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COVID-19

Healthy Living

Managing your overall health is important during these stressful times. Included in this section is information about health topics related to COVID-19. Please see our TOPICS section for a full listing of information on a variety of health topics.

Walking and cycling to get to work, school and other places may be a new change to your daily routine because of COVID-19, or it may be something you did before the pandemic. Either way, walking and cycling or wheeling (e.g. skateboarding, roller blading, scootering etc.) is still considered a safe and healthy choice when you take steps to protect yourself and others.

Getting your body moving may be more important now, than ever before, for physical wellness and mental well-being.

Keep in mind the everyday actions to protect yourself and others still apply when being active outdoors, such as practising physical distancing (keeping 2 metres or 6 feet between you and another person), not gathering in groups of more than 10 people and avoiding close contact with people outside of your immediate family or social circle.

School Travel

The Ontario Active School Travel Council has written to the Minister of Education about the plan to re-open schools in September and offered general recommendations and guidelines for safe healthy school travel. The Council recommends active school travel (walking and wheeling) for all students not travelling by school bus or public transit. 

The guidelines for school travel include: 

  • Walking and wheeling to school whenever possible 
  • Staying at least 2 meters away from others who are not part of your immediate family or your caregiver (e.g. students, other parents/caregivers, crossing guards, patrollers and school staff) at all times 
  • Wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible
  • Walking and cycling in single file as much as possible
  • Where more pedestrians are present on sidewalks/paths near schools, dismount from bikes 
  • Allowing children to walk/wheel independently all or part of the way to school and practise the route to school before the first day of class 
  • Collaborating with other families and take turns leading small groups of children to walk/wheel together if children need to be supervised 
  • And when parents need to drive, park the car one or more blocks from the school site and walk the rest of the way 

 
The following links and resources support individuals as well as parents/caregivers to help their kids to develop skills and confidence as pedestrians and cyclists:

Pedestrian Safety
It is important to be mindful of safety due to traffic congestion in school zones. Remember heads up, phones down, and watch for traffic. Build confidence and skills through teaching children to use their eyes and ears.

Resources:

 

Bike Safety 
Ride with your children until they are approximately 10 years of age when they are able to judge the speed of oncoming traffic. Safer places for children to ride alone can include bike paths and streets with lower speed limits.

Bikes require working brakes, inflated tires, and reflectors and should be the correct size. Always wear a helmet, and fit it properly every time you ride. Obey the rules of the road – learn how to use hand signals. Remember heads up, phones down, and watch for traffic. Finally, never dodge cars and keep alert for open car doors as you ride.

Resources:

 

Helmet Safety
Anyone under the age of 18 riding a bike for work, school or recreation, needs to know it is the law to wear a helmet. Helmets help prevent head injuries in minor crashes and falls, however they do not prevent concussions. Talk about rules of the road with your children, teach them to share the road, watch for all traffic and ride without distraction.

Resources:

 

Drinking too much alcohol could weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Check out the low risk drinking guidelines to understand how to reduce your risk.

Here are some tips to help you stay strong by eating healthy

For more information about grocery shopping, and preparing meals, check out Feeding your family and for general information visit Healthy Eating.

If you (or someone you know) needs help accessing groceries contact 211 or visit www.211ontario.ca.

Eating patterns have likely changed during these stressful times. Here are some tips to create habits that will help keep you healthy.

Getting your body moving may be more important now, than ever before, for physical wellness and mental well-being. Here are some activities to try:

  • Get outside to walk, bike, hike, or run 
  • Have a dance party 
  • Download a fitness app or watch a fitness video 
  • Rake the leaves or do some gardening 
  • Try yoga – check out a free app or online video 
  • Practice Tai Chi 
  • Take frequent stretch breaks when sitting for prolonged periods.

Keep in mind the everyday actions to protect yourself and others still apply when being active outdoors, such as practicing physical distancing (keeping 2 metres or 6 feet between you and another person), not gathering in groups of more than 5 people and avoiding close contact with people outside of their immediate families.

Check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines to find out how much physical activity is recommended based on age, how much sleep is needed and how much sitting is too much within the 24-hour day.

More information:

These are unprecedented times and there is a lot of change in our lives. In managing this situation, you may experience:

  • increased anxiety 
  • increased stress 
  • fear or worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones 
  • changes in sleeping or eating patterns 
  • difficulty sleeping or concentrating

 

The following is a list of tips to support your mental well-being.

1. Stay informed but set limits for information. Take breaks from COVID-19 information in news stories and social media. 

2. Stay connected to others. Try to stay connected with others using various methods, such as: e-mail, social media, video calls, phone calls, and text messages. 

3. Maintain healthy routines. Where possible, maintain aspects of your usual daily routine. 

  • Exercise regularly. Enjoy a walk, jog, or bike ride while maintaining a safe 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others. If you would like to exercise indoors, search for online exercises. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. Also, practice healthy sleep routines by avoiding screens before bed and cutting back on caffeine. 
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. 
  • Limit consumption of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or other drugs. 
  • Practice mindfulness – try meditation, relaxation or yoga exercises. 

4. Look for ways to have fun! Make time to relax and unwind. Play a game, try a new hobby, read a book, etc.

For more information visit Support for You

Good sleep habits are important to keep children and adults healthy during these stressful times. Tips for having a healthier sleep are:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends! 
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool 
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow 
  • Expose yourself to bright light in the morning as sunlight helps your biological clock reset itself each day 
  • Exercise regularly during the day 
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine—ideas include bathing, music and reading
  • Keep cell phones, computers, TVs and video games out of the bedroom 
  • Avoid caffeine, which can be found in coffee, soft drinks and chocolate 
  • Don’t go to bed hungry, or eat a heavy meal right before bed

For more information, check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement guidelines

If you currently smoke or vape and are concerned about how these might be associated with COVID-19 read our Q&A.

For information on cannabis smoking and vaping during COVID-19 refer to the- Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction-COVID-19 Cannabis Smoking and Vaping

Thinking of quitting? Visit Don’t Quit Quitting or SmokersHelpline.ca for tips and online support for your quit attempt. For more information visit our Smoking and Tobacco webpage.

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