How not to break loose and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle after quarantine

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Quarantine brought into our lifestyle a philosophy of productive solitude and the opportunity to try useful skills – from culinary to artistic. But also the question of health and the value of life has become acute, and now we have plenty of reasons to think about maintaining health.

Acquired skills in healthy eating, training, meditation and self-discipline helped not to despair in the midst of a pandemic, but may come to naught when quitting quarantine. It's so easy to break! The opposite may also happen. Who during isolation did not manage to pull up a way of life, but wants to be engaged in health issues, is in a risk zone. It has been proven that a tough HLS in the form of diets and tedious workouts can harm your health.

Maintaining balance and a sense of proportion is not an easy task. To achieve the goal, it is important to choose a strategy that is comfortable for yourself. One of these is Harm Reduction, or harm reduction. A strategy consists of things that we often think about, but often ignore: lifestyle, nutrition, relaxation, habits and addictions. If something goes wrong in one of the areas, the influence of risk factors that lead to the development of diseases is amplified. By regulating such factors, it is possible to reduce their harm and improve health. Useful skills and habits acquired during quarantine can be turned into a holistic lifestyle, and after its completion, also thanks to this strategy.

Harm Reduction makes the transition to positive change gradually, without stress and overload. A sense of proportion, awareness and a competent approach to transformation are the main elements. Below we look at how to prepare an action plan and get out of quarantine “fully armed”, no matter what tasks we face.


There are numerous cases where the desire to lose weight led to thoughtless diets and starvation. Studies prove: in addition to eating disorders, strict diets lead to bouts of overeating and impaired brain function.

After two months of working on yourself, quitting quarantine makes it easy to get into trouble by breaking into the summer terraces of your favorite restaurants. If on quarantine the scales showed a couple of additional kilograms, it is worth considering a gradual return to the correct diet, pay attention to whole and seasonal products.

To maintain a healthy diet, remember the principles: reducing salt (5 g per day) and sugar (25-50 g per day), the exclusion of trans fats, processed foods containing hidden sugar products. It is undesirable to eat red meat, potatoes, corn and milk in large quantities, fried, salty and sweet foods should be excluded from the diet.

It is better to replace these products with seasonal vegetables and fruits, berries and protein-rich foods. Instead of sausages and smoked meats, give preference to fish, poultry and dietary meat (veal), and replace lunches and breakfasts saturated with fast carbohydrates, for example, brown rice risotto, flax granola, oats and unrefined grains, green buckwheat, whole grain toast with avocado.

Refusing sweets is an even more complicated decision. Desserts based on coconut milk and carob or Jerusalem artichoke syrup, berry-grain granola, matcha desserts, moderate doses of peanut butter and dark chocolate with cocoa content of at least 70% will come to the rescue.

Do not forget about food containing trace elements. These are sea mollusks (shrimp, mussels and oysters), lentils, chickpeas, tofu cheese, currants, beets, asparagus, nuts, avocados, noble mold cheeses and medium-fat cottage cheese. It is vital to maintain water balance, and more than ever it is relevant in a room where the air is not humidified enough.

An effective way to stay afloat if you are not able to give up your favorite product is interval food. During the selected period of time, you can eat your favorite dishes, including guilty pleasures, in small portions, after which you starve for a time doubled. But before you practice this method, consult your doctor.

Activity and relaxation

During quarantine, you can’t "step" the daily rate? That's not news. But you must admit, even in normal mode, activity with a sedentary lifestyle suffers. Harm Reduction encourages consideration of additional opportunities for physical activity. These can be simple things: walks during the lunch break, competently composed cardio loads, yoga. Already today, you can use the stairs instead of the elevator, go out of town on the weekend, start the morning with charging. And if self-isolation is effective, remember that the main task now is to maintain muscle tone and relaxation. Therefore, preference should be given to moderate aerobic exercise. After quarantine, create a training plan according to the characteristics of the body. For example, running is not suitable for everyone – it can be replaced by a walk for 1-2 hours, the effectiveness of which is equivalent to 40 minutes on a treadmill.

Rest is equally important in maintaining balance. Working with the quality and duration of sleep, burnout and causes of stress are key elements of the approach. Doctors recommend alternating mental and physical activity – for example, a 10-minute break away from monitors every hour. Determine what helps in energy recovery: meditation, sports, auto-training, or vocals. Do not ignore the change of activity or work, and passive rest and communication with loved ones will charge you with positive emotions.

Habits and addictions

A simple but often ignored truth is moderation. With regard to alcohol, many imperceptibly cross the line and face a number of problems: from alcohol dependence to the development of chronic diseases. Determine the measure, do not drink a bad mood with a cocktail and adhere to the rule 1: 1 (one glass of alcohol is equal to one glass of water). For example, the use of dry red wine in small quantities affects the elimination of toxins from the body. The drink will be useful at dinner, but not every day and no more than half a glass.

An even more common cause of health problems is smoking. According to the WHO, 7.2 million people smoke in Ukraine. This makes our country a leader in mortality from cardiovascular diseases in Europe. The biggest threat from cigarettes is burning – smoke contains 7000 harmful chemicals and tar. In addition to harm to the smoker himself, it affects the health of others, provoking passive smoking. The seriousness is confirmed by statistics: every 8th death from smoking is among passive smokers. This became even more relevant during quarantine – breaks on the balcony or at the window can turn into a disaster for your loved ones.

The most appropriate would be a complete cessation of smoking. But this is not always possible due to nicotine addiction. In search of a solution, a number of alternative products have been developed. They retain nicotine consumption, while eliminating combustion, which means smoke. This reduces the amount of harmful substances by 95% and eliminates secondhand smoke. Among these products are nicotine patches and chewing gum, electronic nicotine delivery systems (electronic cigarettes and tobacco heating systems). They provide for different methods and speed of delivery of the substance, so they must be selected individually and together with a specialist.

Successful smoking control experience in developed countries has demonstrated the effectiveness of using products with reduced risk. After the introduction of alternatives in Japan, cigarette sales decreased by 5 times, and the UK reached a historic low at all – 14.7% of the adult population smoked in 2019.

It would seem that out of self-isolation full of strength and energy will help us truths – but for some reason it is not always easy for us to observe them. Here, as in other areas, competent goal setting will help. And the realism and moderation of measures will consolidate the results and improve health.

See also: 6 healthy lifestyle trends for people with a sense of proportion



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