How to Combat Lockdown Weight Gain

  • By Yang Seung-joo

    October 24, 2020 08:34

    As the nights draw in and people huddle for warms and coronavirus safety at home, weight gain becomes a problem for many.

    Early nights also mean that the body releases less serotonin, which can lead to depression and a craving for comfort food.

    A study of 1,031 people by the Korea Health Promotion Institute in mid-October showed that 12.5 percent said they gained weight after the coronavirus epidemic started, while 11.4 percent said they are spending less time exercising. The coronavirus epidemic drags on, and the problem for many is how to eat less and work off excess fat.

    The Asan Medical Center in Seoul recently came out with some guidelines for dieting. The simplest suggestion is simply cutting food intake by one-third. But the amount of calories in food can change depending on how it is cooked. Allowing rice to cool off or freeze it rather than eating it right after cooking increases the amount of resistant starch.

    While most carbohydrates consist of glucose, resistant starches are rich in fiber even though they are also carbohydrates, so calories decline and blood-sugar levels rise less.

    The same goes for sweet potatoes. Rather than roasting them, they should be steamed or boiled since glucose levels in the roots rise when heated quickly.

    If that sounds unappealing, there is only exercise. Exercise at least two or three times a week and set a realistic amount of physical exertion until a little fatigue sets in.

    Walking, cycling, running and other aerobic exercises as well as anaerobic workouts including squats and leg presses are a good way of burning calories. An hour to an hour and a half is recommended for healthy adults.

    Informal exercise can be squeezed in between chores. Walking briskly for 30 minutes or stretching for 15 minutes at a time burns off 120 kcal and 50 kcal in a 70 kg male and 90 kcal and 30 kcal in a woman who weighs 50 kg.

    But people with diabetes, arthritis and other chronic illnesses should be careful when exercising. Kim Hyun at Asan Medical Center in Seoul said, "People with chronic illnesses cannot engage in intense exercises right away so they should start off by walking." 

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