Lockdown is a crucial step to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in India. But, what impact will it give on our health and overall well-being?
Well, it is being said that sedentary life is bad for your physical and mental health, and being physically active may help to reduce cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, etc..
Physical activity also helps to keep your immune system working effectively as it flushes bacteria from the lungs and airways, increases white blood cell circulation and raises body temperature, all of which help the body fight infection. Muscle breakdown is a natural process and part of our everyday worry.
Involve in minimum 3-4 Resistance workout a week
To avoid muscle loss, it is extremely important to add at least 3-4 sessions of any kind of “Resistance training”. What does resistance mean? Any exercise for a targeted muscle eg: Chest, Arms, Shoulder, etc, that creates a tension in the muscle is called resistance training.
Resistance exercise can also help strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility during the lockdown period. Many of you may not have access to weights or resistance bands, but that should stop you. Squats or push-ups against the wall or any sturdy door, r lunges, or single leg step-ups on stairs can become your part of lockdown life.
If you have weights or Resistance bands, well and good, however in case you do not have weights you can do freehand exercises like push up, free squats, planks, crunches, etc. You can also make your own weight with empty water bottles or put clothes in a handbag and add additional weights to make it more challenging.
I suggest doing a 2-day split, Day 1 upper body, and Day 2 lower body split.
As per research, muscle loss does not occur even if we train at a suboptimal level for 3 months. As athletes, you can take about three weeks off without seeing a noticeable drop in your muscle strength, according to a 2012 study.
For a dumbbell substitute, you can probably go for 5 to 10 kg of whole wheat flour grain bag or rice or bottled water.
Add anti-catabolic to your diet
In a very simple language if we understand, then anabolism means building up and catabolism means breaking down. These are basically two sides of catabolism. The importance of each depends on the individual goal. Catabolism is not a good sign for the athlete or fitness enthusiasts who wish to build strong muscles. Anti-catabolism property is basically nothing but those supplements which protect the muscle from breaking down.
Glutamine is conditionally essential amino acids, which means its requirements increases during the stress levels go high. Prolonged high-intensity exercise has been shown to decrease glutamine levels. Glutamine plays pivotal roles in nitrogen balance in the body and is a preferential amino acid for use in skeletal muscle. It also plays an important role in muscle function during and after exercise. Glutamine helps move nitrogen atoms to where they are needed. Nitrogen is required to rebuild muscles. If nitrogen cannot get to where it is needed, the muscle risks staying damaged for longer periods of time. Extreme stress on the body (strenuous endurance and strength training) can deplete muscle stores of glutamine.
BCAA supplementation may have an anti-catabolic effect. BCAAs are useful for athletes because these amino acids can be metabolized directly in muscles. They are involved in the growth and repair of muscle tissue, help to reduce the amount of protein breakdown, and help to preserve muscle glycogen stores. They are essential amino acids. LEUCINE, ISOLEUCINE & VALINE. One of the studies confirmed that BCAA approx. 5.6 gms consumed immediately post resistance exercise can improve muscle synthesis and thus reduce muscle breakdown. (Jackman et.al, 2017)
Whey protein has a high concentration of BCAA, so continue having whey protein to help preserve your muscles. Apart from this function, Protein is key part of a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important because your body uses protein for the production of various compounds and enzymes that play a role in the immune system. If you don’t think you’re getting enough protein, you can always pick up a meal replacement that contains a great source of protein so you know you’re getting enough in your diet.
Have a goodnight sleep for minimum 6 to 8 hours
Lack of sleep can be one of the major factors for muscle breakdown. Proper sleep can help synthesize the protein and decreases the rate of muscle breakdown. Hence, resting your body is much required for proper nutrition and exercise to help muscles grow and repair. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for optimum health.
We know water is essential to life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle means staying well-hydrated. It is very important to maintain hydration during any viral infection. In case you are not drinking enough water, your body may start losing stored water and as a result, your muscle strength decreases. Aim to consume 2.5 to 3 liters of fluids per day. Avoid drinking sugary carbonated beverages, canned juices, or milkshakes. Try consuming natural coconut water, nimbu pani, lassi, or buttermilk.
Improve your calorie intake
As per the studies, not training enough can put you at risk of increasing body fat and weight and decreased metabolic rate. Hence, it is important to adjust the lifestyle, training, and nutrition plan accordingly.
As quoted in one of the papers, make sure to define the number of calories an athlete need is a prediction based on the individual’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and physical activity on any given day. For athletes who wish to gain skeletal muscle, a rule of thumb for males is baseline calorie intake plus 400 to 500 kcal/day. For females, an addition of 300 to 400 kcal/day above baseline is recommended. (Mangieri et. al, 2014)
Eating a well-balanced diet can also help retain muscle. Healthy balanced homemade meals are the key to maintaining good healthy immunity. Your diet should have a balance of complex carbohydrates, high quality, and complete protein & healthy fats. Eat well, eat right to help retain your muscles. Stock some healthy snacks like almonds, sunflower seeds, to get your dose of nutrients. Do not forget to take your multivitamin as that will ensure you get an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals and bridge the gap between deficiencies and requirements.