Being sedentary is something I try to fight everyday while in quarantine! Sometime it IS nice to get out of bed at 11am and take a long morning to just restttttt. HAHA However, I notice I DO feel a lot more energized and healthier when I do yoga or go for a 2 or 3 mile run during the day. Coupled with being conscious of my eating habits as much as possible (two salads a day; a smoothie; or grilled fish) gets me by as well as can be expected during quarantine!
However, I am no expert! Therefore, I consulted Dr. Theresa Marko, PT, a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy and owner of Marko Physical Therapy in New York City on some of the best ways to stay healthy and fit. Here is her awesome advice:
“You have heard it before many times, and the pandemic is not any different,” says Marko. “You need to try to get 6-8 hours of sleep to be a happy human! Everything functions better when you have enough sleep. Your brain is functioning at a higher level, your organs are running smoothly, but more importantly let’s think about your muscles. When you are sleeping, this is when your body is doing repair on your muscles. We are all sitting a lot during COVID-19 and our muscles are tight and achy. Just sleeping will help this all feel better. We need sleep for recovery!”
“While it is SO tempting to just eat Oreos night after night (have you seen the new flavors?!), we must consider that food is really fuel for our body, muscles and joints,” says Marko. “In order for a person to be able to move well, their joints and muscles must have proper nutrition. We do this by getting enough protein through animal and plant sources and also by getting enough vitamins and minerals. Popeye had it right, that spinach is really good for you (and full of vitamin D)!”
“Eating a vegetable, mostly plant-based diet, will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need naturally,” says Marko. “This will also help your digestion as you will be getting a good amount of fiber and water from the fruits and vegetables. Lastly on nutrition, we must be sure to stay hydrated. Without water your stomach turns to glue and things don’t flow well, which will lead to bloating and feeling too full. Water also helps to lubricate your muscles and joints which will help them move smoother without pain.”
Only 10-15 minutes a day will help you feel happier and increase your levels of Vitamin D naturally. It will also help you sleep better at night by keeping you on your circadian rhythms.
“We are all sitting so much now! Zoom fatigue anyone?” asks Marko. “With so many of us working from home on our computers, having virtual birthday parties online, or doing telehealth visits, we are not moving as much as we use to. It is so important to get up, stretch, move around! Those hips are killing you! When we sit our muscles literally get stuck because the muscles are in their shortened positions. When you go to get up again or try to move, it will be difficult for the muscle fibers to elongate. Over time, this can become worse and lead to injuries and/or pain.”
“Lastly, there is A LOT going on around us,” says Marko. “This pandemic has felt overwhelming so many times. Be mindful that we are all in this together and you are not alone. Give yourself self love to not have to accomplish too much. Just making it through this is the goal, so don’t compare yourself to others who might seem like they are reinventing themselves.”
“Try to take a few moments to be quiet and just “be” in the quiet,” advises Marko. “You can try this with your eyes closed or looking at a nature scene like some trees, the backyard, or the ocean. Research shows that just looking at a large open nature scene makes us calmer. The world is large and it is still going to be there when this is all over.”