Tips for staying healthy physically, systemically and mentally during the global covid19 pandemic

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Staying healthy during the Covid19 pandemic should include eating properly, getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep. Social distancing is important to flatten the curve and reduce the demands on the healthcare system however, it will do little to improve your mental and physical health. We come into contact with viruses regularly and it is important to make sure our immune system can adequately protect us.  Contact with the coronavirus or any other virus requires your immune system to react efficiently and effectively. It is not known why some people are having more difficulty with this virus while others may have no symptoms at all, although I suspect that those who already have problems physically are more likely to have a more difficult time with it. Those who are truly healthy meaning they are physically sound, eat well and live an active lifestyle are probably less likely to have a problem with this virus or most others. You may hear from chiropractors and others who practice functional medicine which is more holistic in how it approaches the care of the patient the idea that a properly functioning immune system in a healthy person can resist illness better. Our scientists should look at why some people get ill while others do not to be truly preventative.   The pandemic has shown the weaknesses in our current healthcare system which is disjointed and woefully underprepared even though scientists have been warning us for years that this could happen. Children appear to be relatively immune to the virus and we need to understand why.   Until there is a reliable test for the public to see who has developed antibodies to it, there will probably be more questions than answers. Fortunately, there are a number of companies such as Johnson and Johnson working in vaccinations while others are working on treatments and tests to see who is immune so they can go back to work. We as a society will get past the coronavirus but be more vulnerable to other viruses if we do not return to a normal way of living after this has passed, however, people will not easily forget the pandemic of 2020.

Do these things now to improve your overall health

Eat properly.  Be sure to do a lot of your own cooking instead of buying frozen processed foods.  There is no shortage of fresh ingredients and now is a time to cook things from scratch. Juicing vegetables can be a great source of vitamins and minerals.  There are two types of juicers you can buy, masticating and centrifugal.   Masticating juicers will give you some of the fiber and will give you more juice.   Adding some fruit or berries to the vegetables you re juicing will give it a little sweetness but be careful not to add too much or you will add too much sugar. Beets are also full of iron and a little bit added to your juice can add lots of flavors.  Carrots are full of vitamin A, and K and if eaten raw have tons of fiber. Swiss chard is full of potassium, vitamin A and C.  Farmers markets are filled with great vegetables that you and your family can consume on a regular basis which are filled with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy and function disease-free. You can also add fresh ginger which is an anti-inflammatory and is good for reducing inflammation in the body. Grilling or microwaving vegetables is a great way of preparing them.   Asparagus or Brussel sprouts are great on the grill with a little olive oil. Carrots can be steamed.  Squash soup is great in the instant pot and there are tons of recipes for this online. There are many other root vegetables that are good for us, some of which you may not know about such as Yucca which is delicious either fried or boiled with garlic and breadfruit which is anti-inflammatory. Most diseases develop as a result of inflammation including circulatory problems.  Breadfruit has a high glycemic index even though it is healthy for us to eat it. Prepare meals yourself and develop cooking skills.   When you prepare foods yourself, you know what is in them, how much sodium is being used.  You are likely to find out that there are tons of recipes online including those for the instant pot.   This past weekend, I made BBQ ribs in the instant pot which made it easy along with Brazilian black beans which usually takes hours, but now with the instant pot cooks in an hour.

Exercise regularly. 

Even though you are home, getting outside while social distancing is good for us.  Go for a walk or a run.   Get some sunshine which will make your body produce vitamin D, which is important for immune function. Exercises such as gluteal kicks, lateral leg raises, bridging and planking can keep your back strong and may prevent lower back pain. Running or going out for a bicycle ride is a great way to exercise while social distancing.  More importantly, right now, there are few people on the roads to it is much safer than usual even on the busy thoroughfares.

Stay connected. 

We are social beings and humans need to stay in touch with each other.  While social distancing is the norm, you can stay connected with family and friends by using today's technology. Group Facetime on the iPhone.  This past weekend was my daughter's birthday and everyone joined in to sing her happy birthday on a group facetime. Zoom. Another popular technology is zoom who offers a free version with limited timed meetings. Google Hangouts is similar to zoom.  It allows you to have groups of people getting together.   Learn more about it here.

Take on that new hobby

Have you ever wanted to play the piano, guitar, or some other instrument?  What about playing learning to play a card game or even learning how to play Chess. Learn Guitar. While we are distancing, you can learn guitar free for three months from Fender.  They have an online program that you can do at your own pace.  Get that old guitar out and learn how to play it.  My first electric guitar was a Fender Strat and it is still my main guitar 45 years later.  You can start your free lessons which can last three months. Learn Piano - Simply Piano is an app you can download for the iPhone or the iPad and it may be available in other formats as well.   I played piano when I was young and my teacher taught me classical so I switched to guitar.   When my wife redid her office in front of the house, she wanted to get rid of our old electric piano.  I told her to put it in the basement and eventually I would find the time to learn.   Now, I have the time and have been using this app which is free for 7 days and then you pay for a year of usage.   So far, I am impressed with what I have accomplished in about a week of using it and the old piano has been getting used.   If you have that piano or keyboard sitting around the house unused, now you can devote an hour or so a day and by the time the virus has cleared, you will be a piano player.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is important for our immune system, for pain control, and for our mental health as well. Evidence suggests you will also find it easier to maintain your weight if you improve your sleep habits. Regular sleep improves function of the cardiovascular system as well and is important for the circulatory system and the maintenance of normal blood pressure.  Your immune system will benefit from sleep as well research suggests that improved sleep lowers inflammation in the body. Be sure to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.