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Staying Active during Coronavirus Self-Isolation

Ahe extensive social distancing policies put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 mean most people will have to spend much, if not all, their time at home. Self-isolation means far fewer opportunities to be physically active if you are used to walking or cycling for transportation and doing leisure time sports. But equally worryingly, the home environment also offers abundant opportunity to be sedentary (sitting or reclining). While self-isolation measures are necessary, our bodies and minds still need exercise to function well, prevent weight gain and keep the spirits up during these challenging times.

Exercise can help keep our immune system become strong, less susceptible to infections and their most severe consequences, and better able to recover from them. Keeping active everyday is good for your body, mind and spirit especially during these stressful times. And more physical activities you do can improve your sleep which is also important for good health. Being active means engaging your body in more physical activities in order that you remain healthy within this lockdown period and afterwards.

How much physical activity?

Global recommendations are for all adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

Any activity is better than none, and more activity provides more physical and mental health benefits.

As several countries are already under lockdown, it is uncertain for how long you can go outside for a walk, run or cycle. The key question is how can people meet these guidelines when restricted to the home environment?

Sitting, standing and movement

Take regular breaks from continuous sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone every 20 to 30 minutes. For example, you could take a few minutes break to walk around the house or take some fresh air on the balcony.
There are many great resources for such indoor bodyweight exercises for people of all ages online. Aim for at least a couple of own bodyweight sessions per week, with each session involving two to four sets of eight to 15 repetitions of each strength-promoting exercise. Make sure you take a two to three minutes rest between sets.

Just do something! Left unattended, the self-isolation imposed by COVID-19 will likely skyrocket sedentary time and will drastically reduce the physical activity levels for many. Our suggestions are only a few examples of ideas that need no special equipment and can be done within limited space.

For more ideas take a look at the online resources of reputable organisations such as the World Health Organisation. The end goal during self-isolation is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness by huffing and puffing a few times a day.

Stay active and ahead of COVID19!

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In December 2019, a cluster of acute respiratory illness cases was reported in Wuhan, China all with a link to Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale market. The affected citizens were presenting with fever, dry cough, and other respiratory signs. By January 1st, 2020, China announced that the affected citizens tested positive for the coronavirus and immediately shut down the market. It spread fear and panic throughout China. People began to avoid human contact, stay indoors and sanitize their environments. By January 23, 2020, Wuhan City was locked down with restricted internal movement and all travel in and out prohibited.

Regardless, figures of cases and deaths escalated and the virus spread to other countries. As of 20 February 2020, a cumulative total of 75,465 COVID- 19 cases were reported in China. According to journals, bats appear to be the reservoir of the virus and it is spread via droplets and fomites. In weeks, several European countries (Including Italy, Spain, and France) had reported cases of COVID 19 (name as announced by WHO in February).

In weeks, China had rolled out what WHO has described as “the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history” with the immediate aim of controlling the source of infection, blocking transmission and preventing further spread. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the Director-General of WHO on March 11, 2020.

In Nigeria, life as we know it is taking a different turn. The President called for a lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun states respectively after addressing the nation on the pandemic. The Osun state government has imposed a 6am to 7pm curfew on the state. Times are changing and we are struggling to adapt, but that will by no means deter us.


Prevention Works Best

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID- 19. The recommended preventive method is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

  • Wash your hands regularly: Luckily for us, coronaviruses are easily killed by disinfectants. Soap and water are most effective for handwashing but an alcohol-based hand sanitizer works in the absence of Soap.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell: Protect others by avoiding possibilities of spreading the virus. Wear a facemask if you happen to be around other people
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: Complications of COVID-19 are more serious in immunocompromised individuals. Take Vitamin/Mineral supplements, eat balanced meals, get adequate sleep daily and boost your immune system.

Young People Are Not Invincible

Although older adults and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions that compromise their immune systems are at higher risk for grave complications from the virus, young people have been reported to need hospitalization after infection.

Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General said: “Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly shows that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization”.


Watching the news and monitoring the rate of occurrence of cases and the number of deaths can get one paranoid. Your mind will play lots of tricks on you during these times. You might suddenly find it frightening to even sneeze. It’s important to be able to identify the typical COVID-19 symptoms and report for treatment immediately.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are nonspecific and the presentation ranges from no symptoms to respiratory conditions and death. Based on reported cases so far, the symptoms include: Fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, chills, nausea, diarrhea, in descending order of occurrence in the cases.


These are uncertain times and a lot of individuals are currently slipping into depression. Canceled plans, social isolation are sending people spiraling with fear, anxiety, and loneliness. Maintaining a positive state of mind coupled with an attempt to stay productive in these times could be helpful. Also, adopting healthy routines that build the immune system like:

Eating balanced meals.

Taking vitamin supplements.

Staying physically active; Do exercises.

Limiting alcohol and sugary drinks

Avoiding smoking.

Getting adequate sleep.

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is working daily to keep us updated and safe. They can be reached on Whatsapp at 07087110839.

Stay AHEAD of COVID-19! This too shall pass.

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