With Covid-19 still a concern, we’re spending more time at home and off our usual routine. And being cooped up indoors can cause bothersome health troubles. Luckily, there are easy ways to sidestep the most common woes.
Always hungry? Enjoy grapefruit.
It’s not just you — surveys suggest 91 percent of us eat more than we’d like when we’re home. But researchers say eating one grapefruit daily cuts cravings by 45 percent and can help you shed up to 12 pounds this year! Thanks goes to plant acids in grapefruit, which boost satiety and prod the liver to burn fat for fuel.
Weird dreams? Preprogram your night.
There’s a lot to worry about lately — no wonder 74 percent of us report having weird dreams. The fix? Choose something peaceful, then focus on that image as you drift off, suggests Deirdre Leigh Barrett, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard. You’ll cut your risk of bad dreams in half, plus improve your sleep quality by 62 percent.
Neck aches? Try wintergreen massages.
We’re spending 40 percent more time online — and that extra screen time doubles our risk of stiff, achy neck muscles. The minty Rx: wintergreen essential oil! University of Miami scientists say this plant extract contains a compound (methyl salicylate) that calms pain nerves and relaxes tight muscles, easing neck pain for up to 12 hours. To do: Mix 25 drops of wintergreen oil into 2 ounces of unscented lotion; massage into your neck for five minutes twice daily. One to try: SVA Organics Wintergreen Essential Oil (Buy at Amazon, $16.99)
Heels hurt? Stretch your toes.
While it’s nice to wander around the house in socks or slippers, “lack of support can irritate the ligament that connects your heel to your toes, causing sharp pain,” warns sports medicine researcher Matthew Wyon, Ph.D. The fix? Stretch anytime you’ve been seated more than an hour to cut your risk of foot pain by 60 percent. To do: Gently pull your toes toward you and hold for 10 seconds; release. Do three reps.
Scratchy eyes? Try a warm cloth.
Staring at screens more often, as we’re apt to do when we’re at home, can result in dry, scratchy eyes. Pressing a warm cloth to your lids for five minutes daily prompts the release of anti-inflammatory oils, easing symptoms more effectively than eye drops.
Weight gain? Bounce a knee.
Squirming, fidgeting, or even just bouncing a leg could keep your metabolism humming. That’s the word from Mayo Clinic researchers, who say frequent motion boosts blood flow and increases levels of a hormone (orexin-A) that encourages muscles to burn fat for fuel.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.