Fitness

Covid-19: How to stay healthy in times of social distancing

A healthy diet along with regular exercise can help in boosting the immune system

A healthy diet along with regular exercise can help in boosting the immune system   | Photo Credit: yulkapopkova

Social distancing can be challenging. If you are working from home, and missing the gym, here are some ways to stay healthy. But first, put down those potato chips

A look at Google search trends shows that queries on the immune system have jumped in the last month. Obviouly an after-effect of the spread of the Coronavirus.

For those who don’t know what the immune system is: It is a complex network of cells and tissues that help fight any foreign particle trying to enter the body. Though genetics play a part, the immune system is largely determined by other factors like sleep, stress and eating habits, which play a major role. The germs we are exposed to throughout our life also play a role in our immune response.

“The immune system is generally stronger in people who have a balanced routine between work, food and exercise. So though we are helpless about the system we inherit, one can improve it with proper exercise, balanced diet and low-stress levels,” says city-based paediatrician Dr Ashok Kolluru.

While prevention is always better than cure, for those of us who cannot practise social distancing, Dr Ashok has some advice. “Social distancing is good even for people with a strong immune system, as they could be a carrier of the virus. But, for those who have to step out, it is advisable to keep at least three feet distance from people. Avoid physical contact as much as possible. Wash your hands regularly and touch minimum things from your surroundings.”

He says that children need special attention, as they do not have a very strong immune system because they “are not exposed to a lot of germs as compared to an adult. Encouraging them to be physically active and providing them with a balanced diet is key to keep them healthy.”

Ginger tea

Ginger tea  

You are what you eat

“The oldest trick in the book to boost the immune system is to use turmeric,” says dietician and nutritionist Anjali Dange. Drawing up a list of food items that will help, Anjali says, “Turmeric can bolster the body’s immuno-modulating capacity. Though turmeric is an essential part of Indian cooking, it is better to consume some of it in raw form. People can make neem and turmeric balls by grinding them into a fine paste and rolling them into small balls. Preferably they should be fresh, but they can also be stored.”

Recipe for Sukku coffee
  • Ingredients
  • Two pieces of ginger, slightly crushed
  • Four tablespoons of coriander seeds
  • Palm jaggery to taste
  • Method
  • Bring four cups of water to boil. Add ginger and coriander seeds to it, lower the heat and simmer for three to four minutes.
  • Remove from heat and strain
  • Add the palm jaggery and stir until dissolves

The closing of schools means that children are going to spend a lot of time indoors. Anjali has a fun, productive and healthy way to meet this challenge. “Fruits do wonders to the kids’ immune systems. So rather than serving them fried snacks or processed food, parents can try making fruit-based smoothies or popsicles at home. These will not only wkeep themengaged but also ensure they are eating healthy.”

Anjali also advises replacing tea or coffee with sukku (dry ginger) tea or coffee.

“For ages, sukku tea has been used as a remedy against cold and flu. Ginger is a strong antioxidant that boosts the immune system naturally. It contains vitamins like magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium that help in countering cold viruses.”

A 45-minute yoga routine every day will help you stay in good health

A 45-minute yoga routine every day will help you stay in good health   | Photo Credit: FatCamera

In good shape

With social distancing now essential, one can hardly step out for gym sessions or yoga classes. K Ramesh, Head of the Department at Andhra University’s Yoga Village, says that a 45-minute yoga routine daily will help people stay fit. “Being fit boosts our immune system and even a single workout session will improve our ability to fight germs. So a routine that includes 10 minutes each of meditation and pranayam along with 25 minutes of stretching exercises should be good to keep your mind and body healthy,” he says. For elder people who can no longer head to parks for their morning or evening strolls, breathing exercises like Kapalabhati and Nadi Shodhana are essential. “Elderly people can do simple poses like katichakrasana, badhakonasana or Shavasana. They can also practise basic stretching exercises like neck rolls, chin-to-chest, ear-to-shoulder, wrists rolls and shoulder circles,” he adds.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 6:22:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/how-to-stay-healthy-in-times-of-social-distancing/article31117314.ece

Next Story