Keeping healthy during COVID-19

Staying active and eating well are still possible while indoors

In the new reality of social distancing — and for some even quarantine — because of the coronavirus pandemic, it may seem difficult to stay healthy and active since gyms are closed and even some public parks and tracks are no longer open to the public.

But it’s still possible to keep moving.

South Jersey residents like Staycee Long are continuing workouts during the global pandemic by creatively utilizing spaces in their own homes.

Long is a Group Fitness Instructor with LA Fitness at locations in Cherry Hill, Marlton and Mount Laurel. Before joining a gym years ago, Long worked out at home.

She’s one of many across the country who are starting fitness pages on Facebook to help people stay active as they socially distance or quarantine themselves.

“It’s a live video workout that people can join and do those workouts with me,” Long says of her Facebook effort. “I’ll interact with them and answer questions for those that might have some. It’s really a place where people can exercise with me so we can stay together; the idea to me is to be with each other, which is really important in times like this.

“There’s many groups out there like this and I’d recommend everyone to find a group that can enable them to stay active during this.”

Long says the most important component is to get creative and have fun with physical activities.  Walking and jogging outside are still encouraged, but inside workouts can range from traditional gym equipment to simply utilizing one’s body weight for pushups, crunches and other exercises.

“You can do different types of pushups, you can do lunges up and down the stairs, squats, triceps dips against the chair, pushups on the stairs,” Long explains.

“There really (are) so many different things you can do in your own home.”

Long says dancing is also a way to keep both adults and even kids stay active indoors.

“Go for a dance around; you can have fun with it,” she explains. “You can get crazy with it, express yourself and experiment with it. You’ll learn so much about yourself and those around you in times like this.

“The kids are going to have so much energy the next few weeks, so make sure to involve them in any way possible,” Long advises. “My kids really enjoy doing their version of silly squats and army crawl. They can jog in place or do their fun version of different exercises.

“No one’s looking for perfection right now, just stay active and have fun with it.”

Eating healthy should also be paramount during the pandemic.

According to dietician Lauren Marvin of Virtua Health in Voorhees, it’s important to not change one’s diet drastically.

“It is best to try and not change your diet significantly and aim for a normal intake of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, and to avoid grazing throughout the day,” Marvin notes. “Use your extra time to improve your cooking skills or try new recipes.”

As might be expected, Marvin says frozen and fresh vegetables are important for a healthy diet, along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Four 16-oz bottles of water per day are recommended.

Binge eating can be an issue as people distance themselves, so Marvin recommends finding an activity to pursue instead of food.

“Use the extra time at home to pick up a new hobby or spending time with your family,” she says. “Some ideas could include coloring with (or without) your kids; knitting, crocheting, sewing; picking up and practicing that guitar you bought and swore to yourself you would learn; listening to music; journaling or tackling the chore list.”