Since the COVID pandemic began, we all, to some degree, have had to quarantine.

Quarantining, as we all know, is to help limit the spread of COVID through our communities. We all likely have found ourselves spending much more of our time in some sedentary-type lifestyle during the quarantine time. Perhaps our pants may be a little tighter, or we need to notch a new hole into our belt. A few studies have even found links to time spent in quarantine and associated weight gain.

Whether due to stress or boredom, there have been increases in the amount of junk food we eat and decrease the amount of time we spend active.

Gyms are often closed, and our previous blog touches on the risks associated with using the gym during the pandemic. Delivery apps now put any snack or fried food a few clicks away. Say it with us… “I have ordered delivery far too many times, and I think I have a problem.”

The good news is despite the potential weight gain; you can lose it.

The best news is that losing it may be easier than you think. The most feasible ways to lose excess weight are through more minor lifestyle changes. Small changes over time allow you to skip the “cold turkey” method, where you would likely end up just craving the food more.

An excellent first step is to go to the grocery store before you go to the food delivery or takeout apps.

Since the pandemic began, many grocers have even added a “delivery” option for your groceries. Grocery delivery will allow you to remain distanced from others and limit potential exposure to COVID. If you physically go to the store, remember to mask up and avoid crowded aisles.

Foods you prepare from grocery items, almost always, will be “healthier” than foods you get delivered to you already prepared. This is because we control what goes into the food. We also get the bonus of preparing our food to our distinct tastes. Ever gotten delivery only to be wholly disappointed and cooking something yourself anyways..?

The next step you can take is to supplement your indoor time with time spent outdoors.

Coincidentally the pandemic is starting to slow, and vaccine availability grows as we approach some of the most pleasant nature scenes and weather of the year. Many of us see spring blooms begin, and temperatures rise above freezing for the first time in a season. Now is the perfect time to take a 30-minute break and go for a walk outside.

Outdoor walks will allow you to be distant from closed in crowded spaces more prone to the transmission of COVID. Many of us know that being outdoors in a slight breeze may lower COVID transmission risk. Adding more activity (of any kind) into your day leads to more energy expended along with a multitude of health benefits.

Lastly, if you are interested in getting back into the gym, be sure to take extra precautions.

Our previous blog referenced earlier notes the potential increased risk in going to a gym during the pandemic, but thankfully we are seeing more comprehensive access to vaccinating our communities. If you are a fully vaccinated individual, you will be able to return safely to the gym but still follow the proper precautions. Mask up, distance from others, and using appropriate cleaning products before using the equipment.

Re-introducing your access to the gym will allow you to increase your activity levels day to day significantly. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of being fully vaccinated before returning to the gym. Without being vaccinated, your risk of becoming ill or passing on the virus dramatically increases. It may also help find a more open gym and has a solid amount of ventilation through the facility. Avoid gyms in basements or entirely closed-off environments with little space for air to flow in or out.

Staying safe during the pandemic doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice other aspects of your health.

In fact, poor health choices during a year-long pandemic may even attribute to increased risk for severe illness from COVID. We can avoid or lose our “quarantine 15” without directly increasing COVID infection risk with smart lifestyle changes.

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