Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

Image of Collage of four pictures of people exercising, sleeping and eating healthy food. Lifestyle tips for coping during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

As we move toward a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has changed many of our daily routines in ways no one anticipated and that have become the new normal.

Many of us are still spending a lot of time at home to minimize exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

A day that may have previously included many physical activities – like walking to and from your car, shopping for groceries, outings with the family or visiting shopping malls – are still absent for those who are not vaccinated or who are otherwise still hesitant to go to crowded places.

Also, children under age 12 who are not vaccinated may be in quarantine or doing virtual learning.

There are booster shots for those 65 and older and additional shots for those with immune systems that are compromised. These boosters and additional shots increase antibodies that are protective against COVID-19.

Yet with all these COVID-driven precautions, new health hazards may emerge. With this unprecedented lifestyle shift, there is a potential for a more sedentary lifestyle packed with activities like watching television, sitting while reading for long periods, or sitting at your computer for longer-than-usual periods of time.

Isolation and being at home also can elicit the temptation to eat snacks high in sodium, junk food and low-quality meals that provide instant gratification for our taste buds rather than nutrient-dense whole foods. This is a challenge for many in these times of social distancing and self-isolation.

We must stay proactive, and, in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social distancing. Even if you are not directly affected by COVID-19 or have never had it, the pandemic no doubt has had a drastic impact on your day-to-day routine, which could negatively affect your overall health.

What are some things we can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to COVID-19?

Get Vaccinated and Mask Up

Get vaccinated first and foremost. All military service members are mandated to get COVID vaccinations, and Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries have ample opportunities to get vaccinated if they are 12 or older or are part of groups that can get booster shots or additional protective shots. Vaccines not only protect you but those around you.

Wear a mask when indoors with unvaccinated people and at venues such as grocery stores or move theaters.

As winter approaches and people in colder climates are spending more time indoors, masks are increasingly important. Additionally, getting a flu shot, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently may lessen the impact influenza and COVID-19 may have together. (It’s important to reduce the risk of catching both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.)

Stay Active

Gyms are open again but some people are still hesitant to return to them. There are many safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) like social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

Aerobics can be done at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym. Other ideas include:

  • Walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Join a live exercise class on YouTube.

Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as:

  • Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
  • Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
  • Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs

Avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood (maintain the recommended six-foot physical distancing).
  • Go for a bicycle ride.
  • Do gardening and lawn work.

Adequate Sleep

Good sleep is essential to overall health.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH): “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body's defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 get seven or more hours of sleep per night.

Diet and nutrition

It is imperative to practice self-discipline and avoid “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the pandemic. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Make it a habit to try to eat more whole nutritious foods instead of processed snacks or fast food.

Self-Care

Make time to take care of yourself.

Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family or friends, and personal care promote overall wellness. If you need professional help for your mental wellness, there are many ways to seek counseling.

Health Care Maintenance

If you have medications prescribed for any condition, be sure to take them as directed by your provider. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and many others should be kept in check by taking your medications as prescribed.

Be sure to reach out to your health care team with any concerns. Many service members and beneficiaries have put off check-ups for fear of COVID exposure at military medical treatment facilities, leading in some cases to missed diagnoses of cancers or later diagnoses of serious health care conditions.

In the age of COVID-19, telehealth solutions are available.

Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by the precautions we must all take to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Positive coping mechanisms may include exercise, meditation, reading, or further developing certain skills or hobbies. Use this time to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even better routines than you may have adhered to prior to the pandemic.

Stay Connected

Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to use the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love.

Our busy lives before the COVID-19 pandemic may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones. Now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.

Taking all these steps may improve overall health and wellness. Although eating nutritious foods, physical activity, adequate rest, and taking care of our mental health makes us more resilient, it’s not a cure nor does it guarantee immunity from contracting COVID-19.

Once again, the top priority is to get vaccinated.

You also may be interested in...

8 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to Change during the New Pandemic Phase

Article
4/15/2022
A parent comforts his child while she receives a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs)

Parents should prepare their kids for the new normal of the ongoing pandemic, recognizing that the status of the disease can change quickly as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Children's Health

DHA Director Outlines Vision for Health Care Readiness at HIMSS

Article
4/11/2022
Army Lt. General (Dr.) Ron Place during his speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference held in Orlando, Florida, March 2022. Place’s speech detailed his thoughts on solutions to military health care readiness. (Photo: Claire Reznicek, MHS Communications)

During his speech at HIMSS, Lt. Gen. Place discusses clear and present dangers to military medical care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Dr. Jay Montgomery Details Importance of the Immunization Healthcare Division

