Lockdown has made you gain weight.
To be specific, there's a 65% chance that lockdown has made you gain weight. And that's understandable. Long periods of inactivity aren't healthy, and for a lot of people that's all lockdown has been.
A multi-week period of muscle decay, fat gain and an overall decline in health.
But don't despair! There is plenty that you can do to combat the negative effects of enforced inactivity, and it starts with understanding the impact lockdown has had on your body.
HOW LOCKDOWN EFFECTS THE BODY
Before making a positive change, it’s important to know just what's happening to your body in isolation. From professor of molecular exercise physiology, Keith Baar, here are five key effects:
Muscle Loss: we take months to build muscle, but can lose it in just one week of sedentary lifestyle.
Weaker heart: raising yourheart rate with exercise makes your heart stronger. And if it's not getting stronger, then it's just getting weaker.
Fat gain: the combination ofl ess exercise and easier access to snacks means you likely aren't going to be burning as many calories as you're consuming. This means fat gain.
Bad posture: given the option to work and relax on the couch rather than an office chair, we'll take it. Unfortunately this can put a lot of strain on our muscles and cause some real damage.
Bad sleep: lockdown is likely going to impact your sleep for the worst. A key factor in this is a lack of vitamin D; staying indoors all day can result in fatigue and a disrupted circadian rhythm.
HOW CAN I MAKE A CHANGE
Knowing these effects, the logical next question to ask is what you can be doing to reverse them. And the answer is really simple. But simple doesn't mean easy. It takes effort to make a change in these areas, so don't refrain from starting just because of how obvious these suggestions might sound.
Exercise: Seriously, get some exercise. Go for a walk, do some yoga, get on YouTube and follow along to an at-home workout. Exercise develops muscle, strengthens the heart, reduces fat, fixes posture and helps you sleep better. There is no reason not to do it.
Get outdoors: Even if you're in an area under heavy lockdown, or you just don't like wearing a mask, get outside for a while. Getting some natural light during the day will give you vitamin D, help regulate your sleep cycle and let you concentrate better on the tasks you have to do.
Sleep better: this is easier said than done, but there is still plenty you can be doing to make sure you're getting the best sleep possible. Don’t use screens in the bedroom, make sure you have a set time for sleeping and waking and make sure your bedroom has an optimal temperature, darkness and noise level.
Hopefully these facts and suggestions can help you to get a better understanding of how your body may have been changing under lockdown, and some idea of what you can be doing to make a change.