4 Surprising Wellness Benefits of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on our everyday lives. Have these changes caused your lifestyle to be more or less healthy? The answer to this question may be complicated due to the ebbs and flows of the past year, but in some ways, it has led to healthier lifestyles. Regardless of your response, the pandemic has affected all of us in numerous ways, some that have led to routines that involve a lot more home cooking, more time to exercise, utilization of telehealth for easier access to physical and mental health care, and staying connected with family, friends, and colleagues through Zoom social hours, coffee chats and virtual book clubs.
Cooking at Home
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Americans to make major changes to their lives, including how they eat. With restaurants shut down at varying levels, approximately 60% of Americans report cooking at home more often. Generally, when people cook at home, they consume lower amounts of sodium, saturated fat, total fat, and overall calories than they would at a restaurant. Think about the size of the plate your food is served on at a restaurant; these large portions can cause your calorie intake to increase significantly. When you eat meals you cook at home, you are able to choose and plate your food in a way that meets your nutrition goals. Good nutrition supports your immune system, boosts your mood, and improves how your sleep. Because of this, home cooking can make you physically fit, and it can also make you financially fit. Dining out or getting take-out multiple times a week (or day!) certainly adds up. Cooking at home can save you money, extra calories and give you a fun, stress-relieving activity to do.
Need some inspiration? Some of our favorite places to find healthier recipes online can be found below. Don’t be afraid to use Google to find healthier versions of your favorite meals.
General healthy recipes
Slow cooker recipes
Air fryer recipes
Regular exercise is essential for our health, even under normal circumstances. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day, five days per week. Exercise makes you healthier, happier, boosts your immune system, and improves your sleep. The fitness industry has changed drastically due to the pandemic. With gyms, boutique studios, and other fitness centers being closed temporarily, many people have had to find creative ways to get and stay fit. To move more at home, people have created their own home gyms or found ways to stay active from their living rooms, utilizing YouTube videos, supporting their local yoga, barre, or cycling studio with virtual classes, or using other fitness apps and home equipment. Many of those working from home have had the ability to take advantage of using their commuting time to exercise. Although it may have taken some effort to adjust to new fitness routines initially, regular physical activity can help you optimize your health and well-being during the pandemic and beyond. Check out the free fitness apps below and consider incorporating some of them into your fitness routine.
Free Fitness Apps
Nike Training Club
Map My Run
The pandemic has fast-tracked the adoption of telehealth services, which enables healthcare appointments to be done at home through video. The utilization of telehealth has made it easier for many people to access healthcare, including those in historically marginalized communities or those who cannot access medical specialists. Logistically, telehealth has removed the barriers of having to find childcare, wasting time sitting in waiting rooms, and having to leave the comfort of your own home, and it has become the new norm.
Technology to Connect with Family, Friends, and Colleagues
Although individuals are still being advised to social distance, that was never intended to mean social isolation. As we have had to get creative with exercise and the way we are receiving healthcare, we have had to get creative with how we are socializing. This has led to the rise of programs like Zoom for work meetings and group hangouts, coffee chats, book clubs, and happy hours. You might not be able to have movie night with your friends from the same couch, but Teleparty is an app that can be used to synchronize your favorite shows on Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO with your friends. The rise in technology has also been fundamental for employees in numerous jobs across many industries. Countless organizations have been forced to replace in-person meetings with Zoom meetings and while a day of online meetings can be tedious, the trade-off is not having to commute into the office each day, leaving more time for family, exercise, and home cooking.
The pandemic has caused us to pay closer attention to our health. Adapting to the current times has shifted all of our routines, forcing us to cook more, get creative with how we exercise and communicate, and utilize telehealth services for appointments. These factors will affect the design of corporate wellness programs in 2021 and beyond, but the ultimate goal will always be the same: a healthier workforce!