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Study States 8 Lifestyle Habits Can Add Up Over Two Decades To Your Life 

According to a new unpublished study that analyzed data from US veterans, adding eight healthy lifestyle habits to your life between the ages of 40 and 60 could extend your life by up to 24 years, depending on what age you begin implementing the habits. 

Even on the older end, the study states that if you start implementing the habits at age 60, you could still potentially gain 18 years to your life. 

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“There’s a 20-year period in which you can make these changes, whether you do it gradually or all at once. We also did an analysis to see if we eliminated people with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer and the like, does it change the outcome? And it really didn’t, so, if you start off with chronic diseases, making changes does still help,” said lead study author Xuan-Mai Nguyen, a health science specialist for the Million Veteran Program at the VA Boston Healthcare System. 

The habits are relatively well-known: eat a healthy diet, exercise, maintain low stress levels, keep positive social relationships, get a full night’s sleep, don’t smoke, don’t drink in excess, and avoid hard drugs/opioids. While these habits may seem rather obvious, it’s important to understand just how much of a difference they can make in your life, and it’s encouraging to know that it’s never too late in life to make the changes. 

“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s or 60s, it still is beneficial. This is not out of reach — this is actually something attainable for the general population,” Nguyen said

The study was presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, Nutrition 2023, and it showed how the study looked at the lifestyle behaviors of around 720,000 military veterans between the ages of 40 and 99. 

“Adding just one healthy behavior to a man’s life at age 40 provided an additional 4.5 years of life. Adding a second led to seven more years, while adopting three habits prolonged life for men by 8.6 years. As the number of additional lifestyle changes climbed, so did the benefits for men, adding up to nearly a quarter century of extra life,” Nguyen said, according to CNN

Nguyen went on to explain how women saw major changes in life span as well. “Adopting just one healthy behavior added 3.5 years to a woman’s life, while two added eight years, three 12.6 years and embracing all the healthy habits extended a woman’s life by 22.6 years.”

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“Doing all eight had a synergistic effect, sort of an added boost to extend your life, but any small change made a difference,” Nguyen said.

“An important strength of this analysis was that the population was highly diverse by race, ethnicity, and SES (socioeconomic status),” said senior study author and leading nutrition researcher Dr. Walter Willett.

The study also ranked all eight habits in order from which could give the largest increase in longevity, the following percentages were all taken from the study itself: 

  1. Exercise: “We looked at whether they did light, moderate or vigorous activity compared to not doing anything and just sitting on the couch. People who lived longer did 7.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise a week. Just to give you a baseline — if you can walk up a flight of stairs without losing your breath, that’s four minutes of the 7.5,” Nguyen said.
  2. Staying away from/not becoming addicted to opioids can reduce the risk of an earlier death by 38%.
  3. Never using tobacco can reduce the risk of death by 29%.
  4. Managing stress and reducing your daily stress levels can reduce early death by 22%.
  5. Eating a plant based diet could increase your chances of living a longer life by 21%.
  6. Avoiding excessive drinking and binge drinking, having more than four alcoholic drinks per day, could reduce your risk of death by 19%.
  7. Getting enough sleep every night, at least seven to nine hours a night with no insomnia, can reduce early death from other causes by 18%.

Having and maintaining positive social relationships can help life longevity by 5%. “Five percent may seem small, but that’s still a decrease in terms of all-cause mortality. Every little bit helps, whether you pick physical activity or make sure you’re surrounded by positive social support,” Nguyen said.

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Study Finds Regular Physical Activity Could Reduce Covid-19 Risk 

According to a data analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, regular exercise can lower the risk of developing Covid-19 or getting seriously ill when one contracts the virus. The data suggests that about 20 minutes of exercise a day yielded the greatest results. 

The study stated that a weekly total of 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity would give the greatest results. 

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“Regular physical activity seems to be related to a lower likelihood of adverse Covid-19 outcomes,” the team of researchers wrote. 

“Our analysis reveals that individuals who engage in regular physical activity have a lower likelihood of Sars-CoV-2 infection, Covid-19 hospitalization, severe Covid-19 illness and Covid-19-related death than physically inactive individuals, independent of design and instrument used.”

In general, exercise has a protective effect when it comes to respiratory infections. Regular physical activity reduces one’s chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a multitude of other illnesses, most recently Covid-19. 

The researchers emphasized that the analysis was relatively limited, so the results shouldn’t be taken at face value. The team attempted to quantify the specific threshold of physical activity needed to make an actual difference in lessening the risk of contracting Covid-19, or lessening the severity should one become infected. 

The study observed data from 1.8 million adults, 54% of which were women, and the median age of each individual was 53. 

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The data analysis showed that, overall, “those who included regular physical activity in their weekly routine had an 11% lower risk of infection with Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid.”

Those individuals also had a 36% lower risk of hospitalization, a 44% lower risk of severe Covid-19, and a 43% lower risk of death from Covid-19. 

The research team also warned that the data was a result of “observational studies, differing study designs, subjective assessments of physical activity levels, and concerned only the Beta and Delta variants of Sars-CoV-2 rather than Omicron, all of which could weaken the findings.”

“There are plausible biological explanations for what we found. Regular moderate-intensity exercise may help to boost the body’s anti-inflammatory responses, as well as cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, all of which may explain its beneficial effects on Covid-19 severity,” the researchers said. 

“Our findings highlight the protective effects of engaging in sufficient physical activity as a public health strategy, with potential benefits to reduce the risk of severe Covid-19.”

“Given the heterogeneity and risk of publication bias, further studies with standardized methodology and outcome reporting are now needed,” they wrote. 

Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting A Healthier Lifestyle In Your 80s Can Add Years To Your Life 

According to new research from Japan, even when you’re in your 80s you can add years to your life by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. 

Scientists in the research paper discussed how reducing your alcohol intake, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing sleep can give individuals some of the biggest changes in their life for the better. 

Healthy 40-year-olds in the study showed a life longevity that increased by six years when these specific habits were regularly implemented into their daily lives. The benefits were even more prominent within individuals who were 80+ years old. 

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The gains in life longevity also applied to individuals who were dealing with life-threatening illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

The study came from Osaka University, and was meant to prove that it’s never too late for someone to give up negative habits that impact their health. The study was based on almost 50,000 individuals from Japan who were tracked for up to 20 years. 

“This is a particularly important finding given the prevalence of chronic disease has increased globally,” said Senior author Professor Hiroyasu Iso.

The team says “taking ownership of your health is key to a pleasurable retirement.”

“Idioms and proverbs about the importance of maintaining good health span the ages. Many emphasize how closely health is tied to happiness and the opportunity to live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.”

The study was published in Age and Aging, and emphasized how healthy behaviors adopted over time, when one is middle aged or older, have a significant effect on lifespan. 

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Specifically, researchers found that adopting five or more healthy lifestyle habits increases  life expectancy for individuals older than 80, including those with chronic conditions. The results of the study were also dependent on socioeconomic status which can increase someone’s access to things like assisted healthcare, and healthy lifestyle brands. 

The study began nearly 30 years ago when participants in the Japan Collaborate Cohort (JACC) Study filled in surveys regarding their diet, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, smoking status, sleep schedules, Body Mass Index, and illnesses. 

The overall goal of the study was to increase common knowledge on what simple lifestyle changes can make a difference when it comes to someone’s quantity and quality of life. It’s known as one of the first studies to measure the impact of improving lifestyle habits among older individuals. 

“The finding that lifestyle improvements have a positive impact on health despite chronic health conditions and older age is an empowering one, especially given the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and longer life,” said lead author Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa.

Lead author Dr Frank Hu, of Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, described the study results as “a positive message for the public”.

“They gain not just more years of life but good years through improved lifestyle choices.”

Brain

Are “Smart” Headbands The Newest Stress-Relieving Technology Of The Future?

