Due to COVID-19 our lifestyles have changed dramatically and many of the things we used to do to keep active and healthy are not currently possible.
Although our current routines are disrupted, leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping physically active is still important as it can helps boost our immune system and support good mental health.
Read our tips below for keeping healthy and happy during COVID-19.
As life as we know it changes and physical interaction is limited, being active is more important than ever.
Doing some form of exercise is an easy and cost free way to boost your mental and physical health and now is the ideal time to try a new activity.
If you’re new to exercise, or feeling a bit lost because your usual exercise routine isn’t possible right now, here are some ideas to get you moving:
- Workout online: There are lots of different free exercise options online to try, regardless of your fitness level. From yoga and strength workouts, to pilates, High Intensity Training (HIT) and more. Check out LeisureFit Centre's LeisureFit @ Home online workout options for some inspiration.
- Go freestyle: If a structured routine is not your style, get creative and build your own workout – instead of weights, use household items like filled water bottles, and cans or jars of food, walk or run on the spot for 30 second intervals, do some star jumps, planks, sit-ups, push ups or even burpees. Anything to get your heart rate up a little.
- Go solo outside if you can, or with one other person (excludes family members) keeping 1.5 metres away from others. Walking, cycling and running are great solo activities and safe if you are feeling well and haven’t been asked to self-isolate. Its suggest to go early in the morning or ate in the day avoiding streets and parks with high foot traffic to minimise your risk.
- Remember to take some hand sanitisercontaining at least 60% alcohol. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water when for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get indoors.
A word of advice before you start: if you’re new to exercise, start small – maybe try 10 minutes of yoga or walking a day, then gradually build up.
Even 10 minutes of movement a day can help your body and mind feel better. Encourage your loved ones to take a moment to move their bodies too; it’s a great opportunity to develop a healthy new habit!
Importantly, if you’re not feeling well, follow the advice of your health professional - including rest. It’s vital that you prioritise your health and safety as well as that of your family, friends and community.
A healthy diet can enhance your immunity by providing essential vitamins and minerals by encouraging a wider range of good bacterial in your gut.
Research has shown that these bacteria play an important role in supporting the body’s immune response to infection and can even boost your mood.
Read our healthy eating tips to help get you started.
There is lots happening right now and the way we live our lives is evolving and changing on almost a daily basis. Read some tips below from Beyond Blue and Helping Minds to help you look after your mental health during this time:
- Media coverage: find a healthy balance and limit news and social media if you and your family find it too distressing.
- Sources of information: access credible information from government and health authorities (i.e. WA Department of Health , Federal Department of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Maintain perspective: remember that experts around the world are working hard to help. Also, while COVID-19 can affect anyone, those with the disease haven’t done anything wrong so don’t make assumptions.
- Stay calm and be practical: follow advice from credible sources (see above) and resist the urge to panic as this makes it harder for authorities to manage the outbreak effectively.
- Stay connected and/or seek support: keep in touch with your family, friends, colleagues or professional support services by phone, video call, social media or email.
- Stick to a routine: aim to get plenty of sleep, maintain physical activity, eat healthy foods and allocate specific work hours and breaks. Stay curious about your new experience and how you can use it to develop healthy habits.
- Seek financial support if you need it: visit the Australian Government Services Australia website, Financial Counsellors Association of WA website or call the National Debt Helpline.
While the ‘new normal’ may cause heightened levels of anxiety and stress at first, following these tips can help reduce these feelings and support your mental health so you are better able to stay mentally healthy.
The healthier we are, the more likely we are to manage infections like the common cold and other viruses.
Now is the perfect time to develop good habits which will become a long term investment in our health. Once unhealthy lifestyle habits become our new norm, it becomes very difficult to kick them later on once life becomes more normal.
There is a big opportunity in this crisis to rethink some of the things that might reduce your disease risk in the longer term. You only have to look outside to see how many more people are out and about walking, cycling and exercising taking advantage of the extra time we have in our lives.
If you are a smoker, it’s not too late to kick the habit and if you quit now, the health benefits can kick in literally within hours.
As well as looking after your physical and mental health it is crucial that you maintain good personal hygiene to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes:
- Washing hands often and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or an alcohol based sanitiser.
- Covering sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow. Throw the tissue in the bin immediately.
- Staying home if you're sick. Do not go to work or school.
- Cleaning surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, keyboards and phones regularly.
It is also important to maintain social distancing by:
- Minimising all unnecessary contact with others
- Keeping at least 1.5 metres or two arms lengths (minimum) away from others
- Avoiding physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
- Using tap and pay instead of cash.
For more information, visit the HealthyWA website.
Hand Sanitiser Safety and Children
Alcohol based sanitiser can be dangerous, particularly if ingested by children. Toxic alcohols such as methanol make the product more dangerous and some of the dispensing containers are very similar to water bottles, increasing the risk of accidental ingestion and poisoning. Even a small amount can be harmful for young children and babies.
Health Professionals advise that hand sanitiser products should be stored safely and out of reach of children. When they are used by young children it should be under the supervision of an adult. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is also a safe and effective option to help combat COVID-19
For advice on possible poisoning please contact the 24 hour WA Poison Information Centre on 13 11 26
Mental health support services
There are many mental health support services who are open and ready to help if you need support.
For a full list, visit the WA Government's Think Mental Health website or the Federal Government's Head to Health website.