“Are You a COVID-15?”

Edith Lovett Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Are you a COVID-15 or one of those people that have experienced unwanted weight gain since the start of the COVID-19 virus? Maybe you haven’t gained that much weight, but your clothing shows that you have gained a little. Some of the COVID weight gain may be related to people being more sedentary as they work from home, staying home more, and therefore eating often during the day and into the night. Other reasons may be to those that regularly attended an exercise program and it closed, and for others, the fear of being in crowded situations makes you stay at home more. Some physical activity should be carried out daily even if it is walking around in your house from room to room, or up and down the stairs.

Research has proven that regular physical activity is necessary for long-term weight loss success and may impact the body composition more than a diet. Although calorie reduction may result in a weight loss, more body fat is lost with daily exercise and watching what you eat.

If you are so busy that you think you don’t have time to exercise, you should consider this. A recent study comparing overweight and obese sedentary women assigned to either a long bout (50 minutes exercising daily all at once) or short bouts (two, 25-minute at different times) of exercise, found that the group doing short bouts had more weight loss. Two 25-minute walking sessions could be a walk at your lunch hour and after dinner. Or you could break it down to 10 minutes of doing some type of exercise throughout the day.

In addition to improving your waistline and gaining muscles in your legs, it is well known that exercise is also good for our mental health. A large cross-sectional study published in Lancet Psychiatry analyzed adults over the age of 18 and their “mental health burden” with or without exercise. Those who exercised regularly reported fewer days of poor mental health with largest associations seen with team sports such as gym activities and aerobic classes.

If exercising inside or outside concerns you due to the pandemic, a recent study showed that increased physical activity provides a reset of physical and mental well-being. Being physical active helps in distracting people from worrying and negative thoughts. Activities such as playing pickle ball, tennis, golf, cycling, running, walking or hiking can be done at a physical distance. If distance is a problem when walking with others, be sure to wear your face mask.

If you are not convinced that exercise can help you during this pandemic, remember that it also boosts your immunity. Active exercising may also reduce the severity of other disease in some people. If you have had COVID be sure to talk with your doctor about resuming any exercise program.

Now are you ready to begin exercising? Get those walking shoes on and walk out your door. That’s the first step. Walk up and down your street or walk around your block a few times. If you don’t have a safe place to be walking, then go to one of the walking trails in our town. (Community college, Rocky Hollow, SomerSports Park, SomerSplash, Pulaski County Park, Shopville Park, General Burnside or other parks, churches, etc.) Each of you also needs the benefits of vitamin D which you will get while walking outside.

If your child has a bicycle, or there is one in your garage, take advantage of the cooler weather and go for a spin. You will remember how to ride a bike even if it has been several years. Watch out for people and traffic. If you don’t own a bike, you probably can find a used one online. Pickle ball has been a big hit at Rocky Hollow for older adults. If you haven’t tried this sport check with them to see when the classes are held.

Leaving your home for several minutes a day may be a problem, so you may want to invest in a stationary bike or other exercise equipment that you can do in your home. You might purchase some hand weights for arms movement. You can also make your own weights at home by putting canned vegetables, rice, pennies, or other items in a pillowcase, large socks or other bags, and making weights that you can lift and down while watching television, etc.

Another way to exercise is to find a video on your smart phone or tablet or an exercise program on your television. Several short and long exercises programs are on You-tube, so there are no excuses for not moving at home. Real Start is a low impact workout, 5 Exercises for Seniors to Lose Belly Fat, Fabulous50 and Simple-5 Minute Chair Workout for Seniors are some videos you can select from. Other exercises videos include Fitbotic, Reshape, Strava, Sworkit, and IMuscle. If you can’t find one that fits your needs call the office and I will help you.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Fresh tomatoes are still in your garden, and at the Farmers Market. Try these oven Baked Tomatoes for a different dish.

Oven Baked Tomatoes

3 large tomatoes, cut crosswise into halves

6 tablespoons breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon oregano

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder

Place tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Mix the breadcrumbs, oregano, olive oil, onion or garlic power together. Sprinkle this season over the tomatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

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