Keeping one’s normal routine and prioritizing mealtimes help in maintaining physical fitness amid COVID-19. — HERBALIFE PHILIPPINES FACEBOOK PAGE

AS IS THE CASE for most people in this time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, athletes, too, are having their struggles and challenges with outside activities limited, including maintaining their physical fitness.

With that in mind, global brand Herbalife Nutrition, through its director for Sports Performance and Education Dr. Dana Ryan, has come up with some tips for athletes as they work to stay in their game both physically and mentally during the pandemic.

First of these is keeping one’s normal routine and prioritizing mealtimes.

Dr. Ryan and her team underscored the need not to go off track in maintaining one’s routine even as they said that limitations that COVID-19 has presented make this a challenge.

This means waking up at the same time every morning, eating breakfast as you normally would, getting your training in, and allowing enough time for recovery.

They also emphasized the importance of putting the right nutrition in your body throughout the day as this maintains muscle mass and energy to keep up with your goals.

Protein, they said, for one is essential to build and maintain muscle mass. It also provides the building blocks that help us build antibodies to fight off infections, benefitting our immune systems.

Another tip for athletes is stepping up hydration.

As one spends more time at home, the experts said there is a tendency not to drink as much water as needed, which would not help as being dehydrated can negatively impact one’s performance as an athlete.

Properly hydrating is an easy habit that can have a huge impact on keeping your body in top shape and should allow one to be ready once there is a semblance of normalcy.

Training outside when possible should also help, Dr. Ryan said.

While it can be challenging with lockdown restrictions in place or not having an outdoor space at home, it is important to try and get outside in the middle of the day when the sun is optimal.

Doing so ensures an athlete is getting enough vitamin D, which studies show affects sports performance inflammation, recovery and plays a huge role in supporting immunity, especially for respiratory viruses.

Adequate levels of vitamin D are important as well for mood, which is also to be monitored as one spends more time inside the house.

Then there is the need to stay mentally connected, be it with teammates, family and friends.

Social media can be a huge tool for this, they said. Apart from being able to reach out to others and create positive impact, online challenges and competitions are also a great reminder that everybody is in this fight together, even if physical distance is much in effect. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo