It takes a certain level of motivation and intention to stay fit and active as the Coronavirus lockdown takes effect in certain parts of Nigeria.
Aside from boredom and feeling stuck indoors, one of the concerns some Nigerians have expressed is weight gain from oversleeping and overeating at home.
There’s no denying the fact that it is difficult to stay away from the kitchen and the fridge when stuck indoors, especially when boredom sets in.
At the same time, many gyms and fitness centres have temporarily closed their doors, creating a situation where some may become less active than they normally are.
But, nutritionists and fitness experts say instances like these put individuals at risk of snacking on junk more than healthy meals while the calories keep counting.
In a recent interview on ESPN, Lauren Sauer, director of critical event preparedness and response at Johns Hopkins Medicine, answered questions people ask about exercising and playing outside during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said there are a lot of yoga studios, fitness studios, and similar places that have transitioned a lot of their classes online. “There’s a ton of people on YouTube and Instagram who are offering free fitness classes. Take advantage of those.”
Fitness coach and nutrition expert, Odunayo Abdulai, also said contrary to the belief that you gain more weight while staying at home, it is quite easier to lose excess weight and stay fit.
She told PREMIUM TIMES that this lockdown period should be seen as an opportunity to shed the extra calories and achieve your dream body goal.
“See this period as an opportunity. An opportunity to work on yourself, for yourself. You have more time on your hands. Many of us have used a lack of time as an excuse for not reaching our fitness goals, well no more.
“Don’t be a victim. This too shall pass and your state at the end of it all is up to you. You have to decide if you want to spend your free time adding more weight or keeping fit,” she said.
The trained pharmacist who recently wrote a book titled, ‘The Stuck at Home Meal Guide’, gave an outline on how to stay healthy and fit while working from home.
If you are working from home, it will be of utmost benefit to you to create designated spaces for different purposes. In a situation where there is no study or library, you could set your office in the living room.
Eating should be limited to the kitchen and you make the bedroom sleeping and relaxing zone. While making sure they don’t crisscross, you won’t be doing the right thing at the wrong time.
Make a meal schedule
Since you are not working in the office where there are schedules for work and breaks, create a schedule for your meals to avoid skipping meals and excessive snacking. Setting an alarm can help here.
Take movement breaks
Light workouts in the morning is a good way to start the day. There are some simple exercises you can do indoors without having to visit the gym. Take walks in the evening, the movement and fresh air will help you physically and mentally. Play music and dance in your bedroom if you love dancing.
You find that you eat when you are not actually hungry because you are bored and you find food lying around. Try to make a to-do list and keep it nearby to keep you on track and remind you of what you could be doing instead.
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Eat only at the times you’ve designated for meals. If you have a company, play board games, and card games when you’re not working. If you are alone, play video games and watch movies to keep your mind off food.
Focus on balance
Ms Odunayo gave a plating method that helps to maintain balance on the amount of food we consume. Fill ½ of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with protein and ¼ with starch. Limit portions of indulgent meals like sweets, salty and fried snacks to the barest minimum.
If we are being realistic, it is hard not to snack. If you have to snack, eat healthy snacks. Examples of healthy foods to snack on are fruits and vegetables like watermelon, carrots, garden eggs, cucumber bananas, oranges, and smoothies. You can also include granola bars, Greek yogurt, and dark chocolates.
Generally, eating healthy and keeping fit requires a very high level of discipline and perseverance.
We hope you enjoy your stay at home. Wash your hands regularly and be productive.