A lot can change in six months – COVID-19 is a great example of that. We’ve watched lockdowns start and end around the world, and experienced changes as part of a ‘new normal’ that has impacted our lifestyle and health habits.
For many, staying active is a priority, however, lockdown may have derailed your plans for a healthier you.
We sat down with Nutritional Biochemist Dr Elizabeth Steels to learn some of her tips for staying active while at home in lockdown.
Find an exercise you enjoy
Although it may feel like the last thing you want to do when you feel tired, physical activity has been shown to release endorphins and serotonin into the body; working to increase feelings of joy and satisfaction.
Walking has been shown to help increase the chances of a longer, healthier life, with one study showing that walking can help increase your heart and lung fitness, and improve the management of hypertension, muscular pain and fitness.
The best part is that walking is easy to fit into your daily routine. Try walking to a coffee date with friends or walking with your family to a local park. As a low-impact weight-bearing exercise, it’s easy to take up and can help improve your energy levels plus it’s a chance to take advantage of nature and get outdoors for your daily exercise.
Turn nutritious food into Energy
Evaluating your eating habits may offer an insight into why you may be feeling sluggish and lethargic during the day. A diet high in processed foods and sugars may affect your energy levels as well as your long-term health.
Our nutrient intake is vital in keeping us energised and ensuring our health and wellbeing take a priority in our daily lives.
If you want to hit your nutrient goals, proteins such as lean meats and legumes are fantastic. Iron and zinc found naturally in foods such as broccoli, chicken, salmon, lentils and chickpeas are key sources of natural energy, which can help you feel full for longer.
Make nutrients work for you
There are specific nutrients that have been identified that boost your mental health and energy levels, and, as part of a healthy sleep schedule, they can help your body repair and regenerate at night.
Ubiquinol is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) that has been converted into a substance necessary for use in cellular energy production. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your energy levels. But, as we get older, protecting the body’s cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. The body’s ability to produce CoQ10 declines with age, as does the ability to convert it into ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is essential for energy production in the cells of our body. Ubiquinol benefits include protection against inflammation and oxidative stress, two key factors that may impact your energy levels. You can buy ubiquinol from the chemist.
Vitamin B is also a great option to incorporate into your diet to help boost your energy levels, boost your immune system, and help reduce heart disease risk.
While these are challenging times, it’s important to check in not only on your own health but the health of your family, friends and loved ones. Together, we can exit ‘The New Normal’ better than we entered it, with real-world health benefits to be proud of.
 Dolan P., Kavetsos, G. and Vlaev, I. The Happiness Workout. Social Indicators Research. 2013; 119: 1363-1377.
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