Like it or not, medical experts say that the majority of us will be exposed to COVID-19 this year. To help slow the spread—and “flatten the curve”—most of us are subject to stay-at-home orders, preventing us from our regular mountain sports activities.
Having an optimally functioning immune system is essential for fighting this virus, lowering our risk, and staying fit and vibrant, so that we can return to recreating in the mountains in the near future!
Here are six tips for staying healthy and strong through the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Exercise daily, while maintaining appropriate social distance.
Strive to get a muscle pump and breathe heavily for at least 30 minutes per day—it’s good for mind & body! A good goal to shoot for is 30 to 60 minutes of outdoor recreation per day (walking, running, hiking, etc.) and one hour of at-home strength training via weight training, floor exercises, TRX sling training, and the like.
2. Eat a nutritious diet.
Consume fruits & vegetables rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc. Consider taking supplemental Vitamin D. Eat lean protein at least twice daily, and consider using a low-calorie protein supplement. For muscle recovery and immune system strength, consume 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Drink lots of water, too!
3. Go outside for at least 1 hour per day.
A daily dose of sunshine and fresh air is vital. Keeping proper social distance (6 feet), go for a walk/run every day, and let your thoughts wander to a future beyond COVID-19. Set new goals!
4. Avoid overtraining.
Too much intense exercise can weaken your immune system. If training daily, alternate between hard, high-intensity training days and easier aerobic-training days.
5. Get adequate sleep.
Shoot for 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
6. Keep stress levels low.
Stop dwelling on things beyond your control. Unplug from fearful media. Help the needy. Remain positive, hopeful, and purposeful.
Featured photo: Eric training on his home wall during COVID-19 quarantine, April 2020. Pictured in KÜHL Merino Wool.
Eric Hörst is an international best-selling author, published researcher, renowned climbing coach, and accomplished climber of 40 years. His book Maximum Climbing: Mental Training for Peak Performance and Optimal Experience explores the cognitive domain and presents dozens of tips and techniques to enhance performance in the mountains and beyond!