COVID-19: Keeping New Year’s resolutions can help you stay sane during recent Omicron surge, doctor says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — You may have good intentions when you make resolutions, but experts say they rarely last more than a month. But with the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, a local doctor is encouraging everyone not to stop.

That’s because some of these healthy habits might actually boost your immunity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owner Jonathan VanBusKirk said he was very concerned.

“The pressure that just comes from the economic hits we’ve had because of the lockdown,” Van Bus Kirk said.

The Tarzana resident runs a pool cleaning company and is therefore always on the go.

“I had kind of strayed from focusing on proper nutrition to just picking things up wherever I was. I had kind of slacked off from my exercise routine,” he said.

A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 42 percent of people said they had gained an average of 29 pounds since the COVID-19 pandemic began. And experts say it’s a change that comes with greater vulnerability to severe coronavirus disease.

“Health, diet, and exercise really help us boost our immune system through overall health,” said Dr. Kimberly Petrick, Family Medicine Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Santa Monica.

Petrick says wearing face masks and vaccines is key to protection, but obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of being hospitalized.

“We know that all of these chronic diseases have a big impact on the severity of COVID,” she said.

By spreading omicron, she’s helping patients like VanBusKirk stick to healthy New Year’s resolutions. The trick is to start small and build up.

“Take five to 10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, walk, and then take a break sometime during the day to go for another walk,” Petrick explained.

“I have some weights and a yoga mat at home. So if I can only train for 15 minutes, that’s good enough. At least I have a win,” said Van Bus Kirk.

“Try to eat more whole foods and less processed foods, so more fruits and vegetables,” Petrick added. “And if you’re able, try to prepare your meals ahead of time. Drink more water. Water can actually decrease your hunger response and cravings for unhealthy foods.”

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Another tip? dr Petrick says to eat slowly. And don’t worry about all the things you haven’t done right in the last two years.

Van Bus Kirk says the best advice he’s received is “be nice to yourself.”

“Embrace it, have fun with it, and get other people involved,” added Van Bus Kirk. “You are more responsible. You can help others and they can help you.”

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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