No, this is not an article about hand-washing (I hope we are all up to speed on that subject by now). It’s been a difficult few weeks to say the least. Do you have the urge to lay on the couch and eat chips all day? I hear you. I have been there too. But now more than ever it’s important to put your health first.
The majority of Americans will be infected with SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) by the end of the year. I think a lot of Americans are asking themselves "what can I do to help and how do I stay healthy?" Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC, said we should “increase personal health resilience.”
This is music to my ears.
As a naturopathic doctor I work to help my patients increase their health resilience: how quickly and easily your body can adapt to health stressors. A majority of Americans have at least once chronic health condition, showing low health resilience.
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. I also encourage patients to have a consistent sleep wake cycle with limited use of blue light emitting devices an hour before bed to optimize melatonin production.
Maintain physical activity
Regular physical activity may be the best thing we can all do to stay healthy and increase our health resilience. Physical activity is a pillar of healthy living. What kind of exercise and how much will depend on many factors. Daily walking is an excellent idea for almost everyone.
Hydration keeps our skin and mucous membranes in tip top shape to do their jobs keeping viruses and bacteria at bay. If you do become ill hydration becomes even more important because viral symptoms such as fever and cough are dehydrating.
Increase fruit and vegetable intake
Ideally consume 5-7 servings of vegetables per day along with 2-3 servings of fruit. This takes work! Frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh. Even canned vegetables are better than no vegetables!
Spend time outside
I really can’t say enough good things about spending time in nature. Spending just 15 minutes outside can help raise your vitamin D levels. Nature also has an uncanny way of soothing us when we are stressed. I often encourage patients to get outside even if it’s just walking around the block. Please maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others even when you are outside.
Our bodies are resilient and you have the power to improve your health.
You are not in this alone. I am so happy to help you create a personalized plan to increase your health resilience.
Learn more about the Wellness Minneapolis team and how they can support you as well.
To read the full article from Dr. Tom Frieden, follow this link.
Dr. Sara Jean Barrett is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and co-founder of Wellness Minneapolis. She is also the President of the Minnesota Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a Member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. For more information about support during COVID-19, sign up for Dr. Barrett's newsletter.