A good deal of health advice can be boiled down to simple behaviors, such as getting good rest, eating a balanced diet and exercising throughout the week.
During a pandemic such as the coronavirus, the above is particularly important for founders. However, some challenging questions arise — how is one supposed to best work out when a person can’t go outside? How can stress best be addressed?
Don’t forget your sleep
Sleep has been, and remains, one of the most important things anyone can do for better overall physical and mental health.
According to the doctor, “Sleep is intimately tied to immune function, and now is the time to double down on getting at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night.”
“There is a huge body of research showing that reduced sleep duration and disturbances during sleep can lead to systemic low-grade inflammation, predispose to chronic diseases like heart disease and dementia, and increase our susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections.”
Food keeps one’s immune system strong
“Now is the time to be eating fresh, unprocessed foods that load your body with healthful nutrients,” Dr. Means says. As an example, sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, she adds, helps your body fight inflammation-inducing oxidative stress.
Dr. Means recommends founders focus on a wide variety of vegetables, with a minimum of eight to 10 servings per day, in addition to low-glycemic fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, spices, herbs, and probiotic-rich foods to give your body the fuel it needs to stay healthy.
She also says it’s a good idea to limit inflammatory foods like processed vegetable oils and refined sugar to help keep your body humming along.
Said Dr. Means, says prioritizing stress management is more important now than ever before, in part because stress can impact mental health, digestive health, and even one’s immune system.
Dr. Means recommend different stress management techniques, including yoga and going for a walk.
“Being in nature can help individuals get to a state of deep relaxation which can boost immune function in a number of ways and help with metabolic health,” she says. In addition, “Deep breaths stimulate the diaphragm muscle which is attached to our main nerve of relaxation, the vagus nerve,” which can help calm a person down in the moment.
Exercise, one of the most important habits
According to Dr. Means, exercise is one of your most important healthy habits for social distancing.
“Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on immune function, and everyone practicing social isolation can benefit from fitting in physical activity each day,” she says, pointing to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
It’s important for mood, stress relief, and inflammation. Dr. Means’ full interview on Well+Good can be read here.