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Experts offer tips on how to stay fit, healthy during COVID-19 lockdown

Sri Wahyuni

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Sun, April 12, 2020  /  04:35 pm
Experts offer tips on how to stay fit, healthy during COVID-19 lockdown

Sunbathing should be done for 10 to 15 minutes when your shadow is shorter than your actual height. (Shutterstock/S_Photo)

As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to increase nationwide, a Gadjah Mada University (UGM) professor and an expert on medicinal sports offer tips on how to stay fit and healthy during the outbreak.

Make time to sunbathe

Madarina Julia, a professor at UGM’s School of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing (FKKMK), said sunbathing could improve our immune system.

She said sunlight, as the main source of natural vitamin D, helped improve the production of vitamin D in the human body.

“Vitamin D has an immunomodulator effect that can improve the body’s immune system,” Madarina said in a statement.

This immune system, she said, was the body’s defense in the fight against viruses and bacteria. Hence a lack of vitamin D can inhibit growth and lead to vulnerability against viruses and bacteria.

Madarina recommended getting around 10 to 15 minutes of sun, when your shadow is shorter than your actual height. “You can do it anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 a.m. Do not do it earlier because the sun exposure will not be sufficient."

She also suggested that while doing this, the skin should be directly exposed to the sun, at least the hands and feet. Those wearing a hijab should also let their faces be exposed to the sun during that time.

Read also: Tips on how to eat healthily while stuck at home under a lockdown

Practice neural and physical exercises

UGM’s medicinal sport expert Zaenal Muttaqin Sofro suggested two types of exercises to help people stay fit during the COVID-19 outbreak, namely neural and physical exercises.

“You can do it at home,” he said.

According to Zaenal, neural exercises could be implemented in three ways: breathing, vocalization and posture exercises. Breathing exercises include terra and yoga. Vocalization can be done by humming or reciting something such as the Quran. Posture exercises include Tai Chi or movements in shalat (Muslim prayers).

Breathing exercises, he added, could be done anywhere, anytime. “During a time of social distancing like now, breathing exercises are the right thing to do as they can be done anytime,” said Zaenal who is also a lecturer at FKKMK.

For physical exercise, Zaenal, who is also an expert in human physiology studies, suggested that it be done three to five times a week with medium intensity for 30 to 45 minutes each. The types of exercises that one can choose include speed walking, jogging, static bicycling, gym and swimming. All require prior warm-up exercises, he said.

“What is also no less important is maintaining hydration. Drink water 30 minutes prior and after exercising to replace the sweat,” he said, underlining that exercise should not necessarily be physical but also neural.

Be active and creative

Being at home for weeks for many could indeed be boring and frustrating. Getting rid of boredom does require creativity.

Some try to get rid of boredom by being creative, such as doing a lot of cooking thanks to having the whole family at home all the time. Some others do it by playing fun games or recording videos to be uploaded on social media. Others offer online tutorials on various subjects.

In Gamping, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, a group of activists of Muhammadiyah’s women’s wing Aisyiyah, chose to set up a WhatsApp group to share Quran recitals.

In the group, each member is obliged to read one juz (section of Quran) for an agreed length of time and report it to the group upon finishing it.

“Doing so enables us to stay in touch with one another and it has positive impacts both physically and mentally amid this pandemic,” said Zuliani Rusida, chairperson of Aisyiyah’s Gamping branch. (kes)

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