If you’re an avid headband wearer who also happens to love the newest innovative technology, this just might be the product for you. Speaking with BBC News, USA Bobsled/Skeleton team member Emma Baumert has taken to wearing a smart headband that measures brainwaves.

The headband, called FocusCalm, is a neurofeedback or EEG (electroencephalography) device. According to FocusCalm, the headband’s sensors pick up electrical pulses from your brain, which are then compared to an AI (artificial intelligence) model that shows the user their mental state.

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Through the use of an app, FocusCalm offers the user the opportunity to build a routine while also improving their mental state thanks to games that are intended to engage the user’s brain in order to increase productivity and calmness.

Max Newlon, president of BrainCo., the firm behind FocusCalm, explained to BBC that the headband’s AI monitors 1,250 “data points” in the user’s detected brainwaves. A user score between 0 to 100 is then given, with 50 being the typical score as their website states.

While some may be skeptical of how well FocusCalm actually functions, Baumert— who became a part-time researcher for BrainCo. due to her education and sports-heavy background— vouched for the headband’s usefulness when it comes to improving a person’s overall state of mind and being.

“I got to visualize and learn how to have better control, and what training I need to do to get into a more relaxed state, while still being able to have very high explosive power output.”

A device like FocusCalm isn’t exactly new or exclusive, as other companies have taken a crack at neurofeedback technology. Muse and Cove work similarly to FocusCalm, using apps to deliver brain activity results and exercises to the user. Unlike FocusCalm, both respective products emphasize their ability as a sleep-aid.

Of course, not everyone is on board with the brain-reading headband. U.K. psychologist Dr. Naomi Murphy told BBC that EEG devices can have negative consequences, such as changing a person’s view on their brain activity after use.

“While some people find measurements useful or reinforcing, many are attracted to ‘neuro-tech’ because they identify with a vulnerability, an anxiety about their performance, and the use of data can exacerbate this.”

Additionally, others question how AI can successfully implement itself in meditation practices that have existed for well over 1,000 years, and advocate that you shouldn’t need to compare your mental results to others.

The going price for one of these headbands is almost $200. That also doesn’t include the app membership, which costs $149 for a lifetime account. While you may not be having stress following a purchase, your wallet might. If you’re out of that price range, don’t fret— there are other, less-costly methods that can help you break away from your anxiety-filled days.

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Calm, an app that has received critical praise and was named an Editor’s Choice on the App Store, helps to bring users less anxiety through breathing and stretching exercises. Calm also promotes better, more relaxing sleep through music and bed-time stories told by well-known stars. Calm is also free, although it does contain in-app purchases.

If technology isn’t appealing, there are simple, classic ways of stress relief that you could do, even while reading this. From simple, 5-minute yoga techniques to taking a morning or afternoon walk or run, stopping to give yourself personal time, even for a brief period, could do your mental health good in the long-term.

Of course, don’t let anything stop you if you have the burning desire to give FocusCalm a go. You’ll be able to try out some fascinating hardware while also giving yourself a head start on a sci-fi costume for Halloween.

Morning Routine

How To Upgrade The Way You Wake Up In The Morning 

A morning routine is imperative for the success of any individual. Now that a majority of us are getting used to the new normal of either working from home or running our lives more thoroughly out of our living rooms, it’s important that we give ourselves a solid routine in the morning to properly start our days and keep us motivated to take on this ever-changing scary world. 

Remember, everyone is different when it comes to things that get them motivated or wake them up in the morning, however, there are a multitude of general tips one can implement into their daily routines that they can accustom to their preferences. For example, waking up early in the morning is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to rush or feel stressed to get your day going. Waking up earlier and giving yourself that extra time in the morning will have you starting your day on an already calm and leisurely note. However, maybe you aren’t exactly a morning person and don’t know how to just implement “waking up early” casually into your life. 

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For this, experts would recommend you start slow, and that also starts with when you go to bed as well. Try going to bed even just a half hour earlier than you normally would, and see how much it makes a difference when you wake up. Beyond that, the best way to wake your body up in the morning is to get it moving immediately.

