COVID clouds bring silver lining with many Queenslanders leading healthier lifestyles
2 September 2020
A new routine of working from home since lockdown began has given Recruitment Consultant and single mum Rose Hampton from Strathpine an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle over the last five months, greatly improving her mental and physical wellbeing.
Rose is just one example of a Queenslander who has been leading a healthier lifestyle since the start of the pandemic.
New Queensland Health-commissioned research between March and June revealed many Queenslanders are exercising more and eating healthier:
- More than one in four respondents - 29 per cent - of Queenslanders exercised more at home,
- Close to half - 47 per cent - ate less fast food, and
- More than a fifth - 22 per cent - of Queenslanders ate healthier between March and June.
Rose said that since she started working from home mid-March, her lifestyle has drastically improved and she has lost 10kgs.
“When I used to work in the office, I would often skip breakfast, snack in the office and eat lunch at my desk,” Rose said.
“I used to spend a lot of time on public transport and always felt like I was a constant rush to pick my son up from after school care in time and I never had time for myself.
“Since working from home and without the daily commute, I usually go for a walk in the morning before work, go for another walk during lunch to have a break from my desk, and after work usually do something active with my son.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said it was great to hear stories like Rose’s and the research which revealed many Queenslanders had changed their routines for the better since restrictions began.
“When lock down started in March, the majority of Queenslanders were spending all of their time at home, including working and learning from home. People had to dramatically change their behaviour and their daily routines,” he said.
“While we saw the temporary closure of gyms, pools and community sport put on hold to control the spread of COVID-19, we also saw online classes take off and more people finding innovative ways to keep active at home.
“Our normal lives were disrupted, and Queenslanders could have easily stopped their daily exercise or picked up unhealthy eating habits but instead we’re seeing the opposite.
“Queenslanders really have done well and worked hard during this pandemic. It is great to hear positive stories like Rose’s come out of such an unprecedented time.”
Rose says that working from home has given her a lot more time to plan meals and do the weekly food shop.
“We rarely get takeaways now,” she said.
“In the mornings, I have a healthy breakfast, usually muesli or a cup of tea, a smoothie and some nuts for lunch.
“When you are in the office you don’t usually have time to step away from your desk and if you don’t bring your lunch the only alternative is to buy some takeaway.
“I also have more time to spend with my son, who is no longer in before or after school care.
“He can leave home later in the mornings and come home as soon as he finishes school because I’m at home – he’s 10 so he just waits until I finish work and afterwards, we often go to the park to kick a ball around.
“Luckily my work is quite flexible and has given us the choice if we want to go back to the office – for now working from home suits me quite well. I’m a lot happier in myself and I’m in no rush to get back to the office.”
During COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) launched the Boost your Healthy initiative and issued a series of physical activity, healthy eating and wellbeing challenges to support Queenslanders to remain healthy and active while staying at home.
HWQld Chief Executive Dr Robyn Littlewood said thousands of Queenslanders had embraced the challenges with enthusiasm.
“Queenslanders participating in the Boost your Healthy challenges have been ready and willing to explore new and meaningful ways to stay safe, healthy and active, even under difficult circumstances,” Dr Littlewood said.
“For example, we partnered with the 10,000 Steps program to challenge Queenslanders to take a billion steps as a state and the response was so strong we actually achieved our goal in only 32 days. It was an incredible result.”
Dr Littlewood said by renewing their focus on health and wellbeing and making regular physical activity and healthy cooking and eating a priority, Queenslanders would benefit now and into the future.
“We want to come through COVID-19 as healthy and well Queenslanders and by moving more and making healthier food and drink choices, we are putting ourselves in the best possible position to achieve this,” Dr Littlewood said.
For support, inspiration and ideas to stay healthy and active at home during COVID-19 visit www.hw.qld.gov.au/boostyourhealthy