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Simple ways to avoid the ‘quarantine 15’

Social distancing has led to some surprising and some not so surprising side effects. Many business owners have been pleasantly surprised to learn how smoothly their employees have transitioned to working remotely. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the effects of stay-at-home orders have led to some predictable feelings of restlessness and cabin fever.

One unforeseen consequence of social distancing noted by many people is the "quarantine 15," a term used to refer to weight gained while under stay-at-home orders. An inability to get out and about coupled with the proximity of kitchen can make it easy for people to gain weight as they observe stay-at-home orders. However, there are various ways people can avoid gaining weight while social distancing.

• Adhere to a routine. The wellness resource UCI Health notes that lack of structure has been a common side effect of social distancing. But people should adhere to a routine even if they're working from home or have been laid off or furloughed. A routine with established mealtimes can help people avoid random snacking that can contribute to weight gain.

• Drink more water. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that mild dehydration can be mistaken for feelings of hunger. Keep track of how much water you're drinking each day, resolving to drink more if you're not consuming enough. If you're not having any water after your morning cup of coffee, the mid-afternoon urges to eat may be signs of mild dehydration and not hunger.

• Make time for exercise. Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Social distancing has given many people more free time than they know what to do with. Fill the boredom with exercise, utilizing online tutorials to engage in weight-free exercises if necessary. Go for daily strolls around the neighborhood or, if possible, purchase some home gym equipment.

• Set goals. One of the ways to stay the course when beginning a fitness regimen is to set goals. Whether you're exercising for the first time in years or replacing regular workouts at a fitness center with exercising at home, set reasonable goals, including how many days a week you hope to exercise and how many pounds, if any, you hope to lose each week.

The quarantine 15 has been an unforeseen consequence of social distancing. Avoiding such weight gain while adhering to social distancing guidelines can be easier than people may think.

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