Studies suggest that starting your day with even 30-seconds of high-intensity exercise can give you the same energizing effect as a cup of coffee, and will help improve your cognitive function in the morning as well so you’re not left in that post-dream haze for hours. If getting out of bed and immediately doing 30-seconds of jumping jacks doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try going the more relaxed route and do some quick yoga. 

Yoga stimulates the mind, body, and spirit, and is a great for waking up your body’s internal systems. Stretching, deep breathing, and focusing on balance and posture will center your brain to handle whatever daily tasks you’re about to endure as well. Another major part of this could be practicing meditation/reflecting on gratitude first thing in the morning. 

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Robert Emmons, is a psychologist who is also the author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a book about the importance of implementing gracious thoughts throughout your day. Emmons recommends starting your day thinking about three to five things, big or small, that you’re grateful for, and if it’s hard for you to think of them first thing in the morning, read from a gratitude journal to remind yourself. 

“Simply keeping a gratitude journal — regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful — can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”

Mornings are also perfect for planning your day, setting your weekly/monthly goals, and organizing. After you do your morning exercise, have some breakfast, and get yourself dressed, sit down with your planner and list out what things you’d like to accomplish either for the day or maybe week. 

Once you find aspects of your morning routine that help get you motivated, stick to it for at least two weeks. Those 14 days will help train your brain into thinking that these aspects of your routine are necessary to keep your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place throughout the day. During this two week “trial period” don’t be afraid to experiment with the order or your routine and if something isn’t working for you, don’t do it!

Walking Outdoors

10,000 Steps A Day Is Key To Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle, Doctor Says

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, doctors recommend taking at least 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day to keep your mind, body, and spirit active and engaged. Regardless of age, everyone can benefit from staying on their feet more throughout the day, especially in the middle of a pandemic that forces us to remain indoors. 

Duke Carlson is a family doctor who always recommends that his patients increase the number of steps they take each day as a means of supporting positive physical and mental health. 

“Following patients throughout their lives the way that I have in my career I’ve seen the amount of activity they are engaged in and daily steps make a big difference in their health.”

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Carlson traditionally “prescribes” all of his patients to get at least 10,000 steps a day, as it has proven to be one of the more popular ways to get his patients moving. “People generally like to have a concrete number for the number of steps they should take,” this way, there’s a set goal that the individual can work towards everyday. Older patients may be prescribed 6,000 – 8,000 steps a day depending on their physical condition; age is never a determining factor in terms of someone’s physical health. 

Typically that recommendation is given to older individuals who have a history with arthritis or any other joint/mobility related conditions, but again, “age doesn’t make it where you can’t do steps,” it’s the condition of the body that impacts how well one can exercise at any age. 

Carlson often uses his mother-in-law as an example, and as a motivation, for his older patients who seem less inclined to get up and move every day. His mother-in-law is 85 and makes sure to get in 10,000 steps every single day, most of which occurs in her own home. She often uses the treadmill but also walks in place while on the phone or watching TV. 

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“You can march in pace in front of the TV, you can go to Walmart and do two laps around the building before you go shopping, there’s always little ways to make daily exercise easy for everyone.”

The practice of shinrin-yoku, also known as “forest bathing”, is an alternative way to count steps that originated in Japan that Carlson has found himself adopting into his own life in recent years. This practice encourages individuals to go outside and immerse themselves in some type of nature; preferably under a canopy of trees. 

Carlson has been recommending this practice to most of his patients especially now that the world is enduring the Covid-19 pandemic. Getting out and finding nature paths that already allow for proper social distancing to take place is the perfect way to get in your 10,000 steps. The fresh air and colorful scenic surroundings are also an added bonus. 

For individuals working from home, he recommends finding simple ways to insert walking into your daily routine. For example, taking a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting in front of the TV, or walking in place while on business calls, just like his mother-in-law.

