How to create healthy habits while quarantined? 3 key takeaways from the My body Masterclass
Our health is the main reason why we’re all currently stuck at home. Never before has mental and physical wellbeing been so precious. But what can you do to increase your resilience? During the My body masterclass, Diederik Joukes, health expert at Springbok Coaching, gave some ready-made tips to give your health a boost. He divided his talk into three areas: exercise, nutrition and sleep. Unable to attend? The recap below highlights some steps that will boost your healthy lifestyle to a higher level. Or even better, get here your own live webinar, tailored to your company's needs !
The importance of exercise
Humans were not made to spend our days seated. And no matter how long we sit still, what's more important is that we get up and move on a regular basis. Sitting for long periods of time, also known as sedentarity, also affects our posture. A no-no: working endless hours on your laptop, because then your body gets insufficient support. Have limited options? Then we recommend that you get a laptop holder or an external monitor. Preferably also with an external keyboard and external mouse. It's also a good idea to stand up for a while every half hour. Apply the Pomodoro technique, which breaks work down into 25-minute intervals. Use a timer, and alternate with healthy breaks.
You can use those breaks to do some form of regular exercise. Your body will then set various processes in motion: your heart will beat faster, your blood will flow better, and your immune system will get a hefty boost. Did you know that 150 minutes of exercise a week reduces the risk of flu by up to 20%? According to the mantra 'exercise yourself happy', you can set aside a few blocks of time every day for some physical activity. Need a bit of variety? Hiking, cycling, rollerskating: there are plenty of options to choose from! By the way, sticking to an exercise regime is even easier if you chart your progress. So time to get out that activity tracker or step counter!
In addition to the physical effects, your mental wellbeing will also experience significant benefits. For example, exercise has an anti-depressant effect. During the webinar, the speaker referred to exercise as a 'multi-vitamin pill', a preventive measure that protects us from physical and mental disorders. So what are you waiting for?
Taking care of yourself with healthy food
Of course, a balanced diet is no less important. And as we all know, it's tempting to munch on snacks while we're on lockdown. But since our gastrointestinal system is a sort of second brain, it's important to take care of it.
The first rule of thumb is: eat mindfully! Put your smartphone away and focus on one activity at a time. Give yourself time to go through the cephalic phase. It starts as soon as you see and smell your food. This will signal your digestive system to get ready. Don't eat too fast, because the feeling of satiety only kicks in after 20 minutes. Having this in mind can also help you to limit your portion size.
What exactly does your body need to eat? Think of good energy sources such as wholemeal products (e.g. wholemeal bread or wholemeal pasta) and micronutrients (minerals, fibre and vitamins). Treat your body to a daily dose of fruit and vegetables, preferably as fresh as possible. Healthy fat is also good for you. Avocado and oily fish are nice examples. Don't be tempted to buy products that are high in trans fat. Biscuits, pizza and chips may seem like the ideal comfort foods during this crisis, but they are very harmful in the long run!
And last but not least, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and preferably keep the bottle within your line of sight. How many litres should you drink per day? We have a handy formula for that:
Approximately 0.3 x your body weight
50 kg -> 1.5 litres
70 kg -> 2.1 litres
90 kg -> 2.7 litres
A regular sleep schedule
Finally, a good night's sleep is also crucial for your wellbeing. While you sleep, your body recovers so that it can cope with the demands of a new day. But in these challenging times, sleep problems are unfortunately a regular occurrence. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others wake up regularly throughout the night. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to optimise your sleep.
You can start by avoiding blue light before bedtime. Want to take a look at your laptop or smartphone before heading off to dreamland? Don't do it, as it will interfere with your biorhythm!
Instead, get into a fixed sleep routine. Create some habits that you do every evening. Work towards getting into bed at around the same time every night. Take a hot bath, for example, because that reduces the time you need to fall asleep by more than seven minutes. Or enjoy a fragrant herbal tea, which will tell your body that it's time to rest. Another suggestion that has a calming effect is to plan out your schedule for the next day. This extra clarity and structure will immediately reduce the tendency to overthink. And that's something we all need!