Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

Image of COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy . COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

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...

Report
Jun 1, 2023

MSMR Vol. 30 No. 6 - June 2023

.PDF | 1.55 MB

This annual issue quantifies the impacts of various illnesses and injuries in 2022 among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as the U.S. Coast Guard; health care burden metrics include the total number of medical encounters, including hospitalizations and ambulatory services, as well as numbers and types of individuals ...

Report
Feb 1, 2023

MSMR Vol. 30 No. 2 - February 2023

.PDF | 965.54 KB

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 ...

Report
Jan 1, 2023

MSMR Vol. 30 No. 1 - January 2023

.PDF | 1.22 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence and management of chronic insomnia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 to 2021; Changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity and in the incidence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes ...

Report
Dec 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 12 - December 2022

.PDF | 2.22 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the ...

Report
Nov 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 11 - November 2022

.PDF | 1.30 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the ...

Report
Oct 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 10 - October 2022

.PDF | 1.41 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the ...

Report
Sep 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 09 - September 2022

.PDF | 2.12 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the ...

Report
Jul 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 07 - July 2022

.PDF | 1.67 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the ...

Report
Jun 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 06 - June 2022

.PDF | 3.07 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2021; Hospitalizations, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2021; Ambulatory ...

Report
May 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 05 - May 2022

.PDF | 1.25 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2021; Evaluation of ICD-10-CM-based case definitions of ambulatory encounters for COVID-19 among Department of Defense health ...

Report
Apr 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 04 - April 2022

.PDF | 1.51 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Exertional heat illness at Fort Benning, GA: Unique insights from the Army Heat Center; Update: Heat illness, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2021; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U ...

Report
Mar 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 03 - March 2022

.PDF | 1.52 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2021; Obesity prevalence among active component service members prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, January 2018–July 2021; Brief report: Refractive surgery trends ...

Report
Feb 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 02 - February 2022

.PDF | 1.10 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Diagnosis of hepatitis C infection and cascade of care in the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2020; A new approach to categorization of ocular injury among U.S. Armed Forces; Surveillance snapshot: ...

Report
Jan 1, 2022

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 01 - January 2022

.PDF | 1.23 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Description of a COVID-19 Beta variant outbreak, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, February–March 2021; COVID-19 and depressive symptoms among active component U.S. service members, January 2019–July 2021; ...

Report
Dec 1, 2021

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 012 - December 2021

.PDF | 1.62 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Osteoarthritis and spondylosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2020; Incident COVID-19 infections, active and reserve components, 1 January 2020–31 August 2021; Surveillance snapshot: ...

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery