Every Malaysian that experienced the Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 2020 and the subsequent variety of MCO knows what it is like being stuck at home.
The lethargy from being cooped up indoors for too long drains the energy out of you without having to exert much effort.
In some situations, you probably have gained an unhealthy amount of weight due to not being as active as when you had to commute to work or school.
You want to get healthy again but the unpredictability of the pandemic makes committing to a gym membership seems wasteful? Or maybe you are wary of going outside and being exposed to potential virus carriers?
Then this blog is for you, here are seven health hacks to keep you fit and healthy while staying at home;
- Follow online routines
- Create a meal plan
- Carry out chores
- Eat more healthy snacks
- Play games
- Drink more water
- Care for your mental health
Follow Online Routines
With the gym having to shut down so often makes you think that subscribing as a gym member seems risky? Do not worry, now there are plenty of online classes that provide fitness routines that you can do at home!
You can choose what type of online classes you want to follow for the day. Yoga? Pilates? Dance? Flycycle? The option is endless. Whether you want to enrol for one lesson only or maybe you like it and want to enrol in more, there are different types of packages you can purchase and do at home.
But wait, maybe you do not have the funds for a paid class, then why not follow a free routine on Youtube? The online platform has been around for so long it has amassed quite a collection of fitness videos FOR FREE.
You can find that there are many benefits to having easy access to online routines, so now all that is left is for you to spare some time in your day to follow the fitness routine.
Create A Meal Plan
Another health hack that I am sure many of you know, is that exercising regularly can only help you so far, the most important thing is to have a healthy diet.
No, I am not saying you should starve yourself, but instead, I am saying to have a balanced meal on a day-to-day basis.
What is a balanced diet? Well, it consists of every nutrient that your body needs to properly function. Which means nothing is eaten in excess and you’re feeding your body with the necessary nutrient it needs optimally.
An example of a balanced diet is having a serving of fruits and vegetables, proteins, nuts, legumes and whole grains per meal.
It is a struggle at first to maintain the diet as we are used to eating whatever we are craving for, but the discipline pays off and soon enough you will see yourself shedding the MCO weight. Maybe you would even feel healthier than you did before the MCO.
Carry Out Chores
As you can see from the heading, this section is about chores. Just from looking at the word I can feel you sighing. But surprisingly, this groan-inducing task has many health benefits.
You know maybe not everyone has the extra time to follow a fitness routine but everyone HAS to make time to do chores. Can you imagine not doing chores and letting the laundry pile up, letting the house collect dust and letting your dishes go unwashed? Your house will be a pigsty in record time.
You definitely feel tired after doing chores but did you realise that it helps you stay active? It keeps you constantly moving, whether when you are gardening and digging up holes, or when you are cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the floors, it is definitely burning calories.
There are however other ways you can maximise doing chores to get a good workout, simple adjustments to your routine. Such as, you can stand while folding laundry or you can make dishwashing longer by drying and putting away each dish in between washing. Doing chores is like hitting two birds with one stone, you get your house cleaned and you are getting a workout while at it.
Eat More Healthy Snack
You might not have a sweet tooth but you are definitely reaching for the wrong things when you feel like snacking. Desserts like cakes and pastries are not the only thing that is considered as unhealthy snacks, but so are chips and pretzels.
I know those snacks are living temptations but they are not something you want to have every day, especially if they are clogging up your arteries. Unhealthy snacks are definitely carrying unhealthy fats that are damaging to your organs.
Instead, try substituting those with healthier options like frozen berries, an acai bowl, a smoothie or even mixed nuts with granolas. Usually, we reach out for snacks because we want something sweet or salty, these options fulfil it but with healthy fats that help your body.
Nevertheless, you do not have to avoid the unhealthier options forever, instead have it in moderation, maybe once every two weeks or so.
As soon as you saw the headline, you remember your parents telling you to stop playing games because it is unhealthy, well they are not 100% right.
Yes, playing video games excessively can cause poor vision, but when incorporated correctly, you can utilise it to stay healthy.
How do we do it? You can choose either to play video games or any physical ones, either one comes with its own benefits.
Video games now allow you to make full use of your body. Consoles like Nintendo Switch and Wii provide games that require movements such as the Just Dance franchise and the various sports games it has.
Maybe you do not have those consoles so why not play physical games? You remember playing hop-scotch, hide-and-seek, cops and robbers and many others during your childhood right? Get a couple of friends and family and make it a bonding session. Definitely helps you get rid of stress and move a lot (maybe scream a lot too).
Drink More Water
Yes, it is as simple as that. This health hack requires you to drink water and I do not mean juices, coffee, tea or carbonated drinks, I mean plain or mineral water.
We often overlook how water has a lot of health benefits for our bodies, it not only keeps us hydrated, it helps flush out toxins from our bodies and it helps with losing weight.
Prior to being stuck at home, we can say that we forget to drink due to being busy or there is nowhere near to purchase it. At home, you definitely have easy access to it, and if you are still busy remembering it, there are phone applications that can help remind you when to drink.
You just need to fulfil 8 glasses of water or 3 litres a day. Maybe to start making it a habit you can reward yourself whenever you manage to drink 3 litres of water, such as take a break from work and watch that series on television you put off.
Slowly, you can see the effects drinking water has on your health and very obviously on the state of your skin.
Care For Your Mental Health
Finally, the most forgotten health hack, I do believe when people say “stay healthy” they often forget that mental health is important too. You need to care for your mind and emotions as much as you do for your body. A healthier state of mind definitely makes getting out of bed and going about your day easier.
Mental health does not only affect your mood, but it can also affect your body’s health. Stress can lead to all sorts of illnesses which is why you need to have a healthy mind too.
So how do you care for your mental health? There is no one specific way as everyone copes with mental health pressures differently. You can try meditating, taking deep breaths every now and then while just drowning out the outside world for a few minutes.
You can also choose to pamper yourself, have a mental health day where you get a hot shower or bath, put a sheet mask on, nap and maybe have a whole day in bed. The whole point of the day is to just rest and not worry about other things.
When you have a healthier mind, you produce better work quality and have a better quality of life as well.
Staying home does not mean you have to ignore your health and rot there. Wherever you have plenty of options to stay healthy, but it is up to you to have the determination and discipline to maintain that life.