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Healthy living is more important than ever

Every New Year we might inevitably plan a couple of resolutions, losing weight or living a healthy life being front and centre. But 2020 proved that sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. However, it might have also been the year that more people than ever took up a form of exercise to 1) keep sane while during lockdown, 2) stay healthy while gyms are closed, or 3) get out of the confines of home when we were offered the initial exercise hours window. 

2021 seems to have echoed the need for people to exercise and live healthy lifestyles. If you still need to take the first step to a healthier lifestyle, Dr Robyn Holgate, ER24’s Chief Medical Officer, offers a few ways in which you can start living healthily. Remember to always wear a mask, to social distance and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

Healthy lifestyle recommendations:

  • lower salt intake
  • limit alcohol intake
  • balanced diet (everything in moderation)
  • exercise regularly
  • stop smoking
  • drink more water
  • eat more fruit and vegetables
  • spend time outdoors (safely and within curfew hours)
  • try and manage your stress
  • get a good night’s sleep (6 – 8 hours)

Why leading a healthy lifestyle is important:

According to Dr Holgate, “good nutrition, exercise and healthy behaviours are critical for longevity. Chronic lifestyle diseases are related to unhealthy behaviours such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and unhealthy behaviours like, for example, tobacco use.”

Eating healthy is not only for those who need to lose weight – everyone should lead a balanced lifestyle.

Exercising after a COVID-19 infection?

Dr Etti Barsky, a GP and Sports Physician, says that “getting back into training after recovering from a COVID infection is not as clear cut as it is after other viral infections.” (Barsky, Exercise after a COVID-19 infection – Dr Etti Barsky, 2020)

However, she goes on to say that “international sporting and cardiology experts therefore agree on a stepwise approach to resuming physical activity in the following way:”

COVID-19 POSITIVE & Asymptomatic
Wait 2 weeks before resuming training.

COVID-19 POSITIVE & Mild Symptoms
Wait for all symptoms to clear, then rest for a further 14 days before you try a workout.

COVID-19  POSITIVE & Severe Symptoms/Hospitalised WITHOUT heart issues
Wait for all symptoms to clear, rest for 2 weeks then be evaluated by your doctor.

COVID-19 POSITIVE & Severe Symptoms/Hospitalised WITH heart issue
Evaluation and clearance from a cardiologist once the 2 week rest period has been completed, is necessary.

The more high-level athlete you are, the more it is advised to go for a formal check-up which would include an ECG and cardiac enzyme level checks.

Knowing that the virus can cause complications in many systems of the body, the best practice is to resume training in a slow and steady way. You need to pay attention to both the physical and psychological effects of a workout. Things to look out for during or after your workout would be: –

  • A higher than usual resting and exercise heart rate, as well as a longer time to recover.
  • Excessive fatigue – this includes knowing that you had a low-intensity workout and feeling completely exhausted afterwards (as if you’d done a much harder workout).
  • Shortness of breath – more so than you normally would be during or after a training session.
  • Dizziness, Chest pain, Muscle pain and Palpitations.

The best way to go about getting active again, is to start with a very low intensity session and gradually build yourself up over a 3 – 4 week period.

It is also advised that you consult your doctor with any questions as they will have your medical history at hand.

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