Article
4/8/2022
Dr. Jay Montgomery is a medical director for DHA’s Immunization Healthcare Division. In addition to being a clinician and educator, he also volunteers with Wounded Warriors to design, build and fly radio controlled helicopters. (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Jay Montgomery is a medical director for the Defense Health Agency’s Immunization Healthcare Division’s North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub. In his role, Montgomery helps address vaccine and immunization questions and concerns.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Military Medical Officials Back FY 23 Budget Before Senate Appropriations Committee

Article
4/6/2022
Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing take precautionary measures by cleaning and disinfecting their hands during field day on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 20, 2020, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to perform mission-essential tasks. (Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaime Reyes)

Military Medical officials, including Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, Defense Health Agency director, back FY 23 Budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee, March 29, 2022.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

The New Public Health Director Talks about His Goals for Force Readiness

Article
4/5/2022
Rear Admiral Brandon Taylor of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in dress whites at the 2019 National Independence Day Parade where he represented the U.S. Surgeon General as a presiding official with the other services. Taylor was named in February as the new director of the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health directorate. (Photo: Tanisha Blaise, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division senior public relations and media specialist)

Rear Adm. Brandon Taylor was recently appointed to be the new director for the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health directorate. In an interview, he discussed how he is approaching his new role, his goals for Public Health within DHA, and the importance of Public Health to a medically ready force and a ready medical force.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Military Health System Transformation

Brain-Boosting Meal Plans Help Service Members with TBI

Article
3/30/2022
During the NICoE intensive outpatient program (IOP), staff nutritionist Ruth Clark teaches hands-on classes in the on-site patient kitchen. (Photo: Tahira Hayes (Ctr), NICoE/WRNMMC, NSA Bethesda)

Research has shown that dietary changes may help relieve symptoms that might complicate recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

How COVID-19 Made the Military Medical Community Stronger

Article
3/21/2022
Image of a service member being treated

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic has made the military medical community stronger and will help when confronting the next crisis, whether that’s another pandemic, a new conflict or natural disaster

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Responses Underscore Importance of Patient Safety

Article
3/14/2022
Every day, patient safety is one of the top priorities for the Defense Health Agency. Patient safety means providing ready, reliable care to service members, veterans, and dependents no matter the circumstances. (Photo: Defense Health Agency)

Patient safety is a topmost concern of MHS, and Patient Safety Awareness Week 2022 focuses on Ready, Reliable Care.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Patient Safety Awareness Week | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Patient Safety Awareness Week

Top Military Health Leaders Discuss Future Readiness

Article
3/8/2022
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, prepares to transport U.S. Army medical personnel to Guam in support of the global COVID-19 response on April 13, 2020.

Top military health leaders highlight the importance of preparing for the future to ensure both a medically ready force and a ready medical force.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Answering Your Questions About COVID-19 Testing

Article
2/25/2022
Military personnel performing a COVID-19 Test

COVID-19 continues to spread, now as the Omicron variant. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect you and your family from getting seriously ill, getting hospitalized, or dying. You should also make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines. Testing is another important step you can take to protect yourself and others.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Defense Department Announces Distribution of COVID-19 Tests for Military Beneficiaries

Article
2/25/2022
A Soldier assigned to the Connecticut National Guard helps load a shipment of at-home COVID-19 testing kits into a truck at a regional distribution point in North Haven, Connecticut, Jan. 3, 2022. These kits were picked up by representatives from local towns and municipalities to be handed out to their communities.

The Department of Defense will offer at-home COVID-19 tests for military beneficiaries at military hospitals or clinics, on a supply available basis, in the coming weeks.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | At-Home COVID-19 Tests | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Caring for Recruits' Injuries is Key to Success at Basic Training

Article
2/23/2022
U.S. Marines wait for instruction from their Senior Drill Instructor after concluding a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, on March 11, 2021.

Injuries at bootcamp can end a military career before it starts. That’s why trainers and drill instructors take countless precautions to ensure trainees stay fit and healthy.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

The Chief of the Army Dental Corps Talks Dental Health & Readiness

Article
2/22/2022
The Army’s top dentist talks about what service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Here’s what the Army’s top dentist thinks service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

Military Medical Units Support Civilian Hospitals Strained By COVID-19 Surge

Article
2/14/2022
Air Force Staff Sgt. Bradley Gorman, a medical technician assigned to a military medical team deployed to Yuma, Arizona performs a nasal swab at the Yuma Regional Medical Center’s COVID testing drive-thru in Yuma, Jan. 17, 2022.

Thousands of service members have been supporting civilian hospitals with testing, vaccinations and treatment of seriously ill patients.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Women’s Heart Attacks Symptoms Can Differ from Men’s: Know the Signs

Article
2/11/2022
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack can differ between women and men. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 quickly.

Doctors say women sometimes fail to recognize their unique warnings signs for heart problems.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health Toolkit | Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Heart Health | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 24
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 31, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.