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Staying active during self-quarantine

Streets empty, cars parked, TV and radio sets on, beds slept in longer than usual, (are they even laid anymore? Lol) working for a bit, resting for a while, snacking in-between, lunching and dining then ending the day Netflix-and-chilling. This is how most of us are coping with the stay-at-home order.

Which is cool, don’t get me wrong but the temptation to subject the body to very little movement is high and this could actually not be the right course of action especially when the current health situation demands that we remain healthy.

As gyms and fitness centres are temporarily shut down, one has to come to terms with finding ways to keep fit within the four walls of the house/apartment.

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. These recommendations can still be achieved even at home. Thus if you don’t have your personal gym or fitness equipment, don’t worry. You can still keep fit with little to no equipment.

The following are some tips on how to stay active and reduce sedentary behaviour while at home in self-quarantine:

Take short active breaks throughout the day.

Short bouts of physical activity add up to the weekly recommendations. Dancing, playing with children, and performing domestic chores such as cleaning and gardening are other means to stay active at home.


Follow an online exercise class.

Take advantage of the many online exercise classes to stay active. Many of those are on YouTube, thus are free. However, if this is your first time performing any of the exercises, be cautious and aware of your own limitations.



Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active. If you have a call, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down. If you decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 1-metre distance from other people.

For parents, instead of sending your kids to get you water or snacks, take the opportunity to stretch your legs every half-hour. A few steps here and there goes a long way.


Stand up.

Reduce your sedentary time by standing up whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting and reclining time every 30 minutes. For those who have set work stations at home, consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing. During sedentary leisure time, prioritise cognitively stimulating activities, such as reading, board games, and puzzles.



Meditation and deep breaths can help you remain calm.


For optimal health, it is also important to remember to eat healthily and stay hydrated. WHO recommends drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages for adults and strictly avoid these in young people, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, or for other health reasons. Ensure eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit the intake of salt, sugar and fat. Prefer whole grains rather than refined foods.


Source: WHO (Regional Office for Europe)

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