Girl with her Dog

How Owning A Pet Can Lead To A Healthier Lifestyle

Having a pet is one of the most beneficial things humans can do for both their mental and physical health. A lot of people just think pets make us happy because we’re their owners and provide for them, which is accurate, however there’s a much deeper relationship that develops when we grow a bond with a pet over time. Especially during a pandemic that forces us to remain indoors indefinitely, many of us are turning to our furry friends as a means of comfort and joy, in a world that’s so scary and uncertain. 

Many individuals are also using the pandemic as a means of finally pulling the trigger on becoming a pet-owner, as there really is no better time to train/take care of a new animal and do all the proper research than during a quarantine. Beyond just having the time for a pet, many are looking to find additional means of emotional support, as spending months on months at home takes a toll on anyone after a while. 

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The fact that animals are able to provide emotional support isn’t just some commonly understood phenomenon, there’s scientific evidence that backs it up as well. It’s why some animals are specifically trained to be emotional support animals the same way some are trained to help assist individuals with disabilities. Dogs in particular have such a unique cognitive ability to be trained in specific fields as long as that training starts young. 

From a scientific perspective, the hormone cortisol is what’s released when we feel stressed. Research studies have shown that pets in general – whether it be a dog, cat, hamster, fish, rabbit, etc. – naturally help human beings reduce their cortisol levels through things like training or bonding. Even owning a fish can help relieve stress, simply by looking in your little friends tank every day and watching them live their simple, stress-free life, it ends up becoming contagious. 

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Think about how when we watch a certain television show, and for the time being we forget about all of our life’s stresses because for 30 minutes we’re engulfed in another fictional universe where our problems don’t exist, and the characters’ problems become our problems for that duration of time. It’s an empathetic reaction, and that’s what happens with owning a pet as well. Looking down at your dog or cat, thinking about how they are completely unaware of the world’s issues and just focused on the present moment can be completely contagious, and will remind you to try to remain in the moment. 

The same way that pets lower your cortisol levels, they also have been proven to reduce blood pressure/heart rates in certain individuals. The concept is essentially the same, owning a pet and building a loving bond with it is relaxing. In those moments where it’s just you and your pet, it’s hard to focus on everything else so your whole body is likely to be a lot calmer, and thus, your blood pressure and heart rate stabilize. 

Certain pets, like dogs, promote an active lifestyle as well. Dogs have to be walked, played with, and constantly attended too especially when they’re puppies. Owning an animal that leads an active lifestyle will force you to get up and do the same, because someones gotta clean up after your furry babies. Studies have even shown that owning a dog reduces older individuals risk of having a heart attack due to all the activity.

Finally, the bond you build with your pet is so unique and special that it’s been proven to reduce feelings of depression, anxiousnesses, and other mental stresses that many of us are enduring right now. Your pet may not be your whole entire life and world, but to them, you are their entire life, and that love is easily felt everyday.

Healthy Life

Healthy Lifestyle Choices To Help You Live Your Best Life

During a global pandemic, there’s an extreme focus on health and safety. Beyond just not wanting to be infected with Covid-19, many individuals are realizing that they need to be putting their general health at the forefront of their priorities so that they can continue to live out normal and healthy lives once this is all over. According to doctors, there are certain lifestyle choices we can be making everyday that will not only improve our bodies health, but extend the likelihood of living a long life.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Many individuals who are trying to lose weight think that skipping breakfast can help speed up that process, when it’s actually the opposite. Being hungry in the morning can lead to snacking throughout the day and later into the night, which is bad for digestion. 

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Have a breakfast that’s high in things like fiber and vitamins but low in things like fat, sugar, and salt. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, or yogurt, are all great options to have in the morning. 

According to the NHS’s Eatwell Guide, a balanced diet in general is one of the most important things to maintaining a healthy life. The NHS specifically advises that you “eat the rainbow” everyday, referring to the “rainbow” of food groups. You want to make sure you’re eating starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, bread, rice) as a third of your diet. High fiber and wholegrain options are the healthiest and will aid your stomach with digestion as well. 

