The Best Ways to Lose Those Lockdown Pounds
The quarantining many endured during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many Americans gaining undesired weight. In fact, this phenomenon has been widespread enough that it led to the term “Quarantine 15,” a nod to the term “Freshman 15.”
The stress of the pandemic may have led to stress-eating, and the mandatory quarantines very much contributed to more sedentary lifestyles. Highly sedentary lifestyles can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, cancers, and more.
This can make it hard to stay healthy and find insurance offerings. You don’t want to find yourself limited in options wondering “What life insurance options are available after a heart attack?”
Anyone facing these conditions will be in need of the right nutrition and fitness tips to get back on track before it’s too late.
Set Tangible Monthly Health Goals
Setting monthly goals can be a great way to get back into gear with motivation as well as a great way to keep your routine going. Setting tangible monthly goals with a log or calendar can give you a concrete awareness of how well you are doing and help you monitor your progress.
One tool to help plan your meals is to use the personalized meal plan calculator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This tool is tailored to your needs based on variables you provide such as age, height, weight, sex, and amount of physical activity.
They recommend making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, and varying protein depending on age.
Once you have a sense of planning your meals, you can set goals such as reducing calorie intake over the course of the month or drinking more water.
Adolescents and children should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Ideally, adults should be getting at least 300 minutes a week of physical activity.
So for your monthly goals, try breaking the types of exercise into categories to make smaller units that are easier to handle. For example, try mixing aerobic, muscle, and bone-strengthening exercises in various intensities, as these are all vital.
8 Great Exercise Activity Types
So what activities are best for aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening? Here are eight great examples.
- Running is the go-to aerobic activity for many because you can just put on a pair of running shoes, and go. It is also considered one of the most effective.
- Swimming is also one of the most effective aerobic exercises, and it helps prevent injuries because of the buoyancy of the water.
- Cycling can be a great way to get an experience similar to running but is softer in pressure on your joints. Aim for slightly above 15 miles per hour for maximum aerobic benefits.
- Squats increase flexibility, burn a high number of calories because they exercise some of the largest muscles in your body, and increase core strength.
- Although they are basic, push-ups are highly effective because they employ many muscles all over the body to perform.
- Lunges are great for increasing strength in your legs and glutes, and conveniently can be done with minimal space.
- Yoga can increase bone mineral density if performed regularly. It especially helps the hips, spine, and wrists. It can also be great for stress relief.
- Tai chi builds coordination and also prevents bone loss. It is slow, graceful, and again can help with stress relief.
Exercise Tips for Those With Extensive Desk Job Hours
Some of us may still be struggling to find time to stay active and combat that Quarantine 15 because of extensive hours at a desk job. While no longer being quarantined does allow more freedom of movement, excessive hours at a desk job might just be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. And there may be catch-up work to do, only adding to your hours.
So how can you get on track to beat that Quarantine 15, with extra hours at a desk job?
One tip is to focus on muscle-strengthening exercises. The more muscle you have, rather than fat, the more calories you burn even at rest. So you can be sitting at a computer or meeting and still be burning more calories if you have focused on muscle training.
Conveniently, many muscle strengthening exercises can be done in place, or within a small location repetitively. So, for example, you can do push-ups and squats in the bathroom while building a lot of strength.
Another tip is if you are setting monthly goals, try to coordinate with coworkers and share results to keep each other motivated.
Back on Track to Health
Although we are now returning to schools, offices, and public events, certain bad habits still may be hard to shake. The good news is that exercise can actually help manage anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic once you get in a positive spiral.
It may not be easy to get back into shape again. But once you start planning monthly goals for eating and exercise and know how to break down which exercises will work best for you, you may finally get back in the swing of things. And hopefully, you’ll even enjoy it while you’re at it.
Dorothea Hudson writes and researches for the insurance site, Clearsurance.com. She is passionate about exercise, has been a lifelong runner, and enjoys educating people on ways to maintain good health.