CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Nov. 9, 2020) – The Camp Zama Army Wellness Center has advice for community members facing an extended hotel stay, whether for work or to comply with COVID-19 restriction-of-movement rules.
Shannon Vo, a health educator at the center, said it is important to stay active, eat as well as possible and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, and the center can help with all three.
The center’s mission is to provide programs and services that improve and sustain the health, performance and readiness of the Army as a whole, focusing on the “Performance Triad” of activity, nutrition and sleep.
When it comes to activity, the Camp Zama AWC’s regular class schedule includes “Staying Fit at Home and Away,” and Vo focused a recent class called “Staying Fit: Lodging Edition,” on how to exercise in a hotel room without traditional workout equipment.
During the class, Stephen Harmon, a health promotion technician for the Camp Zama AWC, demonstrated several exercises people can do in hotel rooms, including squats and push-ups, as well as workouts with improvised weights such as bottles of laundry detergent or gallon jugs of water.
Large laundry detergent bottles weigh about 15 pounds, and gallons of water weigh just over eight pounds, Vo and Harmon said.
“Exercise has a really big impact on health, physical and mental and mood,” Harmon said. “When used in conjunction with a healthy diet, it can also help us maintain a healthy weight.”
In addition, people can bring lightweight, small workout equipment such as resistance bands and loops, handgrips, yoga mats and jump ropes with them, or ask a sponsor to buy those items at a local 100-yen store, Vo said.
Of course, it is always important to be careful jumping rope with other people around or near items such as ceiling fans, Vo said.
Exercises such as mountain climbers and burpees also work well in smaller spaces, Vo said.
There are many online exercise videos and apps that can help with exercise routines and ideas, and there are also several options for children, Harmon and Vo said.
It’s a good idea to aim for at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise a day, Vo said.
In regard to nutrition, Vo recommends trying to cook as much as possible and avoid eating out for every meal.
Many hotel rooms, for example, have a refrigerator and at least one stove burner, so extended hotel stays can be a good time to explore one-pot meals or cooking with children, Vo said.
Food can have a big impact on mood, energy levels, immune system and sleep, Vo said, so it’s best to eat whole foods, including colorful fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugary foods.
“If you’re eating because you’re bored, consider other things you can do instead, like exercise,” Harmon said. “Exercise can boost your health, both physical and mental.”
On the subject of sleep, Vo said it is important for those in restriction of movement to establish a beginning and end to each day.
“Keeping a routine is really important, because it really is easy to just roll into the next day because you’ve stayed up until four in the morning,” Vo said. “When you get out of [that routine], your circadian rhythm is just completely messed up.”
People should try to match the routine they’ll be in once they leave ROM, Harmon said.
“Staying up late until you’re required to change because of work can create an artificial jetlag, as well as just a sense of flux—not having that regular routine to rely on,” Harmon said.
To establish a routine in ROM, it is important to keep busy, so people should plan activities, Vo said.
“Socialization is a big one, making sure to schedule online chats with family and friends and trying to do not just text, but trying to do face-to-face interaction, just to keep that contact,” Harmon said.
There are also many resources for free online courses, Harmon said.
Overall, it is important to plan, Harmon said. “Take some time that you deliberately set aside thinking about what will make you feel better,” he said.
Those who feel stressed or anxious can try deep breathing exercises for 30 seconds or a minute, Vo said, or practice meditation.
There are several free apps, podcasts and online resources that can help teach meditation techniques. In addition, the center also offers health coaching and health assessment reviews via teleconferencing, Vo said.
Harmon said the center offers several classes that can help with extended hotel stays.
In addition to “Staying Fit at Home and Away,” the center also offers “Individual Stress Management,” “Upping Your Metabolism,” “Fueling for Health” and “Healthy Sleep Habits,” Harmon said. Other classes the center offers include “Meals in Minutes,” “Retire Strong,” and “Performance Optimization,” which helps Soldiers train for the new Army physical fitness test.
The center will offer “Staying Fit at Home and Away,” in person at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 20 at the Camp Zama Education Center, Harmon said, and the center has a full schedule on their Facebook page at Army Wellness Center Camp Zama. Previous Facebook Live classes are also on the page.
In person, the center offers health conferencing, health assessment review, BOD POD assessment and metabolic test and biofeedback, Vo said. Meanwhile, the center offers all their classes in a variety of online and face-to-face platforms.
For more information, including how units can schedule a Performance Optimization class, contact the center at (DSN) 315-263-4073 or (COMM) 046-407-3940.