Skip to main content

Military Health System

Test of Sitewide Banner

This is a test of the sitewide banner capability. In the case of an emergency, site visitors would be able to visit the news page for addition information.

COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

Image of Eating right, physical activity, adequate rest and taking care of our mental health not only improves overall health and wellness, but also makes us more resilient during COVID-19. Eating right, physical activity, adequate rest and taking care of our mental health not only improves overall health and wellness, but also makes us more resilient during COVID-19.

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...

Changes in Behavior, Personality or Mood Following Concussion/mTBI Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
5/22/2023

This TBICoE fact sheet can be used by health care providers to educate patients with a concussion, or mild TBI, on how to manage changes in mood related to their injury. Patients and caregivers would also find this information useful.

Medical Exercise Certifies Mission Ready Casualty Receiving Treatment Ship

Article Around MHS
5/16/2023
U.S. Navy sailors from Fleet Surgical Team 6 treat a simulated patient aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in the operating room during a medical mass casualty drill. Sailors from USS Bataan and Fleet Surgical team 6 participated in an all-day medical training evolution to increase operational readiness. (Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Comm.  Spc. Seaman Apprentice Levi Decker)

Sailors from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Portsmouth enhanced a casualty receiving treatment and amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and conducted a three-day certification exercise as part of a continued commitment to mission readiness, March 21.

How COVID-19 Public Health Emergency’s End Affects TRICARE

Article Around MHS
5/16/2023
Immunization Clinic photo

The Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 expired at the end of May 11. You might be wondering what this means about the state of COVID-19 or if there are changes to your TRICARE coverage.

Local Health Care Partners are Critical to Blanchfield’s Medical Mission

Article Around MHS
5/3/2023
U.S. Army Col. Vincent B. Myers, commander of Blanchfield Army Community Hospital talks with TRICARE network providers from the local community about the hospital's medical mission during a network partner event on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on April 13. Regional TRICARE contractors provide health care services and support beyond what's available at military hospitals and clinics for eligible beneficiaries. (Photo by Fred Holly, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital)

Army Medicine, Defense Health Agency, and TRICARE East region contractor Humana Military representatives welcomed local TRICARE network health care providers to the Sabalauski Air Assault School on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on April 13.

Ultimate Caduceus 2023 Tests Defense Health Agency Readiness in Emergencies

Article
4/27/2023
Ultimate Caduceus 2023 Tests Defense Health Agency Readiness in Emergencies

For the first time, medical representatives from the Defense Health Agency participated in a combatant command movement exercise, the Ultimate Caduceus 2023 held in March. The objective was to test the Department of Defense’s aeromedical evacuation and critical care transport capabilities.

86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Makes History

Article Around MHS
4/20/2023
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brendon Bowman, 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight examiner and emergency medical paramedic, unloads medical equipment from a C-21 Learjet at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  (Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro)

The 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron embarks on the U.S. Air Force’s first-ever AE paramedic-led flight in charge of an all-enlisted medical crew.

Project 112 SHAD

FAQs
4/19/2023

Questions and answers about Project 112 SHAD

Human Subject Research at Fort Detrick

FAQs
4/19/2023

Questions and answers about Human Subject Research at Ft. Detrick

New Center a ‘Seismic Shift’ in Army Fitness

Article Around MHS
4/7/2023
U.S. Army Col. Kent Solheim, 165th Infantry Brigade commander, pauses for a moment while climbing a rope during the “Kay Workout of the Day” at the Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center. (Photo by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office)

The Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center, “represents a seismic shift” towards how the U.S. Army approaches how troops are trained, evaluated, and sustained, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson’s commander. “It is an investment in individual soldier preparedness.” The Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center, “represents a seismic shift” towards how the U.S. Army approaches how troops are trained, evaluated, and sustained, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson’s commander. “It is an investment in individual soldier preparedness.” U.S. Army Col. Kent Solheim, 165th Infantry Brigade commander, pauses for a moment while climbing a rope during the “Kay Workout of the Day” on March 24 at the Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center. The workout was part of the facility's grand opening. (Photo by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office)

COVID-19 Registry Provides Pandemic Response Insights, Optimizes Patient Care

Article
3/28/2023
COVID-19 Registry Provides Pandemic Response Insights, Optimizes Patient Care

Prior to the pandemic, the DOD began deploying MHS GENESIS, the new federal electronic health record, to improve health care outcomes for our service members, veterans, and their families. Critical enterprise needs quickly came to light to combat the impacts of the COVID-19 disease.

Navy’s Global Engagement Helps Identify and Mitigate Disease

Article
3/22/2023
Navy’s Global Engagement Helps Identify and Mitigate Disease

In support of the Military Health System, the Naval Medical Research Unit-2 is just one global entity that works with local partners to identify and combat global health threats.

New Training Course Offers Medics and Nurses Hands-On Experience in Austere Environment

Article Around MHS
3/14/2023
U.S. Army Capt. Morgan Bobinski and U.S. Army Capt. Lauren Blake, burn intensive care unit nurses, treat a simulated patient during the Tactical Trauma Reaction and Evacuation Crossover Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (Photo by Jason W. Edwards, U.S. Army)

Battlefield trauma simulations, evacuation procedures, and trauma care are just a few of the scenarios that medics and nurses experience in a new training platform. Find out what makes the TTREX course so impressive that participants are volunteering to teach it.

Medical Capability Development Integration Directorate: Training Vital to Army Health System

Article Around MHS
3/9/2023
Multinational partners conduct medical training as a part of Project Convergence 2022 at Fort Irwin, California on Nov. 6, 2022.  (Photo by U.S. Spc. Collin S. MacKown)

The Medical Capability Development Integration Directorate is critical to sustaining the motto of the Army Medical Department: “To Conserve the Fighting Strength.”

Operation Blue Horizon Fosters a Joint Medical Environment

Article Around MHS
2/24/2023
U.S. Air Force, Army and U.S. Navy service members carry a mannequin to an Army UH-60 Blackhawk for a casualty evacuation during Operation Blue Horizon 2023 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Derrick Bole)

They say teamwork makes the dream work, and it's happening at MacDill AFB. Find out how Airmen and Sailors are collaborating to save lives.

Medical Surveillance Monthly Report Volume 30 Number 2, February 2023

Report
2/1/2023

This issue of the peer-reviewed monthly journal published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division (AFHSD) features the articles: Changing of the Guard: MSMR’s Second Editor-in-Chief Retires; Brief Report: Hospitalizations Among Active Duty Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Fiscal Year 2021; Historical Perspective: The Critical Role of Disease and Non-Battle Injuries in Soldiers Isolated on Pacific Islands During the Second World War; From the Editor’s Desk.

Page 1 of 65 , showing items 1 - 15
First < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > Last 
Refine your search
Last Updated: November 01, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery