Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. No matter your age, ability level or health status, we all need to move and sit less every day to achieve our best health possible. Even small improvements in your physical activity can have positive impacts on overall health, daily functioning and longevity.
Disclaimer: NSHA offers resources for physical activity and these resources are designed for education purposes only. No information is to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. Exercises are done at your own risk. You agree to hold NSHA harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims. If you experience dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath at any time while exercising, you should stop immediately. If you are having pain or health related complaints, please consult a licensed healthcare professional.
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Sit less by moving more
Take an activity break every 30 minutes by adding in movement that gets your heart pumping: stand up to make a phone call, do a household chore, or take a walk around your yard or neighborhood. Add your activity up over the course of the day – it all counts! And remember, some activity is better than none! Here are some resources:
Stay connected while physical distancing
Reach out to a friend or family member and encourage them to be active. Set a time for when you’ll both be doing an activity. Check in afterward to share your accomplishments and support each other’s success.
Try something new
Learning and doing new things supports your mental and physical wellness. Pick an activity that interests you and fits with your abilities. For example, try an exercise video, or try gentle relaxation exercises like deep breathing or yoga to help manage stress.
Accumulate 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity most days
Try walking, cycling, dancing, or something to get your heart rate up. This can be one continuous session or in 10 minute bouts. Work towards getting 150 minutes per week of physical activity and if you are new to exercise, start with something you can do fairly easily and progress slowly.
Try strengthening exercises at least 2x per week
Perform exercises for each major muscle group (chest, back, shoulders, arms, core, hips, legs). Choose a resistance that feels right for you and try 8-12 repetitions.
Add stretching and balance exercises daily
Begin with 5-10 minutes per day and enjoy the benefits of improved mobility, better posture and lower chance of falls.
Try gentle relaxation exercises to help lower stress levels
Spending a few minutes each day doing deep breathing and yoga exercises can have positive effects on mental health, sleep and overall wellness.
Find more resources to support physical activity selected and reviewed by healthcare professionals with Primary Health Care's Community Health Teams here.
Healthy eating is essential to good health and well-being. Healthy eating helps us to maintain a healthy weight and reduces our risk of developing some risk factors and chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
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Eating regularly can help you to feel your best. Aim to eat something every 4-6 hours. Eating about every 4-6 hours can balance your blood sugar and give you sustained energy throughout the day.
Enjoy your food
Enjoy your food by making choices that reflect your taste, budget, culture and lifestyle. Think: flavour, comfort, satisfying. Preparing traditionally family recipes can also be comforting when practicing social distancing.
Be adventurous and try something new or keep it simple, it’s up to you! Whether you find yourself with more or less time on your hands, cooking can be a way to retreat from the chaos. Cooking can be both relaxing and a practice to take pride in knowing you prepared food for yourself and/or your family.
Make the most of what you have on hand. Get creative and use up what food you may already have on hand to stretch your food dollar and limit trips to the grocery store! For ideas, simply Google some ingredients you have on hand or check out the following websites:
Make a grocery shopping plan
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended to limit trips to the grocery store. If you can, shop local to support our Nova Scotian farming community. Involving family members and children, make a plan and a list the week before you order your groceries. Many stores will allow online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery. Keep food fresh while minimizing trips to the grocery store by choosing foods that stay fresh longer like root vegetables, cabbage, and apples, along with frozen and canned vegetables.
Try these steps to help you be prepared:
Eat with others
Just because we can’t physically be together, doesn’t mean we have to eat alone! Have a breakfast date with a neighbor over the phone, try a new recipe with a family member or host a family dinner online! Enjoying a meal with others is a great way to stay connected and enjoy your food.
Find more resources to support health eating selected and reviewed by healthcare professionals with Primary Health Care's Community Health Teams here.
Mental wellness is about feeling balanced, connected to others and ready to meet life’s challenges. Mental wellness and physical wellness are closely connected – healthy behaviors like getting enough sleep, being physically active and healthy eating all help contribute to overall mental wellness. Feeling mentally well can help you stay motivated to continue with your healthy behaviors.
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Create opportunities for connection
Connect with friends, family, and community members, and spend time with pets. Connecting with people we feel safe with is important for our mental wellness. Human beings are social creatures and we need connection and community to thrive.
There are many ways of staying connected, such as online face-to-face visits and phone calls. With creativity we can come up with a lot of ways to stay connected with the people in our lives and in our communities. Here are some other suggestions:
Focus on what’s in your control
Time management can be a useful tool to help keep a regular routine. Time management may help us:
Limiting news and social media can be helpful for some people
Sometimes watching and reading too much news and social media can affect our mental wellness. For some people it can be helpful to limit news and social media consumption to the essentials – like by choosing media sources that you trust, such as Public Health bulletins, or watching one reliable media update each day.
The time of day you choose to watch/read news can also be important. For example, some people find watching/reading news or social media close to bedtime leads to less restful sleep. It may be helpful to spend less time with news and social media, and/or choose a time earlier in the day for these activities.
Practice or learn behaviours that promote mental wellness
Practices such as physical activity, deep breathing, relaxation and grounding activities, like progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness, can help promote mental wellness, especially during stressful times. Physical activity is one of the best ways to support your mental wellness. Exercise releases endorphins, known as “feel good” hormones, which can help you manage stress and clear your mind. Here are some great resources:
Practice helpful sleep habits and have a regular bedtime
Here are some tips for healthy sleep:
Be kind to yourself and others
Practice gratitude and self-compassion:
Connect with help and supports when you need them
NSHA Mental Health and Addictions Resources:
Find more resources to support mental wellness (e.g. self confidence, stress, time management, sleep) selected and reviewed by healthcare professionals with Primary Health Care's Community Health Teams here.