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How to Build Healthy Habits—Even in Quarantine

With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s natural to want to look for a single diet or fitness trend that will keep your health in check, whether that’s CrossFit or keto. However, no one single diet or exercise plan is a silver bullet when it comes to cancer prevention. Instead, it’s all about building healthy habits into your life in an achievable way. We talked with fitness pro Dawn Angelique Roberts about how she balances running her race management company Elite Access, working for Temple University, and helping runners crush their goals as an American Cancer Society DetermiNation coach. No one is going to be perfect when it comes to their health, but Roberts suggests incorporating these easily attainable habits this fall.

Have nutritious snacks on hand.

“As kids, that after-school snack was one of the highlights of the day, right?” Roberts says. “But as adults, we often get busy at work and reach for a coffee or a treat instead of something healthy that will actually give us energy.” Snacks are also an easy place to start incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet. Prepping all of your meals for the week ahead of time may feel out of reach, but just washing and cutting up a few types produce can make a big difference by making it easy to grab an apple and peanut butter or some carrot sticks instead of a sugary drink or a highly processed vending machine find.

Find fitness you love.

The best exercise routine is the one that you’ll stick to. Roberts may look forward to lacing up her running shoes and hitting the road, but if pounding pavement sounds like your personal nightmare there’s no need to force yourself to train for a marathon. From kickboxing to taking your kids and dog for a hike, there are plenty of options. Many fitness studios are offering classes online right now given the shutdown, so it’s a great time to experiment with new activities you haven’t considered. The American Cancer Society recommends aiming for 150-300 minutes of moderate activity a week.

Let yourself rest.

“I tell my athletes that their weekly rest days are as important as their hard training days, even if they don’t see it,” Roberts says. “It’s so important to let your mind and body heal.” Those who are working from home for the first time may have found their schedules—including their sleep schedules—thrown off-kilter. Even those whose normal routines haven’t changed as much may be feeling extra fatigue from this stressful time, and that’s ok. Start small by focusing on getting into bed at the same time each evening and try to build at least one “down day” into your schedule each month.