Let’s make sure we come out of isolation in our little bubbles, healthier and in better shape than we started. We might as well take that opportunity.
Here at PreKure, we’re looking at five behaviours which will help get us healthier.
- The first one is eating well
I’m interested in mainly, not exactly the macronutrients you eat, but moving to whole, real food – the exact opposite of the ultra-processed food which most people seem to eat these days. I’m particularly interested in getting your blood glucose down. Why am I interested in that right at the moment? Because the lower your blood glucose, the better your immune system functions, and if you can produce some ketones now and then, then your body is producing its own oxidants. You’ve got an endogenous defence system going well, so eating well is important.
- Sleeping is important
Frankly, if you can’t get yourself organised to stay in bed for eight hours when you’re home all day and all night, you need to sort out your priorities. This is a real opportunity to get your act together and make sure you have that eight hour sleep in one go. Get that blue light out of your face an hour or two before bed. What produces blue light? Digital devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and also television. So take this opportunity to start reading a book. You’ll have a good night’s sleep, feel refreshed, and have a good day.
- Moving your body
You’ve heard me say it before – fitness is medicine. There’s never been a better opportunity to get out of your house and exercise. In fact, it’s one of the few things you’re actually legally allowed out of your house to do. One of the reasons you might want to move around and catch some of that autumn sunlight is because the production of vitamin D, which sunlight really pushes, has been shown to be one of the best immune system boosters. Virtually all of the mortality in COVID-19 has been associated with low vitamin D. It might not be causal, but it just might be and it’s worth doing.
- Have some fun
My personal fun activity at the moment is Yahtzee, the dice game. You‘re familiar with this? When I’m winning, it’s a game of skill, when I lose, it’s a game of random chance. Why do you want to have some fun? Well, we know that your wellbeing and the function of your immune system depends on your having some positive emotions.
How many positive emotions do we need? Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist in the US, has studied this for two decades. She suggests that if you can get positive emotions outweighing negative emotions by a factor of three to one, you’re likely to be doing much better than people who are unable to do that.
In these times, stuck at home, you’re going to have to specifically seek out some fun. Board games are good. Kids’ cooking can be good. What are you doing to have fun? Please let us know how your fun activities are going and post it on PreKure’s Facebook page, if you feel inclined.
- Lastly, keep doing some learning
Over the next three weeks, every night there’s going to be a different expert from faculty talking to you about some of these aspects of health and wellbeing, and thriving in isolation. You’ll hear from myself, Dr Carlo Bellini, Dr Louise Schofield, Dr Catherine Crofts and Dr Caryn Zinn, and you can learn from us or you can do your own learning online or reading.
I’ve been doing lots of learning myself online about COVID-19, epidemiology and infectious disease epidemiology. Now that might not be your idea of fun learning, but it’s mine.
So eat, sleep, move, have some fun and keep learning.