Could quarantining put you at a higher risk for disease? Studies and data analysis show that the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus is isolation. But could the practices of self-isolation, quarantining, and extreme social distancing put you at a higher risk for health conditions over the long term? The surprising answer is it may.
Not only has the pandemic increased our over-sanitization, the very thing that, over the last century, has so dramatically (and negatively) affected the beneficial microbes that are essential to our health, but it has also brought on a complete change of lifestyle for most of us – less exercise, more unhealthy foods, added stress and the anxiety of juggling dwindling finances, job loss, homeschooling, and a lack of childcare, as well as inadequate sleep quality and quantity. All of these factors create a perfect storm for weight gain, increased disease risk, and a decline in the very thing we’re all trying to improve – our immunity.
So, what can we do about it? How do we take this perfect storm of health risks and turn them into a situation that benefits health? The answer – we must adopt new habits and expectations. Life is no longer filled with peaceful studio workouts, separate spaces and time for parents to work and for kids to learn, an abundance of healthy take-out foods at our disposal, and all the other conveniences we’ve come to expect. For most of us right now, life is a mumbled, jumbled mess and we have to learn to prioritize and master this new terrain… for our health, our sanity, and most importantly, our microbes. Here’s what we recommend as your 4-daily-non-negotiables to protect your immunity (and your gut) this fall:
- Consume 6 servings of vegetables (1 serving = 1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked) every day
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes (and it doesn’t have to be complicated… a brisk walk counts!)
- Spend 30 minutes outside
- Get 8 hours of sleep
Do these 4 things every… single… day! Prioritize them above all else, in order to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other health risks during this very stressful time.