month or two out, or immediately, as many businesses are still open, and need the work. Yesterday, for instance, we sold an item on Craigslist, without having any contact with the person who bought our item. Paypal is a beautiful tool to use to avoid exchanging money from person to person.
VOLUNTEER/GIVE BLOOD/OFFER TO HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS
- Blood banks are taking appointments online, and blood is needed in all states across the US, and I assume outside the US as well. Call your local Red Cross or go online. https://www.redcross.org
- Schools are in need of people to help pack free breakfast and lunches to school children, who would not eat unless they received free lunch at school.
- Offer to shop for your elderly neighbors to keep them safe at home.
- Food banks are in need of people for stocking and distribution of food.
- Animal Shelters may need volunteers to help feed and walk dogs.
- Foster or adopt an animal from a shelter. You have plenty of time to train a puppy or introduce a grown dog into your household.
SUPPORTING LOCAL RESTAURANTS WHILE KEEPING IT HEALTHY
Pita Jungle: Marinated Tofu Salad, Jalapeno Hummus with Tumeric Wood-Grilled Vegetables, and a Keto Tofu Platter with Grilled Tofu, Broccoli and Tumeric Cauliflower Rice
Although I am in favor of supporting local businesses by using restaurant carryout and delivery services, you need to remember to make good choices. If you wouldn’t eat what you are ordering to be delivered or you are picking it up, at the restaurant, don’t do eat it just because you are home.
Because we want to support our local businesses, we have chosen the vegan restaurants, we frequent often, and one day a week we are ordering carryout or delivery, but sticking to our healthy choices.
For instance, many restaurants around us are offering incredible deals on large amounts of food, which tempts people to eat more than usual.
Instead, when you get the meal, split it into three days of meals, rather than eating it in one sitting.
In our area, we have a restaurant we go to often called Pita Jungle. They are offering a family deal for $35.00 which includes:
- Generous Starter of hummus or delicious caramelized cauliflower
- Family-style wrap or bowl
- A side or salad
- Free sampling of our walnut baklawa.
DON'T LET A GREAT DEAL SWAY YOU INTO EATING OR DRINKING UNHEALTHY
Although this is a GREAT deal, and they have a vegan menu, if we have all of this in our refrigerator, we will eat it all. Instead, we are going to order what we normally order to avoid overeating or eating food we wouldn’t normally eat.
Baklawa, for instance, is not on my meal plan and trust me, I don’t need to add it to my waistline.
Other restaurants in our area are offering half off alcohol delivered! If you don’t normally drink alcohol, or drink it during the week, then don’t order it. A good deal, even though temping, is clearly not always a good deal. If you are not a drinker, don’t become one now.
Calories are calories, and if you start drinking half-off alcohol now, you will regret it later. If you do drink alcohol, I am certainly not judging, but I think it is a good idea to keep it in check. Empty calories are empty calories.
DON’T EAT OUT OF BOREDOM OR LAZINESS OR YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT
When boredom hits, which is often right now, the minute I want to snack, I go for a walk or choose a different activity. For instance, today, I chose to clean out three drawers. I can’t stuff my face in the bedroom inside a drawer.
In the first few days of being home, my husband, who usually goes to work, kept going into the pantry and grabbing handfuls of nuts. Not only does he have big hands, but he did it without even realizing it several times during the day.
Nuts aren’t unhealthy, but the number of nuts he ate throughout the days emptied our stash and registered on the scale.
Without knowing it, we can consume more calories and food than we intend when bored or anxious. For that reason, I try to stick to my three meals a day, without snacking at all.
If you are a snacker, I suggest counting out your nuts or whatever you like to eat for a snack. Then, use containers to keep track of serving sizes.
Also, remember to keep it healthy; try to avoid oils and other fats. One way, for instance, is to cook using Oil-Free Vegan Tip: Silicone Baking Mats.
- Cut up fruit and vegetables and place them in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- Make your own hummus or buy oil-free hummus to dip vegetables
- Meal prep to have healthy snacks on hand
- Instead of eating, go for a walk to get a breath of fresh air.
MAKE A FOOD PLAN AND A LIST BEFORE YOU GO TO THE STORE
Do you remember the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? If I buy a bag of potato chips, I am going to eat a bag of potato chips. So, I don’t buy potato chips. It’s that simple. I love potato chips as much as the next person. Chocolate chip cookies? Not so much, but I am sure there is someone with a sweet tooth out there. Don’t buy it! Instead, shop the parameter of the store.
First, I decide what I plan to make for the week, which usually includes:
- A big pot of soup
- A lot of salad supplies
- Focus on six main entrees for dinner (with leftovers for lunch)
MAKE A LIST
Next, I make a list of what I need to buy based on the recipes I plan to cook. Even though right now, making a grocery list seems silly, because it's like a bad episode of Chopped, you need to have an idea of what you at least plan to cook, before you go to the store. Yes, it may change, but a structured list helps to avoid buying unnecessary food.
Now, during this more difficult time, due to getting groceries and focusing on staying even being more healthy, I have tried to make meals with some of the same ingredients in order to make shopping easier, as well as, less expensive.
SUGGESTED MEALS YOU CAN EAT, FREEZE, AND MAKE EASILY IN ISOLATION:
- Vegan Lasagna: makes a 9 X 13-inch pan of lasagna that can be eaten all week or frozen and reheated.
- Creamy Vegetable Soup: This soup can be made ahead of time with any vegetables you have on hand, and it can be reheated all week long or frozen and reheated.
- Italian Chopped Salad: this is a great salad full of veggies with a tangy dressing. Make Italian Chopped Salad ahead of time, but don't dress it until you are ready to eat it.
In order to get through this difficult time, it is most important to stay healthy and take care of yourself. No matter what happens, we will all come through this. My goal, of course, if that we all come from this experience better than we were before this pandemic. Be good to each other, be kind to others, and most importantly stay positive.
If you found this post helpful, check out Shopping During the Pandemic.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