Doctors also claim that eating starchy carbohydrates throughout the day helps stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods later in the day. Another third of your diet should be dedicated to fruit and vegetables; doctors recommend five servings a day. The remainder of your diet should consist of dairy products (depending on your dietary restrictions), meat, and fish. 

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Sugar and salt are the number one enemies of living a healthy lifestyle. Not only can they cause things like high blood pressure, weight gain, tooth decay, and more, but both substances also actively dehydrate your body. As we know, water is the most important substance, besides food, that we can put into our bodies to keep us alive. So when we’re eating foods that are high in sugar and salt, we’re depriving our body of those essential nutrients. 

Speaking of, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This summer has proven to be a hot and humid one, just being outside will dehydrate your body, so make sure you always have a reusable water bottle (for the environment) in your presence. There’s a lot of information out there about how much water you should be drinking a day, but most doctors agree that getting anywhere from 6-8 glasses a day is average and should be the minimum. 

Finally, try to get into any kind of exercise that’s fun for you. Now that we all have an indefinite amount of time at home, there’s no excuse to not take up yoga, running, or any other sort of exercise that can be done easily. Many individuals are intimidated the most about where to start when it comes to getting into exercising. Luckily, the internet exists, and is one of the largest resources for free exercise tips and training tricks from professionals. Simply go to Youtube, type in the type of exercise you want to get into followed by the term “for beginners,” there should be a whole slew of options for you to choose from!

Kids Playing Freeze Dance

Activities To Keep Your Kids Moving While Stuck Inside

Having your kids at home during a worldwide pandemic is truly no easy feat. Between homeschooling, your own personal job, and making sure your family is staying healthy and safe in quarantine, there’s a lot to do in a given day. Exercise and physical activity is extremely important, especially for young kids who are continuing to grow regardless of a lock down. So keep your kids moving by implementing some fun exercise/sports-like games in their day. There’s plenty of things kids can do during their daily at-home “recess” time indoors that will keep their bodies and minds active and engaged. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you:

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Obstacle Courses: What kid doesn’t love the thrill of an obstacle course? One of the benefits of setting up a course in your home/on your property is that your kids can get involved in the creation process using things from all around the house. So this activity isn’t just engaging your child’s body, but mind as well to problem solve and figure out what obstacles would be the most fun/challenging for them. 

Animal Races: A new and fun alternative to racing with your little ones is called animal racing. You can do this same type of race for any kind of category that allows participants to act out whoever/whatever they get assigned; for example Disney Princesses, mythical creatures, actors, etc. Fill a bowl up with various types of animals and have everyone draw one. Then set up a race track where every participant will have to act like their assigned animal until they get to the finish line.

Balloon Ball: In another classic indoor birthday party activity, balloon ball follows the same basic protocol as “The floor is lava!” game, which is another great option by the way. Fill up a bunch of balloons and try to keep them off the ground by passing them back and forth. “Level up” by adding more and more balloons into the mix until it’s nearly impossible to keep all of them up at once!

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Freeze Dance/Musical Chairs: This is another easy option that kids can even do on their own! YouTube offers a multitude of freeze dance videos that cycle through a variety of songs, many of which are oriented towards kids, and randomly pauses the music throughout to indicate when the kids should stop dancing. Besides that, the only requirement it would have from you is pressing the play/pause button. 

Clean-Up Race: We all can relate to our parents tricking us into cleaning our rooms/the house by offering some sort of “prize” or proclaiming the fastest to clean is the winner. While this may be a sneaky tactic, it really is one of the most effective ways to get your kids to clean up after themselves, hence why it’s been used for so long. Incentives/Prizes don’t have to be too complicated either, you can simply offer your kids an extra serving of desert or the ability to choose the next movie to watch on family movie night. 

Between all of these options and others – like pillow fights, fort building, jump rope, tag, red rover, chalk, etc. – there are plenty of activities your kids can be doing daily to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits active and moving. It can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves as much as we are our loved ones during this pandemic, so get your kids to play in the yard for the next hour, and take a load off, you deserve it.

Two Girls Working Out at Home

How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

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Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

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Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.