With the shelter in place orders and social distancing instituted the last few months, people may have noticed an increase in unhealthy habits. The increase could be caused by a variety of factors including a lack of exercise, overeating to cope with the stress of the pandemic, binge watching your favorite shows and more.

It’s not just what we eat that’s important, but how we use the calories we consume. As long as you’re active enough to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn in physical activity, you can enjoy an occasional treat and still avoid weight gain.

By walking an extra 2,000 steps and reducing 100 calories each day, you’ll see how easy it is to achieve the energy balance that can stop weight gain.

The following tips can help add 2,000 steps to your daily routine.

At home:

  • Circle around the block once when you go outside to get your mail
  • Make several trips up and down the stairs to do laundry or other household choirs
  • Listen to music or books on tape while pacing around your house
  • Push mow the lawn
  • Need to run an errand? Elect to walk to instead of driving (don’t forget your mask at home).
  • March in place while watching your favorite TV show
  • Use online walking videos

At work:

  • If you live close enough, walk to work
  • Refill your coffee cup at the machine farthest from your workstation
  • Visit the restroom on the far side of the building
  • Designate 10 minutes of your lunch break for a quick walk
  • Walk to co-workers’ desks to speak to them instead of sending an email
  • Participate in meetings while you go for a walk
  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevators

Just for fun:

  • Hike on wilderness trails
  • Volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter
  • Dance it out in your living room to your favorite songs
  • Sign up for virtual walkathons or 5K walk/run events
  • Paddle along the river in a canoe, kayak, or raft

Gaining the “quarantine 15” may not have been on your to-do list during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are plenty of ways to be become a healthier you by being healthy at home and healthy at work.

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Jessica Himes, BSN, RN-BC

Jessica Himes, BSN, RN-BC, is supervisor for the UofL Health - Healthy Lifestyle Centers at Jewish Hospital, Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Shelbyville Hospital and Medical Center Northeast. The UofL Health – Healthy Lifestyle Centers provide hands-on medically-supervised exercise in state-of-the art facilities. Using a broad range of exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques, they promote well-being in body, mind and spirit. Through lifestyle interventions, they address chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and more. Program offerings include cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, supervised exercise therapy, and lifestyle medicine.

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